Late Hop IPA

IMG_0670I’ve been wanting to make an IPA lately but nothing seemed to peak my interest in terms of a recipe. Super aggressive IPAs can be good, but I hate when the bitterness is so harsh and intense that the beer becomes a chore to get through. Then, I can across this recipe on The Mad Fermentationist blog, which was originally a session IPA but it sounded great as a normal strength beer as well. So, I scaled it up to 10 gallons and changed around the hops slightly for a little more IBU but kept the hopping regimen most the same – only late hops with a blend of Simcoe, Amarillo, and Columbus. I like all three of these hop varieties but have never used them in this combination before. At 72% eff. this should be 45 IBU, 1053 OG and 6 SRM.

  • 14.5 lb Vienna malt (Weyermann)
  • 4.5 lb Pale malt (Dingemans)
  • 1 lb Caravienna (Dingemans)
  • 1 oz Simcoe, 0.5 oz Columbus (15 min)
  • 1.5 oz Amarillo, 0.5 oz Columbus (10 min)
  • 1.5 oz Simcoe, 1 oz Amarillo, 0.5 oz Columbus (5 min)
  • 1.5 oz each Simcoe, Amarillo, Columbus (flameout)
  • 1 oz each Simcoe, Amarillo, Columbus (keg-hop)
  • WLP550 Belgian Ale Yeast
  • WLP060 American Yeast Blend

// Mash-in 1.4 qt/lb, 153 for 50 min, 168 for 10 min. Sparge w/ 8.75 gal to collect ~13.5 gal 1.042  wort. Boil 90 minutes. Add flameout hops at 170F, let stand for 25 minutes. Chill to 66F, 45 seconds pure O2 in each. Pitch decanted 1L of 550, 1.5L 060 starters in to each carboy. Collected 10 gal 1053 wort. //

Water profile: 154 ppm sulfate, 39 ppm chloride, 95 ppm calcium.  2 tsp gypsum, 0.6 tsp CaCl2 in mash. 2.25 tsp gypsum, 0.75 CaCl2 in batch sparge.

UPDATE (1/4/15): Quick fermentation in both carboys – the American yeast seemed to tap out first, with the Belgian still with a thick yeast layer on top. Took a sample of the American: down to 1016 gravity.  Great hop aroma – a blend of citrus, pine, and some herbal notes too. Excellent hop character – clean and juicy hop flavor up front, toasty malts (a tad sweet, but not overbearing) to follow, with a slight tangy bitterness in the finish. Still pretty cloudy so there is a slight yeast ester, but this should fade. Gave the carboy a gentle swirl for a about 30 seconds to help the yeast finish out. Once this gets down 1014 it’ll be ready for crash cooling. Really excited for the final product on this one.

UPDATE ( 1/7/15): Moved the American batch over to the freezer to crash down to 38F. Belgian batch at 1014 and tasting great. The hops are a bit more subdued compared to the American (less of a bite), and the fruity esters are very prevalent. As soon as one of my carboys frees up, i’m going to transfer this and add some french oak chips.

UPDATE (1/9/15): Racked the Belgian over to a carboy on top of 1.25 oz french oak chips (loose) that were steamed for 15 minutes.

UPDATE (1/26/15): Tasted the Belgian. Interesting aroma – an interesting  lemon/grapefruit note and some classic Belgian esters with a hint of malt. Not much oak in the aroma. Flavor-wise this has really improved. The oak flavor works surprisingly well and seems to balance out the bright, juicy, and slightly tangy hop flavors.


American w/ Dry Hops:  This beer was exploding with hop flavor. Smooth, juicy, fresh hop flavor. The malts were well hidden underneath it all, but I felt that was OK in the end. It’s hard to describe the combined sensation of hop flavor – it blends together to create a benign hoppy package. Fruity, but not absurdly citrusy, floral with a very slightly more darker, woodsy, almost smoky character which probably comes from the Columbus. There’s not much aggressive bitterness (since all the hops were late additions), but I wonder how a little extra bite would balance with the flavor from the dry-hops.  The beer remained really cloudy even after being in the keg for two months, so I think a protein rest may be in order with that much Vienna malt.

Belgian w/ Oak: This one was interesting. I left it on the oak for about 2 months and the hop flavors took an interesting turn. It developed a very bright citrus flavor, very grapefruit-like with some lemon, but doesn’t really taste like hops. The oak is a little muted but it’s an interesting combo with the citrus flavors. The malts are light but their presence is there – most people who tasted this thought it was brewed with honey, which i think was from the malt and oak combination. I’m starting to think that oak really works best with beers that have more color and bolder flavor (caramel, roast, chocolate) – it just blends better with the kind of smoky, woody flavor of the oak. This is essentially an oaked blonde beer, which I don’t I’ve ever had before. The belgian yeast also added an interesting layer to things. As you can tell, this was an extremely complex beer. Bright citrus, light malts, and oak is a little different, but I like it.



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Filed under Belgian, Hoppy, IPA

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