Judy Garland and The Pilot, a romance

A love for the ages

What we’re brewing:

  • Michael: Black IPA (“The Pilot”)
  • Karin: Amber ale (“Judy Garland”)

Brew date:

  • Sunday 23 July 2017

Brew day takeout:

  • Poon’s Chinese takeaway

What we’re drinking:

  • The Astronaut DIPA
  • Anderson Valley “Boonte” amber ale
  • The last bottle of our award winning stout!
  • Side-by-side Brewdog Ace of Chinook and Ace of Citra pale ales (Michael blind tasted them and couldn’t tell which hop was which, but he did have a strong preference for the Chinook. I agree–it was lovely! Add Ace of Chinook to the ranks of Session IPAs I’d have again, a list that probably fits on one hand)

What we’re listening to:

  • Sigur Ros, () and Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
  • Indie rock playlist à la Sonic Youth, The Smiths, Television, The Pixies, Talking Heads etc. etc.

Other beer updates:

  • We had a chance to break out my Nøgne Ø God Jul clone and Michael’s The Astronaut DIPA at our homebrew club meeting last Tuesday. Prior to the meeting I’d cracked one early bottle of my winter ale that was not great and very yeasty, but maybe it was one of the last bottles we filled because the bottle at brew club was tasting great. Someone even asked if there were spices in it, which was the best thing they could have asked, given that the original tastes lightly spiced but isn’t. Just clever hopping! The DIPA is operating like we expected given its very high gravity and comparatively low level of hops/high level of caramel malt. It has definite diacetyl flavours. I will say that it’s not too alcohol harsh for being an accidental 10%. Next time we would hop it more, and Michael reckons less caramel malt if he shoots for the same ABV.
  • The Janitor saison is alright! It’s a little boring, and the 7.9% is obvious, but it’s a great base for something. It’s a little floral and lightly fruity, with a distinct perception of sweetness despite finishing at a low 1.005. This is due, I think, to a combination of the 1377 French Saison yeast character and the Riwaka hops. Michael suggested throwing it over some fruit next time, and I think it could also work with some dried hibiscus or rose petals. Anyway, it’s begging to be an adjunct!
  • We’ve also popped our duelling pale ales! I’m pleased to report that mine is faring far better than I’d dared to hope with a bit of carbonation. It’s nicely malty and golden hued. I like it, and Michael says he’d happily have a pint. Michael’s also tastes great, with a lighter body, yellow hue, and noticeable Citra aroma. I reckon if they both hold up, we might be neck and neck, at least against each other, in the competition!
The amber ale, looking very amber!

DSC_4337 2

Since the first double-brew day was such a success, Michael and I decided to follow it up straight away with another! But this time, instead of brewing similar beers, we trekked off in separate directions. I brewed an amber ale, aiming for an amber liquid roughly the colour of my hair, while Michael sought to reproduce a much-beloved, but discontinued, Firestone Walker black rye IPA that we’ll never get to try otherwise.

We brewed Michael’s beer first, which is nicknamed “The Pilot” in reference to the Wookey Jack Black IPA he cloned (because Chewbacca is a wookiee AND a pilot, obviously.). The brew went smoothly, minus some initial trouble getting the mash temperature to stabilize with our newish aluminium pot. It took ages! And ages!  I had the same trouble later when we made my beer. Up 5 degrees, down 3, up 6 after a fifteen minutes of sitting.. not ideal! So, who even knows what the body of either of our beers will be!

After Michael’s beer was happily in the fermentor, we moved on to my amber ale. I should note here that I’m calling it an amber ale, but it also fits comfortably into the Red IPA style. It’s on the less bitter side of an IPA but more bitter than an average amber ale. I’m really not too concerned about where it ends up falling on the spectrum, though. The main thing I wanted to achieve with this beer was to make something with a hue roughly the colour of bright red hair, like mine… or like Judy Garland’s! Hence, the “Judy Garland” amber ale. Using a handy guide on Gladfield Malt’s website, which suggested that an EBC (colour metric) of 32 to 37 is the “sweet spot” for the ruby red colour I was after, I designed a recipe incorporating various red-hued malts that had an estimated EBC (colour measurement) of 34.4 on Beersmith. Apparently, anything on either side of that is likely to look brown. It’s hard to say if that’s what I’ve done. I don’t think I’ll know until I bottle.

On that note, I’ve never used any sort of clearing agent (like Irish Moss or Whirlfloch tablets), but this time I think I will, because with this beer, it’s all about the colour. Since I’ve already missed the addition points for Irish Moss or Whirlfloch tablets, I’m planning to try my hand at adding gelatin to the fermentor a few days before bottling, which apparently works wonders. Who knew?

Also, a small confession: I was a distracted during the first brew Skyping my family back home, tending to my pot plants/pretend garden outside on the balcony, and rediscovering the computer game Stardew Valley (I sound like a terrible brew partner!), but at no point was this a problem. We’ve gotten the hang of our brew process enough that only one person really needs to be fully engaged most of the time. It’s a nice feeling!


These are the recipes we brewed:

“The Pilot” Black IPA (Michael’s beer)

Water profile:

Ca        100 ppm
Mg       10 ppm
Na        160 ppm
SO4      0 ppm
Cl         80 ppm
HCO3  50 ppm

Type: All Grain
Batch Size: 7.50 l
Boil Size: 11.94 l
Boil Time: 90 min
End of Boil Vol: 7.81 l
Final Bottling Vol: N/A*

Est Original Gravity: 1.088 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.016 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 9.5 %
Bitterness: 63.2 IBUs
Est Color: 73.0 EBC

Measured Original Gravity: 1.061 SG
Measured Final Gravity: N/A*
Actual Alcohol by Vol: N/A*

*Will update when we’ve bottled

Grain/hops/yeast bill:

2.25 kg Pale Ale Malt 2-Row (Briess) (6.9 EBC) Grain 73.8 %
0.21 kg Rye Malt (Briess) (7.3 EBC) Grain 7.0 %
0.09 kg Carafa III (Weyermann) (1034.2 EBC) Grain 3.0 %
0.08 kg Wheat Malt, Pale (Weyermann) (3.9 EBC) Grain 2.8 %
0.07 kg Caramunich I (Weyermann) (100.5 EBC) Grain 2.3 %
0.05 kg Midnight Wheat (1465.0 EBC) Grain 1.6 %
0.29 kg Sugar, Table (Sucrose) (2.0 EBC) Sugar 9.5 %
5.00 g Amarillo [9.20 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 14.8 IBUs
5.00 g Citra [12.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 19.3 IBUs
4.00 g Citra [12.00 %] – Boil 25.0 min Hop 10.8 IBUs
3.00 g Amarillo [9.20 %] – Boil 25.0 min Hop 6.2 IBUs
3.40 g Amarillo [9.20 %] – Boil 10.0 min Hop 3.7 IBUs
3.40 g Citra [12.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min Hop 4.8 IBUs
12.50 g Amarillo [9.20 %] – Boil 1.0 min Hop 1.6 IBUs
12.50 g Citra [12.00 %] – Boil 1.0 min Hop 2.1 IBUs
1 pkg Wyeast 1028 London Ale Yeast


“Judy Garland” Amber ale (Karin’s beer)

I used Beersmith’s “Amber balanced” water profile:

Ca        140 ppm
Mg       18 ppm
Na        25 ppm
SO4      300 ppm
Cl          55 ppm
HCO3   110 ppm

Type: All Grain

Batch Size: 10.00 l
Boil Size: 15.41 l
Boil Time: 90 min
End of Boil Vol: 10.42 l
Final Bottling Vol: N/A

Est Original Gravity: 1.060 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.015 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 6.0 %
Bitterness: 45.0 IBUs
Est Color: 34.4 EBC

Measured Original Gravity: 1.055 SG
Measured Final Gravity: N/A*
Actual Alcohol by Vol: N/A*

*Will update when we’ve bottled

Grain/hops/yeast bill:

1.50 kg Pale Ale Malt 2-Row (Briess) (7.7 EBC) Grain 48.9 %
0.90 kg Gladfield Vienna Malt (8.0 EBC) Grain 29.3 %
0.30 kg Gladfield Aurora Malt (58.0 EBC) Grain 9.8 %
0.25 kg Gladfield Red Back Malt (65.0 EBC) Grain 8.1 %
0.06 kg Gladfield Shepherds Delight Malt (300.0 EBC) Grain 2.0 %
0.05 kg Carared (Weyermann) (47.3 EBC) Grain 1.6 %
0.01 kg Carafa III (Weyermann) (1300.2 EBC) Grain 0.3 %
4.90 g Warrior [15.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 20.5 IBUs
2.00 g Amarillo [9.20 %] – Boil 20.0 min Hop 3.1 IBUs
3.00 g Amarillo [8.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min Hop 2.4 IBUs
3.00 g Mosaic [12.25 %] – Boil 10.0 min Hop 3.7 IBUs
3.00 g Simcoe [13.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min Hop 3.9 IBUs
5.50 g Amarillo [8.00 %] – Boil 5.0 min Hop 2.4 IBUs
5.50 g Mosaic [12.25 %] – Boil 5.0 min Hop 3.7 IBUs
5.50 g Simcoe [13.00 %] – Boil 5.0 min Hop 4.0 IBUs
9.00 g Amarillo [9.20 %] – Steep/Whirlpool Hop 0.5 IBUs
9.00 g Mosaic [12.25 %] – Steep/Whirlpool Hop 0.7 IBUs
9.00 g Simcoe [13.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool Hop 0.0 IBUs
1 pkg Wyeast 1272 American Ale II Yeast
23.50 g* Amarillo [9.20 %] – Dry Hop Hop 0.0 IBUs
23.50 g* Mosaic [12.25 %] – Dry Hop Hop 0.0 IBUs
23.50 g* Simcoe [13.00 %] – Dry Hop Hop 0.0 IBUs
  • Not sure about the dryhop numbers yet, will update when I’ve decided..
Michael’s black IPA
My amber ale/red IPA
A session IPA that I enjoyed! I’ve been missing out on Chinook hops.

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