Thursday, February 16, 2012

Vienna Half IPA Tasting

Thick foam head on my Half IPA.New camera arrived today, so it's time to start catching up on a massive backlog of tastings. It'll take me awhile to get used to using the camera (my first DSLR), but even with my unskilled hand it is certainly a big upgrade over the webcam I used for the last few posts.

I've been trying not to drink too much of my Half IPA to make sure I wouldn't kick the keg before I got a chance to write up tasting notes and take a few pictures. It is one of the better batches I've brewed recently, and one of my favorite sorts or beers to drink even though it is nearly impossible to find commercially. As for the "hop standing" technique, I don't notice a qualitative difference, but the beer does seem a bit more hop-saturated through each sip than some of my other hoppy beers.

Vienna Half IPA

Appearance – Slightly hazy orange colored body. The stark white two-finger white head sinks over a few minutes, but retains a sticky 1/8 inch covering. Thanks to the no-sparge and a darker base malt it is a much more attractive beer than my last, slightly grayish, micro-IPA.

A bit hazy, but not surprising with 3.75 oz of keg hops.Smell – Aroma is a wonderful mix of doughy malt, and fresh citrusy hops. The Vienna malt does a great job keeping up with the generous doses of Amarillo, Simcoe, and Columbus. I think the English yeast helps to boost the malt character as well, but  also leads to a slightly more muted hop aroma than I expected.

Taste – Firm, smooth bitterness lingers just slightly, with a similar overall balance to a West Coast IPA. The hop complexity is terrific with the citrus (orange) and pine of the Simcoe and Amarillo and the dankness of the Columbus. It does lack the wonderful resiny character I tasted in my first glass of Alpine's Hoppy Birthday last week, probably thanks to their use of a hop back. The bready malt and fruity yeast are able to hold their own, but this beer is all about the hops.

Mouthfeel – Moderate-thin mouthfeel, could be just slightly weightier. Moderate-low carbonation. I have found that high carbonation is the easiest way to ruin a low gravity beer. High carbonation turns a light beer into seltzer.

Drinkability & Notes – This is my favorite sort of beer, big and bold flavor, but in a small easy to enjoy package. There isn’t much to change if I brewed it again, maybe a touch of flaked oats to boost the body?


Ed said...

Sounds -- and looks -- awesome.

What do you think about using a couple of pounds of wheat malt for body?

mc said...

Interesting what you said about the hop standing. I've planned my own MIPA with the intent of adding all of the aroma hops at the end for a 90 minute hopstand. It'll be interesting to see how the bitterness comes out from the hops alone too.

There'll be a small charge of Crystal, but the majority of the IBUs + aroma come from the hops at the very end.

Jeff said...

I brewed a mini IPA, or what I call and iPA recently. I used magnum for bittering and what Nelson I had left over from last years crop for aroma and flavor. I used a light colored basic malt bill. It was an exceptionally good beer, in fact I am having one right now.

You can check out more info on my blog:

This is a beer or a style of beer I will making many more batches of.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I actually don’t find wheat malt adds much body (I don’t think of hefe weizens as being thick beers for example), but subbing it for the pale malt would certainly be reasonable.

It is certainly tough to judge a technique like hop standing when I am also hop bursting and dry hopping. Interested to hear what your results are.

The iPA sounds delicious, although you might get a cease and desist from Apple if you try to market it…

JK Starcastle, Attorney at Crunk said...

Mmm, need to brew one of these!

I've found I get a lot more body from flaked rye than flaked oats. And the few times I've used boiled steel cut oats resulted in much more oatiness than just adding flaked to the mash.

Chris said...

Where did you get those glasses? I love the idea of a fluted chalice.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I like flaked rye a lot too (especially in dark beers), so that would certainly be another option.

I won the glass from a Pilsner Urquell homebrew contest. I really like them, but the glass is really thin and I've already broke 3 of 6.

Unknown said...

Is there anyway to do this recipe as extract with spec grains?


The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Unless you can get your hands on some Vienna malt extract there isn't a great way since it needs to be mashed. You could use pale extract to replace both the pale and Vienna, but you would lose that maltiness this one has. Maybe add a couple ounces of melanoidin malt to the steep with the CaraVienna. It may not be exactly the same, but it will still be good. Best of luck!

Marco Polo said...

Hey Mike, love your blog. So far I've done two of your recipes including this one. I've never used 037 yeast before and my bottled beers have some banana in them.They've been in the bottle for about 25 days now and the banana has faded some. You think the banana will fade out? I've just refrigerated all my bottles. OG was 1.040 and I under pitched because my vial yeast exploded upon opening so only half went into primary. Active fermentation started quick and krausen dropped quick too.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

What was your fermentation temperature? Pitching temperature? Even in a low gravity beer a starter is a good idea in most cases.

Banana esters do fade fairly quickly, but so do hops... Good luck!

Snordahl said...

This is a really interesting recipe and I plan to brew it in couple of weeks.

For increasing the body/mouthfeel what do you think of Cara-Pils vs Wheat?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Cara-Pils doesn't do a huge amount in my experience. Any dextrins it contributes are converted to simpler sugars by the enzymes in the mash. Steeping crystal malts in extract beers has a much bigger addition to sweetness/body for extract beers than it does for all-grain. If you want body, I'd go with unmalted wheat for the proteins and beta glucans, wheat malt works too, but not quite as well.

Unknown said...

Hi Mike- love that you're posting your recipes here. Made the india red ale as my first beer ever and it turned out great.

Given the price of hops is pretty high where I live, how do you think this beer would turn out if the dry hopping was skipped? Less aroma? Maybe there is a middle ground?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I'm sure it'd still be great,just more subdued.

You might look into ways to agitate the beer while it's dry hopping. That's one of the ways commercial breweries get more bang for their dry hopping buck.

I buy hops in bulk and then use a vacuum-sealer to store them. Cuts the price of many varieties down to $1/oz (from $3/oz at the local homebrew store).


Unknown said...

Thanks for the quick feedback Mike. I'll check back and let you know how it goes.

Unknown said...

Hi Mike, Nick here. I did this recipe with my BIAB setup and it is quite delicious. I added some flaked oats per your recommendation. I did end up skipping out on the dry hopping, but it is still a very refreshing and flavorful beer. Aroma is probably subdued a bit, but still smells good. Now I just need to show some restraint since it goes down so easily! Thanks for the recipe.


The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Always the tricky thing with a great session beer, not drinking it too quickly! Glad it worked out well!