Spring is the time of year I look forward to the most and I’m not referencing the resurgence of wheat beers taking over the beer landscape. Flowers and trees are blooming, the weather is getting warmer, and most important….baseball is upon us. Over the years, I’ve learned Spring Training means nothing. Just because a guy has good stats in some games in sunny Arizona doesn’t parlay to a breakout season in the friendly confines of Wrigley. Also, as a Cubs fan, I’ve taken my lumps. You know that whole “haven’t won a World Series this century” thing gets old after a while.
As a child growing up, I watched countless games on WGN with my grandfather. Harry Carey would be drunk and proclaiming his love for Budweiser. Ron Santo would sound like he was in a deep depression whenever to Cubs blew a game, which happens a lot (We’ll miss ya this year Ron). And my grandfather, a veteran of WWI and Korea, never proclaimed his love for anyone other than a white man unless his name was Sammy Sosa. To him, Sammy Sosa was the best thing that ever came to the Cubs (My grandfather wasn’t alive during the whole Grand Jury Trial). Hate him or not, when Sosa was good, those years were magical.
I distinctly remember where I was when Steve Bartman made the biggest mistake a Cubs fan could have made. I was in the Pub II in Normal, IL with all of my buddies watching the game with tons of other Illinoisans dressed in Cubby blue. It was one of the worst feelings ever, so close, but as replays show…so far away. Whether a Cubs fan or not, Wrigley Field is a baseball mecca. Do fans get really drunk there? You betcha. Do a majority of fans in the bleachers really pay attention to the game? Probably not. Do WGNs cameras do an excellent job of showing the fine ladies of Chicago? Like non-other.
Did I cry when Harry Carey passed away? Yep. Ron Santo? Came pretty close. Did I give a fist pump when I heard Andre Dawson was finally enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Yep. So unlike basketball, football, or hell, even golf, I’ve been raised in a baseball loving family. Many a days I would be with my dad and we would be listening to WGN trying to figure out what the score was through the static and noises of the station. I truly bleed Cubbie Blue.
I decided I needed to make another IPA with springtime approaching. I talked to the David, head brewer at New Albanian, for some ideas on what grains and hops to use and tweaked one of my earlier IPA recipes. I had also worked a homebrewing event and had some leftover Citra and Centenniel hops I needed to use. David suggested I try to get the 5 gallons from just the initial mash. So I went through a bunch of hop combinations in my head and this is what I came up with. For the initial mash and beer #1 (Day Game) I used strictly Simcoe and Amarillo. For the sparge and beer #2 (Night game), I used Citra, Centenniel, and Falconers Flight. For most beers, I combine the mash and the sparge, but for this experiment I didn’t. Pictures and ABV definitely tell the story.
Day Game 7.23 ABV
Night Game 3.28 ABV
Date of Initial Brew: 2/27/30
Type of Beer: Imperial IPA
Name of Beer:
Extract or All Grain: All Grain
Grains used: 18lbs Cargill Special Pale , 2lb Dingemans Aromatic
Day Game) 1oz Simcoe (60); 1 oz Amarillo (30); 1 oz Amarillo leaves (burnout); 1 oz Simcoe leaves (secondary)
Night Game) ½ oz Centenniel (60); ½ Centenniel (45); 1 oz Citra (15); 1 oz Falconers Flight (5); 1oz Citra leaves (secondary)
Spices Used: Day Game) Dark Brown Sugar
Yeast: Dry English Ale
Original Gravity Temperature and Reading:
Day game) 1.070 at 70 Night Game) 1.035 at 75
Secondary Fermentation Date: 3/5/11
Specific Gravity Temperature and Reading:
Bottling Date: 3/20/2011
Final Gravity Temperature and Reading: Day Game) 1.015 at 70 Night Game) 1.01 at 70
ABV%: 1) 7.23 2) 3.28
First bottle drank date: 3/29/11
The beer is only a month old, pretty damn young for me to usually open a bottle, but with opening day tomorrow, I went ahead. When I did the initial mash, I only got about 4.5 gallons and just used that anyways for Day Game. After adding Amarillo and Simcoe leaf hops and a problem with my siphon, I only had about 3.5 gallons of beer to work with upon bottling. The hops clogged up the siphon eventually broke a crucial piece…I made due and bottle them all in bomber bottles. For Night Game, I just strictly used the sparge and ended up with 5 gallons. As you can tell in the picture, it was a much lighter color, almost a pilsnerish color with just a hint of orange to it. The Citra hops smelled awesome.
I cracked them both last night and Day Game stood out above Night game by far, a nice sweet flavorful IPA with a nose full of Simcoe. Night Game is getting these, but just not ready yet. At only around 3% ABV, it ranks as my lightest beer I’ve ever made. If it tastes like piss, I’ll just tell people it’s a fruitier version of Budweiser. I’m gonna give these both more time and see what happens.