Monday, October 20, 2014

American IPA Recipe, Tips, and Tasting

You can see the difference in the krausen texture between the beers with and without hops.Hoppy beers are some of my favorites to brew at home. The four things that kill hop aroma are heat, time, oxygen, and aroma scalping. Serving the finished beer in a well-purged keg addresses all three. I won’t buy bottled hoppy beer unless it is labeled with the packaging date, or I know it was recently released. A beer that is delicious at bottling can be mediocre at best after only a couple months. Like bread, once you have a taste for fresh hoppy beer it is hard to enjoy it stale!

The IPA recipe below was half of a split batch, and I don’t have too many new things to say about IPAs. My focus was on the other half, which was an “IPA” flavored with spruce tips and grapefruit zest (an American-hoppy beer without any hops). More on that one next week.

Instead of sending you back to my old posts about brewing IPAs, here are my 10 quick tips for brewing hoppy beers:

1. Treat your water to have minimal carbonate, and moderate-to-high chloride, sulfate, and calcium.
2. If the raw hops don’t smell great, neither will your beer.
3. Steep flame-out hops for 20-30 minutes before force chilling.
4. Add dry hops as fermentation slows.
5. Add more dry hops after fermentation ends.
6. Purge everything the fermented beer touches with carbon dioxide.
7. Ferment with a yeast that imparts some (but not loads of) character.
8. Force carbonate rather than naturally condition.
9. Store the finished beer as cold as possible.
10. Drink the carbonated beer ASAP.

There was recently an informative Q&A session with Peter Wolfe of AB-InBev on Reddit's r/beer. His responses include information about glycosides and his process for dry hopping homebrew. JC from Trillium Brewing (brewers of many excellent hoppy beers - Double Dry Hopped Congress Street IPA is super-fantastic Galaxy-goodness) dropped his tips for mimicking their process in a BeerAdvocate thread not too long ago as well. Seems like a real shift from the advice to chill the wort quickly and dry hop bright beer that were so popular when I started brewing.

“Real” IPA Tasting

A glass of the finished IPA.Appearance – Golden beer. Light dry-hop haze. Nice head retention, white, dense, sticky. Certainly looks like an IPA.

Smell – Solid hoppy, piney, orange aroma. Not a jump out of the glass hop, but stronger than many commercial IPAs. Not as juicy as I was hoping for, more classic-American than new-American. Not much else in the aroma yeast or malt-wise

Taste – Firm bitterness. Drenched with hops through each sip. A mix of citrus and more resiny flavors. The hops lack a certain vibrancy and freshness. Certainly the hops being harvested 12 months ago doesn’t help, but I suspect the Centennial in particular (I've had bad luck with Centennial from Freshops before - and these didn't smell terrific).

Mouthfeel – Crisp body, which doesn’t get in the way. Solid carbonation. No complaints here from me.

Drinkability & Notes – A good IPA, maybe even very good, but not great. I love balance, but when the hops lead they need to be outstanding, and here they are just a bit dampened or muddled.

"Real" IPA Recipe

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 5.25
Total Grain (Lbs): 26.69
Anticipated OG: 1.064
Anticipated SRM: 3.8
Anticipated IBU: 38.0
Brewhouse Efficiency: 69% (inc. parti-gyle)
Wort Boil Time: 70 Minutes

60.0% - 16.00 lbs. Rahr Pilsner
30.0% - 8.00 lbs. Great Western Pale Malt (2-row)
7.5% - 2.00 lbs. Weyermann Wheat Malt
2.6% - 0.69 lbs. Simpsons Golden Naked Oats

2.00 oz. Rakau (Pellet, 10.45% AA) @ 60 min.
2.00 oz. Amarillo (Whole, 10.00% AA) @ 0 min.
2.00 oz. Simcoe (Whole, 14.00% AA) @ 0 min.
2.00 oz. Centennial (Whole, 10.50% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Amarillo (Whole, 10.00% AA) @ Dry Hop
1.00 oz. Simcoe (Whole, 14.00% AA) @ Dry Hop
1.00 oz. Centennial (Whole, 10.50% AA) @ Dry Hop
1.00 oz. Amarillo (Whole, 10.00% AA) @ Keg Hop
1.00 oz. Simcoe (Whole, 14.00% AA) @ Keg Hop
1.00 oz. Centennial (Whole, 10.50% AA) @ Keg Hop

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

White Labs WLP007 Dry English Ale

Water Profile
Profile: Washington, Hoppy

Mash Schedule
Sacch Rest - 60 min @ 156F

8/22/14 - Made a stir-plate 3 L starter with 2 tubes of WL007. Aiming for 450 billion cells - for 10 gallons. Crash chilled after 24 hours.

Brewed 8/24/14

5 g CaCl and gypsum added to the mash along with 2 tsp of phosphoric acid. Diluted with 2 gallons of distilled. Collected 7 gallons of 1.075 first runnings. Same treatment for the 7 gallons of 180F batch sparge water. Collected 7 gallons of 1.035 second runnings. Mixed so there were 7 gallons of 1.055 runnings in each pot.

Rakau adjusted down from 11.4% AA. The rest of the hops were nearly a year old from Half flame-out allowed to steep 30 min before chilling, remainder added at start of chill. Boiled down to 4.5 gallons at 1.075. Chilled to 70F. Diluted with .75 gallon of distilled water, OG 1.064. Left at 65F to ferment.

8/28/14 Added the first dose of dry hops as the fermntation slowed.

8/30/14 Moved to warm ambient basement to ensure complete fermentation.

9/9/14 Kegged with the keg hops bagged and placed into the keg before purging. Hooked up to CO2 and left to force carb gently. FG = 1.015 (6.4% ABV)

10/13/14 Tasting notes above (posted about a week after writing). It is a solid IPA, but not spectacular, hop character isn't quite where I want it, but otherwise everything is spot on.


billy.braga said...

Do you remove the first dry-hop before kegging?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Yes, I leave the first set of dry hops behind at kegging. I tend to use whole hops, so it not like it's an option to rack them over!

panagiotists said...

Thanks for all the good input m8!!

billy.braga said...

I realize now that my question wasn't clear. I was asking if you left the first dry-hop in the fermenter until you kegged because I heard dry-hopping for more than a week gave vegetable-y off flavors...

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Considering the keg hops have been in there for six weeks at this point, I'm not worried about dry hops having extended contact. You aren't gaining much after a week, but especially with whole hops it takes a long time to pull unpleasant flavors out of hops.

[email protected] said...

Hi Mike,
So, as someone without a keg I'm wondering if brewing IPAs is really worth it for me. I've had a few beers turn out bottle conditioned with good Hop aroma, but based on what you're saying would I be better off focusing on other types of beer? Any recommendations for bottle-conditioned IPAs? Thanks!

Eric Branchaud said...

You need to up your flameout hops! I use nearly twice as much in my hop stand for a 3-gallon batch than you did for a 10 gallon. That's what is going to get you a massive blast of fresh-squeezed hop flavor.

Unknown said...

Did you check your finished beer pH? On my last couple batches using WLP007, I have gotten a higher than normal finish pH (4.6-4.7), despite a normal if slightly high boil pH (5.3-5.4). Those batches have seemed a little muted and muddled like you described. After adjusting down with a couple mL of lactic acid, the hop flavor really became more juicy and vibrant.

It might be worth testing in a glass, to see if you get a similar result. My next batch, I plan to shoot for a lower boil pH to see if WLP007 can get the finished beer pH lower without a lactic acid addition.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I brewed some solid IPAs and DIPAs before I kegged, but my worst batches now are better than my best batches then. During bottle conditioning the yeast scavenges some of the dissolved oxygen introduced during bottling, but the beer still spends a couple weeks warm exposed to the crown liner when it could be in the keg, cold, with extra dry hops. If you like the IPAs you are brewing, no reason to stop!

Eric, 12 oz of hops at flame-out for a 3 gallon batch? This was a 10 gallon batch, but that is the hops for only half of it (the rest was the spurce-grapefruit). I've used hopping rates similar to this (6 oz late boil, 6 oz dry hopping) for batches I've been completely content with.

Thanks for the tip on the pH issues Dan. I've nailed IPAs before with WLP007 without additional pH adjustment. I'll play around with a sample next time I have my meter fired up for a brew.

J.B. said...

Mike- When you mention low carbonate for the water profile- are you just referring to keeping the residual alkalinity down (to keep mash pH in range)? Or is there an impact on perceived bitterness/aroma from high bicarbonate as well? Thanks- and I really enjoyed your book and the blog posts.

Eric Branchaud said...

Mike, it was actually 10.5 oz at flameout and 6.5 oz of dry hops. It's a serious fruit bomb, but that's what I was shooting for and I loved the results.

6 oz for five gallons makes a bit more sense. Still, you have lots of room to go up if you want to push the hop envelope.

Malty said...

I know you're a big believer in CO2 purging. What's your process for purging kegs and carboys?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

As long as your final pH is in line, carbonate shouldn't cause any major flavor issues. Having to add lots of acid can cause issues though, so I tend to try to dilute carbonate with RO water, add calcium salts, and acid in combination to address high pH.

Eric, I suspect being a fruit bomb is more a result of the hop varieties you used (Motueka, Meridian, Citra, and Nelson) rather than the amounts. I've achieved very juicy IPAs with levels similar to this, but fruitier hops. No harm in using more hops, I've just found that after a point I don't get much more hop character.

I don't secondary clean beers in carboys anymore. I pressurize/vent the keg 2-3 times both before (with the dry hops already in the keg) and again after filling. For hoppy beers I'll also pump the auto-siphon a few times in the keg to get some CO2 into the line out of paranoia.

Chartist said...

I became VERY disappointed with all of my hoppy beers due to a ton of hop aroma & flavour loss ( I bottle conditioned because I lived in a small apartment and couldn;t keg). At 2 weeks of bottle conditioning very good hop aroma and flavor and then, at least it seemed, every day the aroma and flavour faded drastically.

So I started to make malty beers. Those beers tasted really good at 8 weeks of bottle conditioning and kept getting better with age. I have become a malt maniac now and I'll leave the hoppy stuff to everyone else.

Chartist said...

Oh Mike, I wanted to ask; What do the naked golden naked oats do for the beer, and why pilsner as the base malt?

kyle smith said...

Interesting props for the glass shot. Was that to emphasis that the "timing" is key with IPA's, and that you should "intake" them quickly. With all that keg purging aren't you worried about wearing out your pressure relief "valve". There are probably more puns out there, but I don't want to "exhaust" them all.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Golden Naked Oats are really nutty, and add some creamy body. At such a low level though, just a bit of background maltiness. Especially valuable with the Pils base, which was all I had on hand when I brewed.

Actually those VW camshafts are just our everyday candlesticks, except the rare occasions when the Tiffany crystal we got for our wedding comes out.

Adam Szczepanski said...

So the question becomes: which yeasts clip glycosides? I'm going to try Thames Valley yeast next batch.

Do you do a forced transfer for your hoppy beers or do you find that careful handling and co2 purging are enough? This post and the links you've provided are enough to push me over the edge and into kegging.

I wonder how well Conan clips glycosides and if that plays any part in Heady.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I'd love to see a list of the relative abilities of various brewer's yeast strains to free aglycones! I wouldn't be surprised if Conan was a good choice given the aromatics it produces in combination with hops.

I don't force transfer, haven't found the need. Especially considering my beer is kept cold. As a homebrewer you've got a decent amount of time compared to commercial beer that has to deal with warm transit/storage.

Anonymous said...

Mike - What is your final gravity after a 153F mash temp?

Anonymous said...

Actually 156F....never mashed this high. so again, where did it finish? thanks.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Just updated the recipe to reflect the 1.015 FG.