Sunday, March 16, 2008

Taking a stab at Bridgeport

Q: Hey Huisvrouw, welcome to Askablogr! I'm a lapsed homebrewer, but if you have one, I'd try a really good recipe for a small batch (5 gals) IPA in the spirit of Bridgeport Brewing Co's. Have one?
Posted by Chris DeVore

A: Hi Chris! Thanks for the link to your Askablogr widget and for this first question!

I'll do my best to answer, though I'm not a big hop head myself; you might have noticed that I'm most partial to yeast, and to fruity and/or spicy adjuncts that tend to make the big boys cry, or at least shake their heads. (I recently read an article about brewesses in Bust magazine supporting my theory that these preferences are typically pretty gendered.) I also must confess that I haven't tried Bridgeport IPA, though in my defense, I'm out of their distribution area.

So what did I do? I first consulted Beer Captured, my favorite recipe book of the moment, and then--both to get a second opinion and to respect their copyright--incorporated a couple of alternate ideas from another member who shares your love of the stuff. Finally, I made a tweak of my own to keep the total number of varieties to five, as per the description on the Bridgeport site. Since you said you're a lapsed brewer, I'm assuming that you are looking for a recipe using malt extracts as opposed to that all-grain hoo-ha. Here you go:

Mash (steep) 1 lb. 40L Crystal Malt for 30 minutes in 1 gallon of 150 degree water.

Strain this water into your brew pot and sparge (rinse) the malt with another 1 1/2 gallons water of the same temperature.

Add 4 lbs Alexanders Pale Malt Syrup and 3.5 lbs. Munton's Extra Light DME. Stir well to dissolve, then add 1 oz of Cascade hops and .5 oz of each of Williamette and Mt. Hood (substitute an equivalent amount of Chinook if any of these aren't available due to the hop shortage). Most recipes tell you to wait until the wort is boiling to add the hops, but this method--called first wort hopping--is purported to produce "a fine, unobtrusive hop aroma...(and) a more uniform bitterness."

Bring your wort to a boil and keep it there for 50 minutes. Throw in a Whirlfloc tablet to aid with clearing the beer and boil for another 8 minutes. Then add 1/2 oz. each of the following aroma hop varieties: Cascade, East Kent Goldings, and Crystal (or Hallertau Hersbruck or Liberty, depending on what's available).

Boil for two more minutes before you take the pot off the heat. Set it in a sink or two of ice water to chill it down to about 120 degrees in about 20 minutes. In the meantime, add 3 gallons of cold water to your sanitized fermentation bucket. Strain the chilled wort into this, snap the lid down, and shake it until your arms hurt to help aerate the wort. Rest for a couple of minutes and repeat the process.

(This shaking business is a refinement I've only recently learned to do myself, after watching a friend brew an all-grain batch a couple of weeks ago. I'm not ready to go all-grain or even convinced that it's worth it, but while I'm thinking that over I've been trying to improve my existing technique in a few key areas, mostly by making better use of the specialty grains through the mashing and sparging process I described above, and by working harder to ensure that my beloved yeasts have the oxygen they need to do their job.)

Hydrate and pitch some American Ale yeast--Safale 05 should be fine. Dry hop for 7 days with 3/4 oz. Cascade hops and either transfer to a secondary fermenter or bottle the stuff.

Good luck! Let me know how it goes!


Chris DeVore said...

Holy cow - ask and ye shall receive! Many thanks for the detailed ingredients and process steps - if it doesn't turn out I'll have no one to blame but myself...

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