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Trying an IPA - July 2015

posted Aug 27, 2015, 9:42 PM by Tony Scarpino   [ updated Aug 27, 2015, 9:42 PM ]
Admittedly the minor tinkering could appear tedious and not dramatic.  Some of the pictures look nearly the same.  The one advantage to this day was I had a sun shade above which made brewing a lot cooler for me on what was a hot 90F day.   But thus far, this whole brewing journey  as been about making minor changes to the recipe and process to see their affects on the flavor, aroma, and physical features to the beer.  In the case, I changed the hops and amounts that I used from the Citra APA recipe a week before.  The bitterness was raised above the BJCP APA levels to about 54, max is 50.  So technically it was an IPA.

The recipe, for a 3 gallon batch, added 10 grams of Simcoe and Amarillo hops each at 10 min, 5 mins, and flameout.  The Northern Brewer bittering hops was lowered from 18 to 15 grams as I didn't want to overly bitter the beer.  In hindsight, that was a useless change and is showing me I'm overly concerned about it.

Everything went smooth with this brew process.  I had no boilover this time, agitated the steeping grain bag a bit easier but still more than C2, and chilling started right away.  I took a bit extra care with the process because of my above target gravity last week.  I made sure not to get overly aggressive with the chiller swirling to cool down the wort out of care for the process, not knowing the extra bitterness/DMS that was to come with the Citra APA. 

The color of the beer was about the same as the Citra APA, but the gravity was 2pts (.002) above target gravity. Not as bad as the 6 from before. However the final gravity came in right at recipe target.  The best I can figure is my agitations of the bag is extracting more sugars out of the steeped grains.  In this case, I got more fermentable sugars, hence hitting the final gravity and higher alcohol.  In the case of the Citra APA, my greater agitation must have extracted unfermentable sugars that drove the gravity higher in the final gravity.

In the end the aroma and flavor of this beer was good.  There was no extra bitterness at all, so no DMS this time.  Many commented it was the best one so far.  The different hops gave it a different citrus and floral characteristic, which was not hard to imagine since my three previous recipes were Citra-based.  But that was the point, to explore a different set of hops.  What I did not achieve was a lot of hop flavor given I doubled the amount of hops.  As the picture on the left shows, there was a lot of hops that made it through the strainer, far more than previous beers.  But I got only a little more flavor.  I either have to dump a lot more flavoring hops, or I need to start dry hopping.  After the Homebrewers conference, it seemed that dry hopping is a standard practice, I guess more than I expected, so maybe I will have to explore that for my next APA/IPA recipe.

Things I should consider for my next IPA recipe are dry hopping, more bittering, and 6-row.