I’ve gotten bored with tropical fruity, citrusy, guava bomb IPAs; they’re fairly easy to nail at least half-way well, but come across as a bit one-note after awhile. I don’t have a huge interest in the hazy IPA trend, either–they’re nice to try from time to time, but I don’t really want or need a 5 gallon keg of IPA orange juice. So, it’s back to the basics for me!
Two years ago, I did a Centennial hop-centered IPA based on one of Gordon Strong’s recipes. The result was quite good, so I figured I would revisit the recipe.
The new batch is fairly close recipe-wise to the old one, with the main change being in the yeast. I decided to give the Mangrove Jack Liberty Bell Ale (M36) a try; it’s supposed to be a strain good for English or American pale ales.
- 9.5 lbs. 2-row pale malt (Rahr)
- 2 lbs. Vienna malt (Great Western)
- 0.5 lb. Caravienne malt (Weyermann)
- 0.25 lb. Carahell malt (Weyermann)
- 3.4 oz. acidulated malt (BESTMALZ)
- 1 oz. Centennial hop pellets (9.3% alpha), 60 minute boil
- 1 oz. Centennial hop pellets (9.3% alpha), 15 minute boil
- 1 Whirlfloc tablet
- 2 oz. Centennial hop pellets (9.3% alpha), 10 minute whirlpool
- 3 oz. Centennial hop pellets (9.3% alpha), dry hop in keg
- 2 pkg. Liberty Bell Ale dry yeast (Mangrove Jack’s #M36)
- 1.063 o.g., 1.012 f.g., 6.7% abv, 59 IBU, 6 SRM
- Infusion mash to hit target of 150°, 60 minutes, batch sparge
- Water built from 3 gallons of Claremont tap water, 3.5 gallons of RO water treated with 4.5 g gypsum, 1.5 g epsom salt, 1 g calcium chloride, to hit target of 74 Ca, 10 Mg, 14 Na, 120 SO4, 27 Cl, 129 HCO3, 47 RA.
- I mashed in with ~4.1 gallons of the RO water with minerals and the balance in tap water, at 161°, to hit a mash temperature of 150°.
- After a 60 minute mash, I added 0.8 gallons of tap water at 185°, let sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the first runnings. Then, I added 3.5 gallons of tap water at 185°, let sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the second runnings.
- In total, I collected 6.5 gallons of runnings at a gravity of 1.051, for 72% efficiency.
- I brought the kettle to a boil, boiling for 60 minutes and adding hops per the schedule. After a full hour boil, I added the whirlpool hops and let them sit for 10 minutes before chilling, transferring to the fermenter, and pitching the yeast.
- I brewed this batch on 18 September 2018, and fermented it at around 67°. Starting gravity was 1.058.
- On 30 October 2018, I kegged the beer. Final gravity was 1.005, working out to 7.1% abv. The beer had a somewhat estery aroma and flavor on first taste (see below).
- The Basics
- Original gravity = 1.058; final gravity = 1.005; abv = 7.1%; esimated IBU = 59
- Slight phenolic, citrusy aroma
- Fine white head that sticks around for awhile; the beer itself is light gold with a slight haze.
- This is a very hop-forward beer, with a firm but even bitterness that persists on the tongue. There’s not a ton of malt character, but that’s OK for what this is. The hops have a slightly floral and citrusy character, which is unfortunately swamped out by a bit of a “hot” phenol note.
- This is a fairly dry beer. Carbonation is appropriate to style.
- Would I brew this again?
- The description for Liberty Bell Ale yeast mentions pear esters in the aroma, which will get out of the way of prominent hop and malt aromas. Sadly, I couldn’t disagree more. The aroma was an estery mess on this one early on–it smelled somewhat like my early homebrew batches fermented without temperature control. I checked my records on power losses at home, and couldn’t find any record of a power outage during the height of fermentation, so I suspect it’s just a flaw in the yeast strain relative to this recipe. It doesn’t really seem like an infection, either, although I suppose that’s not completely outside the realm of possibility (especially given the low finishing gravity). The off flavor has moderated a fair bit as the beer sits in the keg, but in any case, I won’t be trying this yeast strain again.
- 5/10 — the off flavor overwhelms the positive features of this beer.