I usually schedule at least two batches for each pitch of yeast I buy, especially when I get my hands on an interesting strain. When I received a vial of East Coast Yeast Northeast Ale, I knew that I had to ferment something Heady-Topper-esque with it, but I started with a pale ale (Simcoe & Sons recipe). With how well that batch turned out, I had nothing but high hopes for the IPA recipe that followed (hopped with Apollo, Pacific Jade, and a touch of Nelson Sauvin).
Appearance – The dry hopping contributed a minor haze to the golden body. The addition of Biofine Clear (silicic acid - a vegan-friendly alternative to gelatin or isinglass) doesn’t seem to have made much of a difference compared to the clarity of my usual IPAs. The thin white head deflates quickly, trailing coating-lacing behind.
Smell – Over-ripe tropical fruit and citrus are the leaders. The fruitiness is so intense that it almost reads artificial. Smells boldly hoppy, but clear that it is very different than the fresh peach aromatics I detected in Simcoe & Sons. There is also a mild peppery spice, hard to say if it is the Pacific Jade (which some sources describe as "fresh citrus and crushed black pepper") or the yeast.
Taste – Similar hop character to the aroma, big fruit, that is well saturated through the flavor. The phenolic (spicy clove and pepper) flavors are somewhat more pronounced, which makes the flavor palette come across like a subdued Brooklyner-Schneider Hopfen-Weisse. Not unpleasant, but not what I expected. Otherwise, clean, minimal alcohol presence, no diacetyl et al. Sticky, resinous, lingering bitterness, without much sweetness. Not over-the-top bitterness for an American IPA, but more aggressive than many.
Mouthfeel – Medium-light body, especially for an 8%+ ABV beer. Solid carbonation, enough to send out the aromatics without being too prickly on the tongue.
Drinkability & Notes – As I near the bottom of the half-pint the flavor seems to improve: the hops taste brighter, more citrusy, but a hint of spice always lingers in the finish. It is a mostly present beer, drinkable enough, but it doesn't wow me like the hop character of an IPA should. While the repitch attenuated like I hoped it would (1.075 down to 1.012), the flavor profile isn’t as magical as is was with Simcoe, Mosaic, and Citra.