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Homebrew #54: Tilde Galaxy (Mk. II)

by Rob Friesel

When I first brewed this beer, I wrote that it “was me trying to play my hand at the IPA game”. I took a less-is-more approach: super-simple grist (just some Briess Pale Ale malt and the golden light DME to make up the difference on my partial mash), all Galaxy everywhere, and a healthy pitch of Wyeast 1332.1 Needless to say, I was delighted when it brought home a surprise Third Place Ribbon in the 2016 Greg Noonan Memorial Homebrew Competition. With a few ounces of Galaxy “left over” from that Grisette Moderne, it was time to reprise Tilde Galaxy (Mk. II):

Tilde Galaxy (Mk. II) -- first pours

With my system recently “upgraded” to all-grain BIAB2 with that 10 gallon Spike kettle, this beer’s formulation was set to to follow suit. I looked up the constituents of the Briess golden light DME, worked those in alongside the Pale Ale malt, and made some slight adjustments based for gravity and balance. We were off to the races!

Brew Day

I mashed in at 149.6°F and let it rest for 90 minutes. Meanwhile, I bottled Prosody (Mosaic) — in part because it was ready, but mostly because I needed to free up that particular carboy.3 My pH reading came in at 5.12.4 When the mash was over and I’d finished squeezing the bag, I had approximately 5.8 gallons of 1.058 wort.

Tilde Galaxy (Mk. II) • brew day

I set the wort to boiling and followed along with my hop schedule — one that was simplified from the last time around. I also added in about 8 oz. of table sugar as a 15 minute late addition. At flame-out, I got to chilling and had it down to 65°F after about 15 minutes. I ran off about 5.1 gallons of wort into the carboy.

Tilde Galaxy (Mk. II) • brew day

With temperature calibration and offset adjustments, my original gravity was 1.071 — just one point shy of my target. This was (“of course”) scaled back a couple of points from the original batch’s original gravity, to address some of the feedback that had come home from the judges.

Tilde Galaxy (Mk. II) • brew day

Fermentation

Two packs of 1332 had been building up on a 1000 mL starter since the day before, and I pitched those when the wort was at 62.7°F. I got the carboy into the fermentation chamber and set the temperature controller to 66±1°F — trying to lock it in at the temperature I had recorded from the first batch (long before the days of my fermentation chamber). Within 3 hours, I saw bubbles in the blow-off bucket; within 20 hours, those bubbles were vigorous. (Here it is at +22.)

The vigor started to decline around +30 hours, and by +80 it had slowed to the point where I started ramping the temperature (+1°F at a time) to encourage complete attenuation. These slow (but steady over 12 hour intervals) bumps in temperature up to 70±1°F seemed to sustain that vigor. By the time I took the first gravity reading (+246) it was down to 1.012 (with calibration etc.) — which would turn out to be the final gravity a few days later.

about to keg Tilde Galaxy (Mk. II)

Satisfied that I had the beer at F.G., I added 3 oz. Galaxy to dry hop over four days.5 Afterward, I opted to skip the cold crash (like with the original6) and package immediately. I bottled 4 × 12 oz. bottles (1 to test, 3 for comp) and kegged the rest. The keg went onto gas more/less immediately — 28 PSI for 24 hours, sampled; 24 PSI for 24 hours more.

Overall Impressions

I’m having a hard time remembering exactly what the original batch was like but… this one is hitting the spot for me.

Tilde Galaxy (Mk. II) -- first pour

AROMA. Hop notes lead: stonefruits (peach and apricot) ahead of tropical fruits (pineapple and mango) ahead of citrus (mostly ruby grapefruit); fairly strong, all of them. Malt aromas are largely neutral and low intensity. If there are significant esters they are similar to the hop aromas and as such co-mingle. Mild alcohol. No diacetyl. No DMS.

APPEARANCE. Depending on the light, pale or burnished gold color. Hazy.7 Over an inch of foamy white head; decent retention.

FLAVOR. Malt backbone presents with a light cracker aspect of low/moderate intensity. Otherwise hop-forward, with flavors following the aromas — stonefruit (especially peach) and tropical fruit (especially pineapple) though citrusy elements are more subdued on the palate vs. in the nose. I get some alcohol, but it’s moderate. Assertive bitterness but not aggressive. Finishes dry. Aftertaste has a sweetness element that calls back to the fruity hop character. Again: any flavor contributions from esters seem synergistic with those of the hops. Otherwise finishes dry.

MOUTHFEEL. Medium-light body. Medium carbonation. A little alcohol warming. Lightly creamy aspect. No discernible astringency. Smooth textures.

OVERALL IMPRESSION. Recognizable DIPA with a fruity character and just enough alcohol to remind you that its smoothness is just a trick.

That said…

It’s not a perfect beer. While I wouldn’t call it a dirty or problematic fermentation, I also wonder if it could have been more “clean”. While I managed to keep the temperatures pretty well within the lower end of the strain’s band during the more active part of fermentation… Or if it wasn’t the fermentation temperature, could it have been the fact that I added the ½ lb. of white sugar? Somehow I’m skeptical of both but (but) some recent judge feedback about fermentation byproducts has me paranoid in this regard.

Also — and I’m playing a dangerous game here but… — I would liked to have seen slightly more intensity on the hop-derived aroma and flavor contributions. This is me flirting with the extreme edges here. The feedback I’ve gotten so far from people I’ve shared this one with has been that it has pretty strong aroma/flavor qualities. But maybe I’m hitting a threshold for “casual drinkers” that for me needs… amplifying. (Or maybe this is a lesson about my own perceptual aspects?)

All in all though, I’m happy with how this turned out. I wonder if some of the differences from batch #1 (i.e., the intensity characteristic) is attributable to hop terroir between the harvest going into 2016 and the one going into 2018. Assuredly some of the differences are likely attributable to partial mash vs. all-grain recipes. Regardless, I keep pouring because I’m enjoying. And now to send those three bottles to competition to see if I can one-up my last attempt…

Recipe

The all-grain (BIAB) recipe for Tilde Galaxy (Mk. II) is as follows:

Water Chemistry

Starting with the Champlain Water District profile as a base, and targeting the Yellow Dry profile (Bru’n Water spreadsheet):

  • 0.60 g/gal Gypsum
  • 0.15 g/gal Calcium Chloride
  • 0.30 mL/gal Lactic Acid (88%)

Mash Grains

  • 10 lb. 6 oz. Briess Pale Ale malt
  • 3 lb. 9 oz. Briess 2-row malt
  • 2 oz. Briess Carapils malt

Fermentables

  • 8 oz. table sugar (sucrose) (15 min. late addition)

Hop Schedule

  • 1 oz. Galaxy (60 min.)
  • 1 oz. Galaxy (5 min.)
  • 1 oz. Galaxy (0 min.)
  • 3 oz. Galaxy (dry hop 4 days)

Yeast

Wyeast 1332 Northwest Ale — 2 smack packs activated in 1000 mL starter.

Brew Day

  1. Collect 26.95 qt. water and heat to 157.9°F. Mash in; hold at 147.9°F for 90 minutes. No mash out.
  2. Remove filter bag from water. Squeeze filter bag to extract as much liquid as possible for wort. No sparge. Pre-boil volume should be approx. 5.7 gallons.
  3. Bring to a boil. Boil for 60 minutes; follow hop schedule as described above.
  4. Cool to 66°F as rapidly as possible. Post-boil volume should be approx. 5.2 gallons.
  5. Aerate wort; pitch 1332 yeast from starter.
  6. Start fermentation at 66±1°F.

Beyond Brew Day

  1. Allow fermentation to complete (approx. 2 weeks) at approx. 66±1°F. Ramp up temperature as fermentation slows down to encourage complete attenuation; do not exceed 70±1°F.
  2. Add 3 oz. Galaxy for dry hopping. Let stand 4 days.
  3. Rack to a keg. Make sure to purge the keg’s headspace with CO₂.
  4. When ready to carbonate, connect to CO₂ at approx. 25 PSI. After approx. 48 hours, shut off gas and purge headspace. Resume CO₂ at 12-14 PSI. After 2-4 days, shut off gas and purge headspace again. Resume CO₂ at serving pressure.
  5. Allow at least 2 weeks to carbonate.
  6. Enjoy!

Details

Tilde Galaxy (Mk. II), a single-hop Double IPA by Tilde Gravitywerks

Original Gravity 1.071
Final Gravity 1.012
ABV 7.8%
Attenuation 82.1%
IBU 69
SRM 7
Links Untappd
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  1. Which has gone on to become one of my favorite yeasts, and one I’ve harvested numerous times as my house strain. []
  2. ”What’s with the quotes?” I put upgraded in quotes because as a way of thumbing my nose at the elitist attitude that anything other than all-grain brewing is somehow… not real brewing. I’ve had a few partial mash beer bring home ribbons with decent scores. I’ve never seen any of the judging comments speculate on the presence of malt extract. As such, it’s an “upgrade” to all-grain, but only because the kettle is bigger and fancier and boy do I love that ball valve. []
  3. When I bought my grains, I had totally spaced on the fact that my 6.5 gallon PET carboy was still full of that single-hop APA. So I didn’t buy another one. Granted, I could easily have let the APA sit tight and run off the wort into one of my glass carboys. However, then I’m lugging around one of those heavy things and I’d really rather not, if I can help it. []
  4. As an aside, and for full disclosure: I took two pH readings with this wort. First I stuck the pH meter into the mash itself and got 5.11 at 148.1°F. Then I pulled a small sample, put it in the refrigerator for a few minutes, and when it reached 68°F, took another pH reading — this one being 5.13. I split the difference and put down 5.12. That being said, either the pH meter does have ATC after all, or my electrode needs replacing, or… who knows. []
  5. This was effectively one day longer than the original batch. There’s a weird intersection of art/science when it comes to dry hopping and I still don’t feel like I’ve got this one nailed down. Either way, I don’t think the difference between 3 and 4 days made an appreciable difference here. []
  6. Haze is OK in a Double IPA, after all — right? []
  7. The original batch was hazy and so that is OK with me on this batch, too — especially since I know that I dry hopped and specifically did not cold crash or fine. A hazy DIPA is OK. []

About Rob Friesel

Software engineer by day, science fiction writer by night. Author of The PhantomJS Cookbook and a short story in Please Do Not Remove. View all posts by Rob Friesel →

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