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IPA Recipe

Part of my New Year’s Resolution for Brewery Reviewery was to post more of my homebrewing activity. I really slacked off in the last year and most posted about my wants/needs for what I want to do with my homebrewery. The beer recipe below, a citrus hop flavored IPA, has already been brewed and completely drank. It is a really solid recipe and it might be my best beer to date.

Before we get to the recipe, let me go through my thinking on the recipe with you. To begin with, I really enjoy IPAs, but if you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you will know that I am not a big fan of piney hops. I know that all hops will inherently have some of this flavor, but I wanted to minimize it as much as possible. Because of that I did a lot of research into hops that give off a lot of tangy, citrus, tropical, and grapefruit flavors. What I ended up deciding on was a mix of Amarillo and Citra hops. It was actually my first time using both of these hops, and I already have plans to use them again.

I’m also not a fan of IPAs with all hops and no malt backbone. I’m a big fan of balanced beers, so having a good malt component was key in the formulation of this recipe. I modeled my projected beer to be similar to Smooth Hoperator. Below is the recipe along with the hopping schedule.

  • 10 lbs. American 2-Row
  • 2 lbs. Munich Malt
  • 1/2 lb .Crystal 40
  • 1/2 lb. Cara-Pils
  • 1.25 oz. Amarillo hops (9.3% AA) @ 60 minutes
  • .75 oz Amarillo hops (9.3% AA) @ 15 minutes
  • .25 oz Citra hops (13.4% AA) @ 15 minutes
  • .75 oz Citra hops (13.4% AA) @ 0 minutes
  • Yeast is a mix of American and English Ale

The expected totals for this beer at a 75% efficiency should be 6.6% ABV and it should have ~63 IBUs.

I really like using American 2-Row or English 2-Row as a base malt (I’m sure I’m with the majority of homebrewers out there with that one). In addition I like adding 10%-20% Munich Malt to most of my grain bills as it adds a nice malt complexity, body, and overall good flavor. It also add some light color to the beer. The half pound of Crystal 40 serves two purposes, 1. Adds malt body and sweetness and 2. Adds some color. The final malt addition is Cara-Pils which doesn’t add much in the way of sugar or flavor, but it helps support head retention.

The hops, as I mentioned earlier are all there to add citrus flavors to the beer. I really wanted to add the majority of the hops towards the end of the beer to give it a killer nose. The ounce and a quarter of Amarillo hops at the beginning was enough to give a solid bitterness without making it too bitter.

As I said, I this beer has been brewed and completely drank. It really turned out excellent and did everything that I wanted to do. The nose was bright and fresh, the malt was solid, the mouthfeel was slightly creamy, and the overall bitterness was on line with an IPA. This beer is no hop bomb, but a balanced example of the style.

It feels really good to design a beer from the ground up with goals in mind and then to accomplish all of those goals. I really feel like I am making major steps forward with my brewing and this beer is just a great example of this.

Beer Review #176 Wreck the Halls

My second “Christmas” beer that I am reviewing after Christmas comes from Full Sail Brewing Company  of Hood River, Oregon. I have had a number of their beers in the past and even got to visit one of their locations on my honeymoon in Portland. In my eyes they are one of the “classic” northwestern craft breweries along with Rogue Ales, Pyramid, and a few others.Wreck the Halls is a blend of an American IPA and a Winter Warmer. The bottle displays, “22 ounces of hoppy holiday ale.” That was all I needed to grab up this bottle.

Wreck the Hall pours a cloudy orange color with a bit of a reddish hue. There is a thin white head that sits on top of the liquid but it does not cling to the glass as it is being drank. The nose is hoppy as you would excpect with an American IPA mix. The hops are almost entirely citrus smelling and they are very bright. I did get a bit of background malt, but the hops are the shinning star for the nose of this beer.

On my first taste there was some nice caramel malt up front quickly followed by citrus hops. The first variant of hops fades into a piney hop flavor. The pine flavor really sits on the tongue for a long time and doesn’t get kicked out by any other flavor.

This is a pretty good IPA as the malt balances out the hops pretty nicely. I don’t really see a Winter Warmer in any way, shape, or form in this beer; just a solid IPA. The only thing that I don’t like about this beer is the fact that the pine flavored hops just sit and sit on your tongue. I’m not a big fan of pine hops and I generally like them to be kicked out by carbonation or something else. The bright hops from the nose gave me the impression that the hops would be crisp in flavor as well, but they really just linger. This is still a good beer, but it is not my style of an IPA, maybe it is because I am from the east coast. (more…)

Beer Review #169 Hoptical Illusion

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am a marketers dream. Give me some catchy and I’m bound to try it out at some point. When I saw Hoptical Illusion from Blue Point Brewing Company of Patchogue, New York, I had to get it. Seriously, how can you not buy a beer named Hoptical Illusion. Damn you marketing.

This IPA pours a nice golden orange color and it is perfectly clear. A white head accompanies the beer. The nose has slight bits of citrus hops along with a very slight hint of malt. There really isn’t a lot else to be found in nose. I looked for more and even let the beer warm, but no other odors ever made an appearance.

A decent malt backbone started off my first taste. The hops quickly kick in and contribute some grapefruit and pine flavors. The hops are pretty strong and really do “kick.” However, the hops are not crisp and just sit on your taste buds for a long time. I generally like my hops to be in and out and only leave a light aftertaste. These hops hang around a bit too long for my liking.

This IPA comes in at 6.8%, which fits nicely into the style guidelines. This is a pretty solid IPA but nothing sets it apart from similar IPAs. The craft beer market is full of solid IPAs and this one gets a bit lost with the others. The name really makes this beer seem more than what it is. I didn’t dislike the beer by any stretch, but I wouldn’t seek it out again as it didn’t leave a lasting impression on me. (more…)

Beer Review #161 Ruination IPA

When I was going through my notes for this beer in preparation of writing this post I found out that this was the first Stone Brewing Company beer that I have reviewed on this site. I was honestly shocked as I have enjoyed a number of their beers. Stone is located in Escondido, CA and is a big player in the craft beer world. I really love their Smoked Porter and their Oaked Arrogant Bastard. Ruination IPA is one that I had never had from them before, so I decided to give it a whirl.

Ruination IPA pours an orange color with a fluffy white head. There is some hazy in the glass as well. The nose is “thick” smelling. There are notes of piney hops in there along with some floral notes. Other than hops and some heat, I didn’t get much else.

On my first taste I expected to be blown away by hops, but I found some really nice upfront sweetness. The hops quickly kick in and follow up with their promise from the smell. Lots of piney hops flow into this beer. I’m generally not a fan of piney hops, but these were pretty nice. I noticed a slight twang at the end, and I’m not sure where that comes from.

As someone who is not a big piney hops fan I thought this beer was outstanding. The balance was well done, if a bit too much hop forward. At 7.7% this is one that you have to be careful with. I found it enjoyable but it isn’t a beer that I could drink a lot of. Mark this one in the nightcap category for me. (more…)

Beer Review #160 Raging Bitch

Since I moved back east nearly two years ago I have become well reacquainted with the Flying Dog Brewery of Fredrick, Maryland. I have always enjoyed their beer and most recently enjoyed their Secret Stash Harvest Ale. Today’s beer has reached almost mythical status in the beer community. They had a naming dispute with Michigan because,

the name “Raging Bitch” and accompanying label imagery and text by renowned artist Ralph Steadman – endangered public safety and was harmful to any adult who might read the beer’s name on a restaurant menu.

You can read the whole thing here, but if you want the short version of it, they won claiming that their First Amendment rights were violated. Aside from the name, this is a damn good beer.

Raging Bitch pours a nice orange amber color with a fluffy white head. This beer is labeled as a “Belgian-style India Pale Ale” and rocks in at 60 IBUs and 8.3% ABV. The 60 IBUs and IPA classification make their presence known right way. This beer has nice grapefruit hops on the nose. There is some heat as well along with the Belgian spices. The hops really take front and center for this beer in the smell category.

On my first taste I was expected some major hops and I was right. The hops really kick in on the ending and wash out anything else that was there. Just before the hops crash in the Belgian spices kick in and add a nice pre-show to the hops. I honestly didn’t get a lot in the way of malt for this beer. The showcase is the spices and hops.

I really liked this one. I have been on a small IPA kick recently and the Belgian aspect to this IPA added some nice complexity and variation. If you haven’t gotten this one yet, try it out. (more…)