White IPA (all-grain)

Normally I’m pretty conservative when trying out a new style – making a middle-of-the-road beer, so that I know next time how much to lean in any particular direction. This is not one of those beers. I went all out on the hops and spices going for an uber-complex citrusy/piney yet very light malted IPA. I started off with a standard recipe for a Belgian wit (pils, wheat, oats, coriander, orange peel) shooting for a soft cracked wheat and bready base, then tried to think about what hops would accentuate citrus flavors. I went with all-out assault of Centennial (floral, citrus, grapefruit) Amarillo (orange/mango citrus) and Chinook (floral and spicy) to make this a big hoppy IPA. I restricted the addions to first-wort hopping (FWH) for less of a bitter bite, and then all later additions for big flavor and aroma. I don’t usually do this, but I’m gonna go huge on the dry hops for extra aroma. Eight ounces of hops total! This should be 5 gal, 59 IBU and 5% ABV and 1L SRM.

  • 5 lb Belgian Pilsner Malt
  • 2 lb Belgian Pale Malt
  • 2 lb Flaked Wheat
  • 1 lb Wheat malt
  • 1 lb flaked oats
  • 0.5 oz each Centennial and Amarillo (FWH)
  • 0.5 oz bitter orange peel (20 min)
  • 1 oz Centennial (10 min)
  • 0.5 oz each Centennial and Amarillo (5 min)
  • 1 oz each Amarillo and Chinook (flameout)
  • 2 oz Amarillo (Dry hop)
  • 1 oz Chinook (Dry hop)
  • 1 vial WLP400 Belgian Wit yeast
  • 1 vial WLP001 California Ale yeast

// Mash in 1.5 qt/lb at 154 for 50 minutes, 168 for 5 minutes. Sparge to collect 6 gallons 1.042 wort. Boil 60 minutes, chill to 85, pitch yeast and aerate. Collected 4 gallons 1.053 wort. Brewed 1/25/14. //

Brewing Notes: It was so damn cold outside on brew day (18F) which caused a few problems. When heating the strike water, it took a good amount of heat to bring it up to temperature, then I forgot to turn off the flame during mash-in, so I wound up overshooting my initial mash temperature to like 158F (it settled down to 154 after a few minutes from the cold). By time of the boil, I was already low on propane, so I ran dry with 10 minutes left in the boil – there was a big lag between adding the orange peel and the first flavor addition when i took the kettle inside to finish on my electric stove (bad idea – it took forever to come to a boil and was a weak one at that). Also, there was so much hop trub that settled in the kettle after the boil so I lost a good gallon of wort to only collect around 4 gallons. Enough bitching, but yep, just an all around miserable brew day.

UPDATE (1/27/14): Fermentation started up within a few hours, but then slowed down significantly about two days after pitching (about one blurb every 45 seconds)… gravity shows 1.024 and tastes it, too. There’s very little hop aroma (probably from having such a dud of a boil), but a nice kick of bitterness. Added the dry hops with 2 oz Amarillo and 1 oz Chinook. Gave the fermenter a good swirl to try and kick things back into gear and ferment out. I also stuck a space heater in the room to help perk the temperature up (it was at around 62), and within 10 minutes of the room temperature being at 72, the airlock was back to bubbling once ever 15 seconds or so. Amazing what just a little heat can do to kickstart the yeast!

UPDATE (1/30/14): Gravity at 1.02, still chugging away bubbling once every 20 seconds. Nice hop aroma now – citrusy with a spicy twist. Still quite milky and cloudy with too much sweetness and body, but it’s getting there! Just needs to ferment out a little more then this thing will be golden (or white, i should say). Ramped up the temperature to 76 to hopefully finish this bad boy off within the next few days.

UPDATE (2/2/14): Bubbling slowed to once a minute, gravity reads 1.016. Crash cooled outside at 34F degrees for 24 hrs then racked to the keg. Nearly all the dry hops had settled out.

THE VERDICT

A few days after kegging, this beer was, meh, OK. The high mash temp mixup unfortunately made it a fairly chewy beer with a ton of body, which poorly suits this style in my opinion. A medium bodied or even light, dry finish would really help this beer make more sense and come to life. The hops by themselves are nice – citrusy with a slight tangy-ness and a hint of pine. The flaked wheat is very up front in the flavor profile with a very bread-like quality, which I don’t think really meshes well with the hops. I would scale back on the flaked wheat and up the wheat malt for a crisper, more clean and neutral malt flavor, but also lowering the mash temperature would just help to bring the malt flavors down and out a bit through a generally more fermentable beer.

A month after kegging, it actually turned around quite a bit. The flavor of the flaked barley faded and the hop flavor came to the forefront. I like the aroma, but the flavor is a little too much with the centennial. It’s a really intense hop flavor that just doesn’t suit my pallet. I’d have to think about what hop would be good to replace it for this style, but it’s appropriate how it is.

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Filed under All-grain, Belgian, Hoppy, IPA, Wheat beers

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