Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Southern Hemisphere Hopped Double IPA Recipe

I think double/imperial IPA is one of the easiest styles to brew an “alright” version of, but one of the most difficult to really nail. Loading a large quantity of bold hops into a recipe can obscure many process flaws. However, to produce an excellent strong/hoppy beer you have to address a number of contradictions. Double IPAs are high alcohol beers that need to be served really fresh. Recipes must contain a huge amount of malt, but the finished beer should taste dry and bitter. The best examples are intensely flavored, but still highly drinkable. It is a style that is young (not much more than 10 years as a bottled, year-round beer), but there are already so many breweries that brew at least one.

My favorite commercial examples of the style are all around 8% ABV. Less alcohol than that and it isn’t really a DOUBLE IPA, higher than about 9% ABV and the booze starts getting in the way of the hop aromatics. Some of my favorites are Russian River’s Pliny the Elder, The Alchemist’s Heady Topper, Lawson’s Double Sunshine, The Bruery Humulus Lager, and Hill Farmstead’s Abner. All of these beers have huge hop aromatics, bitterness that isn’t too harsh, and clean/subtle malt bases.

Two Northern Brewer HopShots, one light one dark.Hops can be of any variety, as long as they are high in oil content. It would be almost impossible to add enough of a subtle low-alpha-acid hop variety to achieve the required aromatics and bitterness without losing most of the wort to hop absorption. For this beer I paired Rakau from New Zealand with Galaxy from Australia. I brewed a similar recipe last year that was 100% Galaxy and while enjoyable, the result never wowed me. Using hops that are in pristine condition should have been on the list of tips for brewing hoppy beers that I included with its recipe post! Lesson learned, no more buying two-year-old whole-hops shipped directly from Australia. Many of the Southern Hemisphere hop varieties share aromatic commonalities with newer American varieties like Citra; they impart lots of tropical fruitiness, with a hint of dankness in high concentrations.

I’d been underwhelmed by the bitterness of Northern Brewer’s HopShots on their own. It seems much lower than their numbers suggest. The bitterness is clean and soft, perfect for many styles, but not IPA or DIPA. As a result, for this batch I split the bittering addition between hop extract and Columbus. For my palate Columbus adds a wonderful lingering tongue-grabbing bitterness that I think is a hallmark of both American IPAs and DIPAs. I was interested to read in Mitch Steele’s IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale that Shaun Hill uses a blend of extract and hops to bitter Hill Farmstead's James, a black IPA.

Brewing a strong beer that you want to start pouring less than six weeks after brewing, demands minimizing the creation of off-flavors that would need time to age-out. Pitch enough yeast for a strong/healthy fermentation, but avoid over-pitching which strips bitterness from the beer (for this batch I harvested slurry from my Third Hoppy Wheat, but didn't pitch the entire yeast cake). Perform most of fermentation near the lower bound of the yeast lab’s suggested temperature range for the strain, but raise the temperature toward the end of fermentation to guarantee a dry finish. A low final gravity should also be encouraged by a moderate mash temperature, minimal crystal malt, and 5-10% (by extract) refined sugar. Residual sweetness gets in the way of hop bitterness, and can yield a DIPA that taste similar to a young American barleywine.

Ale and Joyce, Ale the cat not shown.I became distracted (playing with our two new kittens, Ale and Joyce) as the wort heated and as a result lost about a gallon to a boil-over. Rather than dilute or add malt extract, I just kept going; having four gallons of DIPA on tap is probably a better idea than five anyway. For Galaxy and Rakau all I could source was pellet hops, so I skipped the hop-back, and revived my old technique of adding additional hops to the kettle right at the start of chilling (after the hop-stand addition has 30 minutes to soak in the hot wort). Luckily the Galaxy smelled much fruitier and brighter than last time.

To make dry hopping a bit easier I have begun vacuum-sealing the dry hop additions on brew day. I tend to add many of the same varieties to both the boil and post-fermentation, so I simply weigh the additional hops and seal the one or two blended additions separately before resealing the bulk hops for storage. When I’m ready to dry hop I sanitize the mesh bag (or nylon stocking) and glass marbles that will weigh it down, and then add the pre-measured hops.

Double IPA NZ-AU

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 5.00
Total Grain (Lbs): 16.00
Anticipated OG: 1.078
Anticipated SRM: 7.3
Anticipated IBU: 200.3
Brewhouse Efficiency: 66 %
Wort Boil Time: 75 Minutes

85.9% - 13.75 lbs. American Pale Ale Malt
6.3% - 1.00 lbs. Wheat Malt
4.7% - 0.75 lbs. CaraPils
3.1% - 0.50 lbs. Table Sugar

1.50 oz. Columbus (Whole, 15.00% AA) @ 60 min.
10 ml.    HopShot (Extract) @ 60 min.
1.50 oz. Galaxy (Pellet, 12.00% AA) @ 10 min.
1.50 oz. Rakau (Pellet, 12.00% AA) @ 10 min.
1.50 oz. Galaxy (Pellet, 12.00% AA) @ Hop-Stand
1.50 oz. Rakau (Pellet, 12.00% AA) @ Hop Stand
1.00 oz. Galaxy (Pellet, 12.00% AA) @ Chill-Start
1.00 oz. Rakau (Pellet, 12.00% AA) @ Chill-Start
3.00 oz. Galaxy (Pellet, 12.00% AA) @ Dry Hop
3.00 oz. Rakau (Pellet, 12.00% AA) @ Dry Hop

0.50 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
0.50 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 min.

WYeast 1056 American Ale/Chico

Water Profile
Profile: Washington, Hoppy

Mash Schedule
Sacch Rest - 60 min @ 153 F

Brewed 11/11/12 by myself

Briess Pale malt base.

Collected 7 gallons of 1.062 runnings, pre-sugar. 1.067 with the sugar added.

Lost about a gallon of wort to a boil-over

30 minute hop stand with the first dose of aroma hops, the second dose was added at the start of the chill.

Yeast harvested from the third batch of Hoppy American Wheat, about one cup of thin slurry. Chilled to 68 F, oxygenated for 45 seconds. Left at 64 F to ferment. Good activity by the following morning.

12/2/12 Added the first dose of dry hops (3 oz), bagged and weighted to the primary fermentor. Firm bitterness, good fruity hop character, slight toastiness from the base malt. FG=1.014 (83% AA, 8.4% ABV).

1/4/12 Tasting notes for a very solid beer, but the the hops didn't translate with the flavor combination/balance I wanted. Too much fruitiness, not enough anything else. 


Zoso said...

why carapils and wheat? I get one or the other to balance the sugar addition thinness/mouthfeel balance like Vinnie at Russian River does, but why both?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I don't think malted wheat adds much mouthfeel, especially at that low level, it's really just there for head retention. CaraPils will help with body more than head formation in my experience, a great head requires proteins which wheat is loaded with.

Unknown said...

How do you go about the hop stand? Just turn the burner off, add hops and let it sit with the lid off? I've always been told to immediately begin the chilling process. Thanks!

Unknown said...

Looks great. What are you anticipating for a final gravity? I would think the starting gravity would lead to around a 9% beer if it finishes really dry?

I wonder if the hop extract issue has to do with the varieties available from northern brewer. I understand that they offer a single product, but commercial brewers can source specific varieties of CO2 extract.

I'd like to experiment with these, but they seems to be out of stock at northern brewer.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Yep. While the conventional homebrewing suggestion is to chill the wort as quickly as possible, most professional brewers don't have all of their wort chilled for 90-120 minutes after the end of the boil! You just want to minimize the time the wort spends in the "danger zone" where spoilage microbes thrive (below ~140 F). I haven't had issues with DMS, it would be more of a concern with Pils malt and a lager fermentation.

With the 153 F mash it should end up around 1.013. Say 8.6% ABV.

A different hop varietal extract certainly could solve the issue soft bitterness. Not sure exactly what is causing the lower than predicted bitterness. IBUs? Low Cohumulone? Lack of actual hop vegetal matter?

Kyle said...

Unrelated questions to the IPA post, but I am planning on brewing my first Lambic soon (using your turbid mash technique). I got a hold of a vial of ECY Bug County and was wondering if it will be ok to pitch this from the start as the primary yeast. Secondly I am wondering if I should first ferment in a larger 6 gallon better bottle and post krausen transfer to a smaller 5 gallon glass carboy for aging. Will that effect anything? Thanks in advance!

Eric Branchaud said...

I think your combo of Rakau and Galaxy will make a nice DIPA. I wasn't blown away by Rakau's flavor, but it wasn't bad by any means and I think it will compliment Galaxy nicely. I got some generic "sweet fruit" (something like papaya or sweet apples) on the nose, and fruit with some spice and herbal/resinous notes on the palate.

I did find it to have a nice bite to it when I brewed a test batch. I think you could use it in place of something like Columbus or Chinook as a bittering hop.

First Time / Long time said...

HI Mike, I'm curious why you dry hop in mesh bags. I've always found better dry hop using pellets and no bag, but I've only tried the bag thing once or twice. Thanks, and I'll take my answer off the air.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Excellent! Yep, pitching all of the microbes in primary is what I do for most of my sours. For lambics I ferment in six gallon BetterBottles until I’m ready to blend/bottle/fruit. Head space is a much bigger worry in barrels where the wood can dry out and become permeable to oxygen. A gallon of head space in a glass/plastic carboy is fine as long as you aren’t pulling samples too often.

As an FYI I get email notifications about all comments, so feel free to post questions on more relevant posts (someone else might be thinking the same thing).

Interesting notes of Rakau, thanks. I’d heard a couple people compare it to Amarillo, but I wanted to give it a shot to see what it was like for myself. At the price I’d still probably save it for late boil additions, considering how cheap Columbus/Chinook are.

Most of my dry hopping is actually keg hopping, so my goal there is to keep hop particulate out of the pour. I will dry hop with whole hops in the fermentor for quick exposures, but then they just tend of float on the surface. I never had great luck getting pellets to sink and separate from the beer, leading to lost beer and sucking air into the siphon tube. One of those processes where if it works for you, it is hard to argue with.

It is important to use a large enough bag, too small and the hops won’t get good exposure to the beer.

nick said...

You must be reading my mind. Throwing down a double ipa with new zealands this weekend. Doing the Pliny recipe and hopping, but with pacific jade for Columbus bittering, galaxy for simcoe, nelson sauvin for centennial, and rakau for late Columbus. Looks similar. Keep up the blog. Always a great read.