Happy Cinco De mayo and Thirsty Thursday! Today is also Midnight Sun Brewing Company’s 21st anniversary! Good work brewers! Now the brewery is finally old enough to drink legally. Today’s Thirsty Thursday entry is all about beer labels. As you may know, I made a label for a Dopplebock brewed at Midnight Sun Brewing a few months ago. That beer will be released very soon, I have been told. When I tell people I’m the beer artist, they always ask which beer labels I have designed. I have to answer that I haven’t done very many yet, and that I am always slacking on time to make good labels for my own home brew. Well, I took the time to make a special label for my latest batch that I am very proud of. This libation is called Stubborn Rainbow Perpetually Hopped IPA. I made this label for dual purposes; I get a label for my beer, which makes the overall product look better, but I also get to showcase my label design abilities. I worked for three years in a corporate graphic art department in product development, and making these labels reminded me of that time.
I would love to facilitate any requests for custom beer labels. You can commission me to create a custom beer label from an original oil painting. I will work with you to create a custom painting, and will also do the graphics to make a professionally designed label that will make your product stand out on the shelf, or at the home brew sharing party. You will get both an oil painting to hang in your brewery, and license to print and use the labels as many times as you want!
Stubborn Rainbow occurred to me when I was thinking about true names. Everybody has one. A true name is a few words that completely describe someone’s personality, like “Little Big Man”. While brewing a perpetually-hopped IPA that I was going to call Hop Cycle, I realized Stubborn Rainbow was the perfect name for it instead! I have been trying to brew a decent IPA for about 10 years now and have always had disappointing results. Either not enough hops, or oxidation, or something else that prevented me from making the perfect IPA. Due to stubborn perseverance, I have finally achieved an IPA that has a rainbow of flavor. Perpetually hopped refers to the hop additions. When brewing Stubborn Rainbow I boil for 90 minutes while continually adding hops. It starts out slowly as I don’t want a beer that is too bitter, so I add about one or two pellet hops at a time about every four minutes. Then, as it gets closer to the end of the boil I switch to flavoring hops and increase the rate of additions until the last minute when I am just about pouring flavoring hops into the boiling wort. Finally it comes to dry hopping. This is when I have failed in the past. I wait until the primary fermentation is completed, about a week at 69 degrees, and increase the last day to 71. I rack to secondary and add four ounces of hops to the five gallons. I just drop the loose fresh hops right into the fermenter, and leave them there for another week. The beer is just about done then. I rack it into a keg, turn up the pressure and ba da bing, ba da boom I have a fresh hop IPA that is about worth its weight in gold due to the amount of hops it takes! Tasting the last of the beer in secondary as it is strained through the loose hops at the bottom of the fermenter compares to any of the freshest, hoppiest commercial beers I have ever tasted. Probably fresher and better!
Here is the recipe to brew about 5 gallons of Stubborn Rainbow Perpetually Hopped IPA.
15 lbs organic two row malt (or 7.5 lbs – 8 lbs of Pale Malt extract)
.75 lbs 10L Victory malt
½ tsp brewing salts
½ tsp gypsum
.5 oz Centennial hops (added for the first 45 minutes perpetually)
1.5 oz Centennial hops (added for the 45-75 minutes of the boil)
2 oz Cascade hops (added perpetually for the last 15 minutes increasing towards last minute)
4 oz Simcoe hops for dry hopping. Add during secondary fermentation. I have also used Citra hops, which turned out very good.
Depending on your extraction, you should get a 7-9% beer from this recipe. I nailed my temps on the last batch and it is nearly 9%, so it’s a sipper!
You’ll end up with about 4 gallons in the end due to wort being absorbed in the massive amount of hops.
I’m going to hold onto this painting that I made for my home brew, but I hope you will brew an amazing batch and will want to commission me to create a memorable painting and label for it. I would love to work with commercial breweries, as well as home-brewers.
You can place the order directly at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.