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.
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.