Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dank Amber IPA Tasting

This was the first re-brew for one of the Modern Times recipes. Some variation on the “dank” amber IPA will most likely end up as one of our flagship beers. Trying to brew an IPA that stands out (positively) among Southern California’s fantastic brewing scene is going to be a challenge. Ballast Point, Kern River, Alpine, Stone, and Alesmith brew some of the best hoppy beers on the planet. If we want to compete we can’t come to market with a beer that is timid, or hopped on a budget. It is a bit sobering to be ballparking hop contracts with Jacob and seeing hop amounts in the tun range for multiple varieties just to brew two batches a month for a year.

Of course I take 17 pictures, and the first is the best one.Dank Amber IPA

Appearance – Leathery, the sort of color you expect to see in a barleywine or an old ale. It has cleared almost completely after a few weeks in the keg, surprising for a keg hopped beer. Sticky off-white head lingers long enough for me to take plenty of photos of one of the prettiest beers I’ve brewed recently.

Smell – Unique combination of melon from the Nelson and big dank (resiny-herbal) notes from the Columbus. This is the sort of beer I can smell clearly when Audrey is drinking a glass next to me on the couch. Powerful and pungent. Otherwise clean without much malt or yeast character coming through.

Taste – Firm bitterness, but nothing over-the-top or grating. Has slightly more sweetness than I prefer, although that may just be the fruitiness (strawberry?) from the hops playing tricks on me. There is a moderate toasty-malt flavor in the finish, not nearly what you’d expect from a beer based on Vienna, but it does taste more substantial than the usual West Coast IPA.

Mouthfeel – More body than most strong-hoppy beers, but there would be no way to get it confused with the stickiness of an imperial brown ale. Medium carbonation is just about right.

Drinkability & Notes – One of my best batches of hoppy beer to date. In terms of our goal of making a dank, amber IPA, we are almost there. For the next test batch I’ll back down on the pale chocolate (or drop the C120) to lighten the color slightly. I'd also like dry it out a few more points, either by removing the crystal or dropping the mash temperature.


RudeBoyBrewing said...

That is one delicious looking pint. My dry hopped beers have been common out super hazy. Any tricks to keeping them clear?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Time spent cold solves most clarity issues. Although that is tough when dry hopped beers are best as fresh as possible. Nothing I an think of specifically for dry hop haze, but try to get the beer as clear as possible pre-dry hopping. A number or brewers suggest reducing the amount of yeast by fining or filtering before adding hops to increase extraction, might help with clarity as well. Good luck!

מבשלת שלושת החתולים said...

Hey Mike, you mention tasting the Nelson and the Columbus, but nothing about the Simcoe. Did you end up taking it out of the recipe?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Simcoe is there more for background hop character. It is adding complexity to both the fruit and the resiny qualities, but nothing I can point to definitively and say “there is the Simcoe!”

Jim Lemire said...

At only 2.5% I'm surprised that the crystal would come through so much. I could see cutting it out, but with an amber colored beer like this I think some sweetness is warranted. Maybe go with your plan to mash lower and see if that helps with drying it out before you pull out the crystal completely.

Lowell Brewing Co. said...

That looks great...a lot of good ideas coming from it!