For the first brew in my IPA Clone Series, I’m brewing Four Peaks Hop Knot. I love this beer. Not only because it’s local and I love to support Four Peaks, but it really is a flipping fantastic IPA. It also just won Gold at the World Beer Cup for American Strong Pale Ales, so apparently I’m not the only person that loves it! This batch will be going to the East Valley Open Weightlifting Comp at East Valley Crossfit on June 23rd. Despite the tight deadline, everything turned out well.
In terms of formulating a clone recipe, this one was fairly easy. Four Peaks gives you almost every ounce of info needed on their website. We know it’s a 6.7% ABV, 47 IBU beer. Malts are 2-row, Pale Ale Malt, and C20. Hops are Simcoe, Cascade, Magnum, Liberty, and Glacier. They also use a highly flocculate, well-attenuating English yeast that they ferment cool (17C or so.) From tasting the beer I can tell it’s Cascade and Simcoe heavy. Magnum is most likely there for bittering, and Liberty and Glacier are probably adding some complexity in the middle. WLP007 is the obvious yeast choice, although it won’t be exact. They also have stated this beer is hopped in the whirlpool, hop back, and is dry hopped. They also use 3.5lbs per barrel of hops total.
Knowing that professional brewers dislike ‘left over’ ingredients as much as home brewers, I formulated this recipe assuming they would use all their bags of malt and hops on a single brew day. Four Peaks brews on a 20BBL system, and double (sometimes triple) batches into a fermenter. Sacks of grain are always 50 and 55lbs, and hops come in 11 and 44lb bags. So once I had a recipe built at 20bbl, I simply scaled it down to 12 gallons, and we get the recipe below (I subbed Warrior for Magnum.)
This was a 12 gallon batch that Greg and I split. Brew day went very smooth. We mashed for 60 minutes at exactly 150*, then boiled for 90 minutes. The wort was whirlpooled for 10 minutes prior chilling down to pitch temp (62F). I built up a 6.5L starter of WLP007 that we split evenly into two fermenters. WLP007 tends to work quickly. By the third day, I raised the temp to 65F, and 68F on the fourth day. The gravity was down to 1.014 after four days, and 1.013 after six. I racked it to secondary after a week, and dry hopped it with half of the hops. The second batch of dry hops were added three days later. Then it was kegged, fined with gelatin, and carbed.
Dry Hopped: 06-02-12
6lbs Pale Ale Malt 4L (Marris Otter also works)
1.5lbs Crystal 20
Mash @ 150*
39g Warrior @ 90
48g Liberty @ 30
48g Glacier @ 30
48g Simcoe @ 5 (their whirlpool)
48g Cascade @ 5 (their whirlpool)
96g Simcoe @ 0 (their hopback)
96g Cascade @ 0 (their hopback)
Dry Hop: 96g each of Simcoe and Cascade (cut the additions in half. Add half at a time)
6.5 liter starter of WLP007 fermented @ 62F. Raised temp to 68* over the course of days 3 & 4
Jesus tap-dancing Christ, it’s 100% cloned. There’s an ever so slight difference in the ester character, with Hop Knot being slightly more estery. Although that could simply be because mine is a little more fresh, and has more dry hop character covering up subtle esters right now. Color is identical, clarity is identical, bitterness is spot on, hop profile, and level of hoppiness are the same. I could go on and on, but this is definitely Hop Knot. The photo above was taken about 3 days after the beer was kegged.
I’m pretty excited that I finally nailed this recipe. For anyone looking to brew it themselves, keep in mind the recipe above is for 12 gallons, so cut it in half for a 6 gallon batch.
**Update** This beer just took 2nd place BOS(1st in IPAs) in a competition here in AZ with a score of 44. I’m more than a little excited!