Hoppy beers are some of my favorites to brew at home. The four things that kill hop aroma are heat, time, oxygen, and aroma scalping. Serving the finished beer in a well-purged keg addresses all three. I won’t buy bottled hoppy beer unless it is labeled with the packaging date, or I know it was recently released. A beer that is delicious at bottling can be mediocre at best after only a couple months. Like bread, once you have a taste for fresh hoppy beer it is hard to enjoy it stale!
The IPA recipe below was half of a split batch, and I don’t have too many new things to say about IPAs. My focus was on the other half, which was an “IPA” flavored with spruce tips and grapefruit zest (an American-hoppy beer without any hops). More on that one next week.
Instead of sending you back to my old posts about brewing IPAs, here are my 10 quick tips for brewing hoppy beers:
1. Treat your water to have minimal carbonate, and moderate-to-high chloride, sulfate, and calcium.
2. If the raw hops don’t smell great, neither will your beer.
3. Steep flame-out hops for 20-30 minutes before force chilling.
4. Add dry hops as fermentation slows.
5. Add more dry hops after fermentation ends.
6. Purge everything the fermented beer touches with carbon dioxide.
7. Ferment with a yeast that imparts some (but not loads of) character.
8. Force carbonate rather than naturally condition.
9. Store the finished beer as cold as possible.
10. Drink the carbonated beer ASAP.
There was recently an informative Q&A session with Peter Wolfe of AB-InBev on Reddit's r/beer. His responses include information about glycosides and his process for dry hopping homebrew. JC from Trillium Brewing (brewers of many excellent hoppy beers - Double Dry Hopped Congress Street IPA is super-fantastic Galaxy-goodness) dropped his tips for mimicking their process in a BeerAdvocate thread not too long ago as well. Seems like a real shift from the advice to chill the wort quickly and dry hop bright beer that were so popular when I started brewing.
“Real” IPA Tasting
Smell – Solid hoppy, piney, orange aroma. Not a jump out of the glass hop, but stronger than many commercial IPAs. Not as juicy as I was hoping for, more classic-American than new-American. Not much else in the aroma yeast or malt-wise
Taste – Firm bitterness. Drenched with hops through each sip. A mix of citrus and more resiny flavors. The hops lack a certain vibrancy and freshness. Certainly the hops being harvested 12 months ago doesn’t help, but I suspect the Centennial in particular (I've had bad luck with Centennial from Freshops before - and these didn't smell terrific).
Mouthfeel – Crisp body, which doesn’t get in the way. Solid carbonation. No complaints here from me.
Drinkability & Notes – A good IPA, maybe even very good, but not great. I love balance, but when the hops lead they need to be outstanding, and here they are just a bit dampened or muddled.
"Real" IPA Recipe
Batch Size (Gal): 5.25
Total Grain (Lbs): 26.69
Anticipated OG: 1.064
Anticipated SRM: 3.8
Anticipated IBU: 38.0
Brewhouse Efficiency: 69% (inc. parti-gyle)
Wort Boil Time: 70 Minutes
60.0% - 16.00 lbs. Rahr Pilsner
30.0% - 8.00 lbs. Great Western Pale Malt (2-row)
7.5% - 2.00 lbs. Weyermann Wheat Malt
2.6% - 0.69 lbs. Simpsons Golden Naked Oats
2.00 oz. Rakau (Pellet, 10.45% AA) @ 60 min.
2.00 oz. Amarillo (Whole, 10.00% AA) @ 0 min.
2.00 oz. Simcoe (Whole, 14.00% AA) @ 0 min.
2.00 oz. Centennial (Whole, 10.50% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Amarillo (Whole, 10.00% AA) @ Dry Hop
1.00 oz. Simcoe (Whole, 14.00% AA) @ Dry Hop
1.00 oz. Centennial (Whole, 10.50% AA) @ Dry Hop
1.00 oz. Amarillo (Whole, 10.00% AA) @ Keg Hop
1.00 oz. Simcoe (Whole, 14.00% AA) @ Keg Hop
1.00 oz. Centennial (Whole, 10.50% AA) @ Keg Hop
1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 min.
White Labs WLP007 Dry English Ale
Profile: Washington, Hoppy
Sacch Rest - 60 min @ 156F
8/22/14 - Made a stir-plate 3 L starter with 2 tubes of WL007. Aiming for 450 billion cells - for 10 gallons. Crash chilled after 24 hours.
5 g CaCl and gypsum added to the mash along with 2 tsp of phosphoric acid. Diluted with 2 gallons of distilled. Collected 7 gallons of 1.075 first runnings. Same treatment for the 7 gallons of 180F batch sparge water. Collected 7 gallons of 1.035 second runnings. Mixed so there were 7 gallons of 1.055 runnings in each pot.
Rakau adjusted down from 11.4% AA. The rest of the hops were nearly a year old from Freshops.com. Half flame-out allowed to steep 30 min before chilling, remainder added at start of chill. Boiled down to 4.5 gallons at 1.075. Chilled to 70F. Diluted with .75 gallon of distilled water, OG 1.064. Left at 65F to ferment.
8/28/14 Added the first dose of dry hops as the fermntation slowed.
8/30/14 Moved to warm ambient basement to ensure complete fermentation.
9/9/14 Kegged with the keg hops bagged and placed into the keg before purging. Hooked up to CO2 and left to force carb gently.
10/13/14 Tasting notes above (posted about a week after writing). It is a solid IPA, but not spectacular, hop character isn't quite where I want it, but otherwise everything is spot on.