Brew Day: North Shore Brewers Galaxy IPA

My father has been in the painting business since before I was born. Most of that time he has been a painting contractor. For most of the last 10-15 years he has been contracting and sub-contracting exclusively, but when I was growing up he was still climbing ladders and swinging a brush. During the summer and on weekends I would go on estimates or go to job sites with him. Every once in awhile somebody would see this kid just hanging out, maybe reading a book or listening to the radio, and ask if I would follow my father’s footsteps and take over the business. If my dad was around he would usually answer for me and say something along the lines of, “my son is smart, he will have a job where he uses his brain someday.”

While my intelligence, and certainly my common sense is up for debate, I did end up working behind a desk. Any desire I might have ever possibly have to pull a Peter Gibbons and forsake cubicle life for blue collar work went out the window after this brew day. The summer of 2015 has been kind of a dud. My girlfriend was calling June, “Junuary” due to unseasonably cold temperatures. Andy and I were fortunate enough to plan a brew day on the first day temperatures crossed 90 degrees. Not only was the heat oppressive, there was no wind, and for most of the day there was no shade in his yard.

The beer is part of a project with the North Shore Brewers. One of the members Eric, suggested different members brew the same beer, but each of us with a different hop. With all of the new hop varieties that are being released it is difficult to familiarize yourself with all of them, let alone brew with all of them. Other members are going to brew the same recipe using El Dorado, Motueka, Nelson Sauvin, Calypso, Mosiac, Riwaka, AU Summer, Equinox, Wakatu, Bullion, Waimea, and Zythos hops. I chose Galaxy because when I brewed Summer Somewhere I could only buy Galaxy hops in an 8 oz bag, and that recipe only required 2.5 oz of hops.

The recipe was designed to highlight the hop we chose to brew with, not entirely unlike the Cabot Street Hop Harvest. The base malt was American 2-row barley which is neutral in flavor. There was a little Carapils malt for head retention, and some corn sugar to add alcohol and lighten the body. The common recipe called for Chico (Safale S05/1056/WLP001) yeast. I wasn’t able to make a starter for liquid yeast, and planned on buying a sachet of S05. The homebrew shop was sold out of S05, but they did have BRY-97 American West Coast Beer Yeast. A recent post on Brulosophy compared S05 and BRY-97 showed that that the flavor profiles of the two yeasts are almost indistinguishable.

I also didn’t amke time to treat any water. I bought eight gallons of distilled water and added gypsum and calcium carbonate. Distilled water is devoid of minerals, and the yeast need calcium for healthy fermentation. Starting with a blank slate I was able to set my mineral levels exactly how I wanted to accentuate the Galaxy hops.

We also brewed Northern Brewer’s Cascade Mountains West Coast Imperial IPA All-Grain Kit. I was able to plug the recipe into BeerSmith Mobile to help Andy calculate how much mash and sparge water to heat up, and what temps to heat it up to. There was 15 pounds of grain in the recipe, so I had us boil for 90 minutes. By collecting more wort we should have collected more fermentable sugars from the grain, while the longer boil makes sure the beer isn’t too watered down.

After brewing in such oppressive heat I felt like I had just finished a crossfit WOD. It reminded me of my dad climbing a ladder for all those years in similar conditions. After brewing on Sunday, Monday was a good day. I was inside in an air conditioned room. I couldn’t complain.

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