Thursday, November 7, 2013

North Carolina IPA Tasting

I’ve brewed more IPAs than any other style (so long as you don’t consider “sour beer” to be a style). My standard recipe template is yellow to pale-gold, with a malt bill that gets out of the way of an aroma-drenched hop bill. Sometimes it’s nice to be kicked out of my rut though, so I played along with the Riverbend Malt House Homegrown IPA kit. It included some of their darker grains (similar to Munich and Chocolate), but no crystal malt, so it avoids being sticky sweet.

The hops ended up being all-Chinook after I tossed the less-than-great smelling whole Cascades from Echoview Farms (they have some pelletized Nugget hops available now on their website).

A big mug of North Carolina IPA!North Carolina IPA

Appearance – The amber-golden body is towards the hazy end of the IPA spectrum, but still appealing. A few weeks in the keg has really cleared this one up. The white head is luscious, creamy, dense, and long-lasting.

Smell – Bright, but not overwhelming, resiny hop aroma. Grapefruit and pine mostly. The grainy malt comes through well, more East Coast than West Coast (unsurprisingly). The US-05 adds its slightly peachy edge, especially as the beer warms. A bit restrained as far as my IPAs go, but probably hoppier than half of the commercial IPAs I try.

Taste – Well balanced. Malty without being sweet. Hoppy without being harshly bitter. The hop flavor is well saturated, thanks to the bonus 5.5 oz of Chinook I added on the hot-side, but the North Carolina hops carry the aroma nicely. Clean otherwise, no issues with the fermentation or sanitation.

Mouthfeel – Medium body, not quite as crisp as my standard IPAs, but that certainly isn’t a bad thing in a beer like this that has more malt character. Medium-low carbonation, judging from the pour rate I think the dry hop sock is partially covering the dip-tube. I won’t do anything about it unless it gets worse.

Drinkability & Notes – I’m pleased with the way this batch turned out, but that took a bit more effort on my part than a kit recipe ought to. I’ll give both products a tentative recommendation, but I'd be hesitant if you couldn't inspect them before purchase.

1 comment:

The NC Nomad said...

Being a home brewer in North Carolina, I really want to brew this.