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Admiral IPA

I think that my keg of Black Sheep Bitter will be running out soon so it's time to get another one on the go. This time I'm doing an English IPA featuring Admiral, Progress and Willamette hops with a grist made mainly from Crisp's heritage Chevallier malt.


Today is time to get the starter on the go and I'll be using the overbuilt starter from my previous use of the Brewlab Yorkshire yeast that's been in the fridge for two months now.

It's looking nice and clear so I prepared a 1500ml starter from 1500ml of Tesco Ashbeck water and 150g of light DME. As usual I boiled it for 10 minutes and then chilled it to around 20C. I remembered to add 2 drops of Brupaks Antifoam to prevent the starter from overflowing.

Fancy a half of starter-wort-beer? There was a slight pop when I unscrewed the lid of the jar so I guessed it would be lightly carbonated. It doesn't look too bad really. Head retention: check. Lacing: check. It tasted pretty good too for a two month old glass of fermented DME!

On to the more important stuff, the 1500ml starter is spinning away in the brew fridge at 20C. 500ml will go back in the fridge for next time and a litre will go into the weekend's IPA.

Brew day

In an attempt to shorten my brew-day a bit I decided to treat my Tesco Ashbeck water the night before and use a 16A Wifi smart plug to switch it on at 5:25am with the intention of getting up at 6:00am and finding the water at about 55 degrees giving me enough time to grind my grain ready for the mash. The timer worked fine and at 6:00am the water was actually at 63C so next time I'll move the timer forward a bit to give me more time to prepare when I get up.

The actual recipe, Admiral IPA, is an English IPA showcasing Admiral hops with help from Progress and Willamette as the supporting acts and using, for the first time for me, Crisp Chevallier heritage malt. Here's the recipe.

Recipe Specifications
Date: 10 July 2022
Batch Size (fermenter): 24.00 L
Estimated OG: 1.045 SG
Estimated Color: 9.5 EBC
Estimated IBU: 42.8 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 75.6 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes
Water profile: Ca:90 Mg:12 Na:9 SO4:110 Cl:108

Amt         Name                                        Type         %/IBU    
3.70 g      Calcium Chloride (Mash)                     Water Agent  -        
2.70 g      Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash)             Water Agent  -        
2.50 g      Epsom Salt (MgSO4) (Mash)                   Water Agent  -        
1.10 ml     Lactic Acid (Mash)                          Water Agent  -        
4.000 kg    Crisp Chevallier Heritage Malt(6.5 EBC)     Grain        85.1 %   
0.700 kg    Crisp Maris Otter (7.9 EBC)                 Grain        14.9 %   
0.80 g      Calcium Chloride (Sparge)                   Water Agent  -        
0.60 g      Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Sparge)           Water Agent  -        
0.50 g      Epsom Salt (MgSO4) (Sparge)                 Water Agent  -        
15.00 g     Admiral [13.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min           Hop          22.1 IBUs
15.00 g     Admiral [13.00 %] - Boil 10.0 min           Hop          8.0 IBUs 
15.00 g     Progress [8.10 %] - Boil 10.0 min           Hop          5.0 IBUs 
15.00 g     Willamette [5.10 %] - Boil 10.0 min         Hop          3.1 IBUs 
0.50 Items  Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 7.0 mins)            Fining       -        
20.00 g     Admiral [13.00 %] - Boil 2.0 min            Hop          2.5 IBUs 
20.00 g     Willamette [5.10 %] - Boil 2.0 min          Hop          1.0 IBUs 
15.00 g     Progress [8.10 %] - Boil 2.0 min            Hop          1.2 IBUs 
1.0 pkg     Brewlab Yorkshire (1) (Brewlab #Yorkshire)  Yeast        -        

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Full Body
Total Grain Weight: 4.700 kg
Name     Description                    Step Temperat Step Time     
Mash In  Add 24.68 L of water at 70 C   67.0 C        90 min        

Sparge: Dunk sparge with 5L

I only had 4kg of the Chevallier malt so I made the rest up with Maris Otter which I've heard can help with conversion in the mash. I mashed for 90 minutes instead of my usual 60 anyway and the pre-boil gravity was exactly as expected with no loss of mash efficiency.

Everything went well with the rest of the brew-day and I collected about 23.5 litres into the fermenter. It seems my boil-off was a bit higher than usual in this hot and dry weather we're having.

The OG was 1.045, just as planned. I got the wort down to 22C in just over 10 minutes with my Klarstein 12 immersion chiller and pitched the one liter starter of Brewlab Yorkshire right away. It's now tucked up in the brew fridge at 20C fermenting away happily. I don't know if it's the Chevallier malt but the sample jar tasted really, really nice. I'm looking forward to how this one comes out.

Kegging day

Two weeks after the start of fermenation I checked in on the visible progress to see if it had finished only to find that the blow-off tube was bubbling about every 15 seconds or so. I've come to know that this Brewlab Yorkshire yeast is not in any hurry to finish so I decided to give it my 'lager' schedule and leave it for a further week.

It looks like my decision was a good one because after another week I kegged it and the sample that I drew was probably the clearest of any ale that I've ever done, right up there with the clarity of my lagers that also get a rigid three weeks in the fermenter. Going forward I think I shall make three weeks the standard for this yeast.

FG, after adjusting for this hydrometer's offset, was 1.006 giving an ABV of 5.1%. Five percent-ish for an IPA is about right for me, much less and it's just a hoppy ale and much more means I can't enjoy more than a few pints in a session.

I got a full keg and two bottles from the fermenter. The keg was fined with dissolved leaf gelatine and the headspace was purged with 5x15psi bursts and is now on at about 15psi to carbonate and condition.

The sample jar tasted really good. I've never brewed with Admiral hops before and I can honestly say that I really do detect the orange flavour notes that it is reputed to deliver. It's too early to say whether I can detect what the Chevallier malt brings to the table. I expect when it's conditioned I'll be able to taste the difference.

The characteristic lip-smackingly creamy smooth mouthfeel of the Yorkshire yeast was there even at this early stage. I've come to learn that this yeast is a tricky one to work with but once you know how it's going to behave then it delivers flavours that no other yeast that I've tried does.

Tasting notes

The tangerine/marmalade flavoured Admiral hops combined with the spicy herbal notes of Willamette and Progress is a real winner. Combine that with the smooth mouthfeel from the Yorkshire yeast and the strong malty backbone from the Chevalier malt and I have here my best homebrew ale yet. This is a great beer.