Between brewing a lot of clone IPAs, and then beers for the wedding, it’s been awhile since I’ve brewed an IPA of my own. The timing is good, as now is also a good time to finish using up the remainder of my 2012 hops before the new 2013 ones come in. Also, we’re going to be camping this Thanksgiving with the in-laws, so I’m going to make this a 10 gallon batch, and bring a keg out for the weekend.
I decided early on I wanted this beer to be decidedly west-coast. Light on the crystal, fairly light in color, north of 7% ABV, and tons of hops. I like some Munich and Victory in my IPAs to give the malt a little backbone, and I’m a big fan of English crystal malts. I look for every excuse to use English crystal over domestic these days. Choosing what hop profile I want is the harder part for me; I’m like a kid in a candy store with too many options.
I finally settled in on making Centennial and Simcoe the feature hops for this beer, with the goal of getting a really big citrus aroma. From there I decided on some Mosaic for the fruitiness, and CTZ and Amarillo for complexity. I didn’t overload the kettle with hops, but I’m piling them on pretty heavy in the dry hops (4.25oz per 6gal.)
I had a nice brew day outside. Our gorgeous fall continues, and I’m enjoying my brew days more and more. I mashed in at 152* for 60 minutes, sparged, and boiled for 60 minutes. This beer got a 15 minute hot whirlpool before I kicked on the chilling water, and brought the beer down to 62-64F (It was one of the two, I really don’t remember.) I split a big starter of WLP090 in two, and pitched it along with a healthy dose of O2 before buttoning up the fermenters.
Dry Hopped: 10-26-13
Mash @ 152*
2oz Apollo @ 90
2oz Centennial @ 30
2oz ea Centennial/Simcoe @ 15
2oz ea Centennial/Simcoe & 1oz ea Mosaic/CTZ @ 0
Dry Hops (per fermenter):
DH1: .5oz ea Centennial/Simcoe & .75oz CTZ
DH2: .5oz ea Centennial/Simcoe & .75oz ea Amarillo/Mosaic
WLP090 – Super San Diego Yeast
I started these beers where I start all my WLP090 fermentations, at 17.2C. A quick word on my fermentation temps. I say I set the fridge at 17.2C (63F), but there’s a 0.8C temp differential. The fridge will climb to 18C (64.4F) before kicking on and cooling to 17.2C. So basically, I start these beers right at 64F, and go up from there. Anyway, these fermented pretty quickly, as 090 always does. After a week, I racked before fermenters to CO2-purged kegs, and tossed in the dry hops for another week. Finally, I crashed them both, and racked to clean kegs with some gelatin.
Surprising, this beer took a little longer to ‘come together’ than I thought it would. It was pretty tasty right off the bat, but it wasn’t until around 10 days in the keg did the hop flavors ‘clean up’ (for lack of a better term). The appearance is exactly what I was shooting for. A very clear pale orange color with a big white head. It could be a little clearer, but nothing I’m stressing over. The aroma is huge citrusy hops. Orange and grapefruit. It’s a fairly complex hop aroma, but the citrus is really what hits you in the face. Flavor is pretty close to the same. Lots of heavy citrus flavors, some crackery malt character, and a clean bitterness at the end.
Overall, it’s an excellent IPA, and there isn’t much I’d change. Next time around I’ll probably toss a little Cascade in the dry hop to add some floral qualities, but that’s about it. This is definitely a recipe I’m going to keep working on tweaking. I’m sending this beer along with the Milk Chocolate Stout to a couple competitions, so we’ll see what some judges have to say. I want an IPA that is brewed to my taste, and one I’m happy to call my own. We’re pretty damn close with this one though!