As foretold by the prophets, August 7th is IPA Day. And hey, did you know that folks are bonkers about IPAs!? I like to joke that here in San Diego it’s impossible to throw a stone without hitting a brewery that’s pumping out two or three world-class IPAs (indeed, I can almost literally hit Stone with a stone from my house). While my tastes of late have shifted away from hop explosions, I do still enjoy a good IPA now and again; rest assured I’ll be kicking back tonight with a nice lupulin-laced liquor.
To celebrate IPA Day, here are some tips I’ve gathered about making a world-class West-Coast IPA.
- Keep the malt bill simple. All you’re looking for is just enough malt to provide a framework for the hops. A small malt layer is fine for complexity, but hops are the star of the show.
- Choose a clean yeast and ferment low. You’re looking to minimize any esters and alcohol heat that’ll get in the way of hop character.
- Dry that puppy out! The drier the beer finishes the more impact the hops will be making. If your beer is finishing higher than a gravity 1.012 consider mashing lower (~148ºF) and/or replacing up to 10% of your malt with dextrose.
- Mix up your hop techniques to maximize flavor and aroma extraction. A combination of first wort hopping, hop bursting, whirl-pooling, and double dry hopping will make the hop character explode into your face.
- Don’t be stingy with the hops. Lately I’ve seen some recipes for IPAs that use less than 3oz of hops *total* (5 gallon batch). That was fine back in the day, but modern IPAs are bursting with hops and you just can’t get the hop character folks expect without bucketfuls of hops.
- Serve fresh. Hop aroma is one of the first characteristics of a beer to fade so serve it as fresh as possible to capture the delicate aromatics.
As a bonus, here’s a recipe for everyone’s favorite IPA Pliny the Elder, straight from the horse’s, err, Pliny’s, err, Vinnie Cilurzo’s mouth (PDF warning!).
Pliny the Elder Recipe
|Batch Size||Boil Time||IBU||SRM||Est. OG||Est. FG||ABV|
|5.5 gal||90 min||181.4 IBUs||6.2 SRM||1.072||1.011||8.0 %|
|Name||Cat.||OG Range||FG Range||IBU||SRM||Carb||ABV|
|Imperial IPA||14 C||1.07 - 1.09||1.01 - 1.02||60 - 120||8 - 15||2.2 - 2.7||7.5 - 10 %|
|Pale Malt (2 Row) US||13 lbs||86.67|
|Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L||10 oz||4.17|
|Corn Sugar (Dextrose)||12 oz||5|
|Columbus/Tomahawk/Zeus (CTZ)||3 oz||90 min||Boil||Pellet||14|
|Columbus/Tomahawk/Zeus (CTZ)||0.75 oz||45 min||Boil||Pellet||14|
|Simcoe||1 oz||30 min||Boil||Pellet||13|
|Simcoe||2.5 oz||0 min||Boil||Pellet||13|
|Centennial||1 oz||0 min||Boil||Pellet||10|
|Centennial||1 oz||8 days||Dry Hop||Pellet||10|
|Columbus/Tomahawk/Zeus (CTZ)||1 oz||8 days||Dry Hop||Pellet||15.5|
|Simcoe||1 oz||8 days||Dry Hop||Pellet||13|
|Centennial||0.25 oz||4 days||Dry Hop||Pellet||10|
|Columbus/Tomahawk/Zeus (CTZ)||0.25 oz||4 days||Dry Hop||Pellet||15.5|
|Simcoe||0.25 oz||4 days||Dry Hop||Pellet||13|
|California Ale (WLP001)||White Labs||77%||68°F - 73°F|
|Mash Out||168°F||10 min|
|Mash grains at 150° F for an hour or until conversion is complete. Sparge, stir in dextrose, and bring to a boil. After boil, chill wort to 67° F and ferment until activity subsides. Rack to secondary and add first set of dry hops for 4 days then add the second set. Age 4 more days then bottle or keg the beer. Serve fresh!|
|Download this recipe's BeerXML file|
Leave a Reply