My first few American IPAs did not turn out quite the way I wanted. I’ve brewed Jamil’s recipe from Brewing Classic Styles / Lagunitas IPA / Dogfish 60 min hybrid and a clone of Blind Pig as well as two Pliny the Elder clones (almost an IPA by today’s standards 🙂 ). None of these were bad but they definitely lacked the hop flavor and aroma I am looking for. What I want is a Pliny the Elder / Sculpin / West Coast IPA punch in the face from across the room hop aroma and a big citrusy / piney / dank hop flavor and I just wasn’t getting there. I think part of it is recipe and part of it is process. So I decided to address both.
With the recipe I came across Kelsey McNair’s Hop Fu in the NHC winning recipe section from a few years back. I looked into it further and realized he has placed at NHC in IPA at least three times with this recipe. Wow. That is totally nuts especially considering that is one of the largest category with well over 500 entries. So, I figured his recipe is a good place to start. I tweaked it a bit for what ingredients I can get easily (rahr 2-row instead of great western, simpson’s heritage med crystal) and my water (1% acidulated malt) and I adjusted the amounts a tinge towards my tastes (a hair more crystal but still under 2%). The other big changes are I totally changed how I do my knock-out additions (0 minute) and dry hop.
I have heard the advice over and over again to cool as fast as possible in various books and radio shows so I have a very rapid immersion chilling setup with recirculation. It works great and I can get down to ale fermentation temps in about 30 mins and lager temps in about 45 depending on the weather. More recently, I listened to an interview with the brewer from, I think, Lagunitas where he talked about how they do whirlpool additions and the light bulb went off. I had been throwing in a bunch of late addition hops but then immediately chilling but Lagunitas was whirlpooling at > 185 for 30+ mins. Lagunitas has some of the best hop character in the business (especially IPA and Sucks) so I took that hugely to heart. Then, as often happens, I started seeing those types of comments everywhere (Vinny’s Pliny write up in Zymurgy for example) so I decided to incorporate it into my process. So with this beer I cut the heat, threw in the hops, put the lid on my kettle (I had the lid notched so I can close the lid with the immersion chiller in) and let it recirculate for 30 mins before starting the chilling water.
Similar to cooling as quickly as possible, I had also heard to add dry hops while ferment was still active to eat up any introduced oxygen. Recently I reread Vinnie’s Pliny write up and noticed that he lets the ferment end, lets the yeast drop and pulls the yeast plug from the conical cone before dry hopping. So, for this beer I let it totally finish and out and sit for an additional 4 days then racked to secondary (I use glass 6.5 gallon carboys) and then did a split hop addition with half for three days then added the other half for another 4 then racked to keg.
So some pretty big changes from how I did IPAs/DIPAs before. Not really adhering to the scientific method – changing 3 big things at once makes hard to tell what actually helped – but if it works it works! I’m anxious to see how things turn out!
14-B American IPA
Size: 7.0 gal # I target this but that is just to make sure I can get 6-6.5 gallons into the fermenter
Efficiency: 70.0% # I use a low number here to be safe – for this beer I ended up at 74% which is normal for rahr
Attenuation: 79.0% #the halfway mark for cal ale based on wyeast numbers but i just usually end up a bit higher.
Original Gravity: 1.066 (1.056 – 1.075) #actual was 1.065
Terminal Gravity: 1.014 (1.010 – 1.018) #actual was 1.010
Color: 7.03 (6.0 – 15.0)
Alcohol: 6.81% (5.5% – 7.5%) #more like 7.2%
Bitterness: 113.7 (40.0 – 70.0)
17 lb (93.2%) Standard 2-Row – added during mash
12 oz (4.1%) Cara-Pils® Malt – added during mash
5 oz (1.7%) Medium Crystal Malt – added during mash
3 oz (1.0%) Acidulated Malt – added during mash
0.5 oz (3.9%) Chinook (13.0%) – added first wort, boiled 90 m
1.25 oz (9.8%) Warrior® (16.0%) – added during boil, boiled 60 m
1.0 oz (7.8%) Columbus (15.0%) – added during boil, boiled 30 m
1.0 oz (7.8%) Simcoe® (13.0%) – added during boil, boiled 10 m
1 tsp Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – added during boil, boiled 10 m
1.0 oz (7.8%) Amarillo® (8.5%) – steeped after boil
1.0 oz (7.8%) Citra™ (12.0%) – steeped after boil
1.0 oz (7.8%) Centennial (10.0%) – steeped after boil
1.0 oz (7.8%) Columbus (15.0%) – steeped after boil
1.0 oz (7.8%) Simcoe® (13.0%) – added dry to secondary fermenter
1.0 oz (7.8%) Amarillo® (8.5%) – added dry to secondary fermenter
1.0 oz (7.8%) Citra™ (12.0%) – added dry to secondary fermenter
1.0 oz (7.8%) Centennial (10.0%) – added dry to secondary fermenter
1.0 oz (7.8%) Columbus (15.0%) – added dry to secondary fermenter
2 ea WYeast 1056 American Ale™ #actual used 1 with a 2.5L starter
acidify sparge to 5.5 (~12ml of 10% phosphoric in 10G of water) # I batch sparge
should give mash pH of 5.5 #was 5.6 so a tinge higher than i would want
18.25 lb of grain
1.5 qt/lb = 27.4 quarts = 6.84 gallons
mash @ 152
mash in water temp 162.4 so ~163 into mash tun
ferment @ 67 for 10 days > secondary and dry hop half for 3 days and other half for 4 > keg > drop 5 degrees per day to 45 > force carb to 2.5 vol
12/22 made 2.5L starter with 1 smacked wyeast 1056 pack put on stir plate
12/24 normal brew day. tested new herms setup before starting brew and it was not recirculating right so i ditched it to do more testing.
did the 30 min whirlpool as planned and it started at 212 and at 30 mins was down to right at 185. let sit for 20 mins after cooling and cone in center was HUGE mound of hops. last about 2 gallons but was still able to get just over 6 gallons into the fermenter.
decanted down and mixed up 1L of slurry. pitched @65 and slow ramped over 8 hours to 67 and held there for whole fermentation using brewpi.
pitched at 2pm and at 10pm had nice 1/2 inch kreusen and good blowoff activity
12/25 2 inch kreusen and very strong fermentation
12/27 fermentation really starting to slow down and is almost done
12/30 sample taken and is 1.008-1010. sample is clean (no infection, no perceptable diacytl) and VERY bitter and nice hop flavor and aroma. very promising!
1/2 racked to secondary 6.5 gallon fermenter purged with CO2. about 5.9 gallons. added 2.5 ounces of dry hops (.5 oz of each hop)
1/5 added other half of dry hops
1/10 racked to co2 purged keg. got about 4.9 gallons 🙂 wow – all those hops really soak up the beer. finishing pH is 4.6 which is a bit higher than i would like. most likely because my mash pH was 5.6 which is a bit high as well. very strong citrus / orange aroma with a bit of dank. no carbonation so it will be interesting to see how that changes things. very bitter but smooth, not harsh. nice hop flavors which lean towards the dank / piney but show a nice citrus edge. will drop 5 degrees a day to 45, force carb and put on tap.
1/14 beer down to 45F so force carbed (30psi and shake for 5ish mins) and put on tap @ 14psi and 43F to get it to ~2.5 carbonation. usually takes a few more days to get fully carbonated but did pull a sample. Whoa! serious hop aroma and flavor. also huge head with serious retention. all around pretty dank/piney but there are hints of citrus around the edges. quite bitter but it is not throat constricting or unpleasant. so far so good! clarity is pretty poor so will keep an eye on it to see how long it takes to clear.
1/21 beer is now nicely carbonated and has dropped fairly clear but there is a bit of a haze. did a side by side with sculpin and nose is spot on as is the flavor although the bitterness seems a tinge higher on my hop fu. very happy with this beer. not sure I would make any adjustments other than getting pH down a bit.