I love IPAs, but I’m also a bit burnt out on brewing them. Often if I want this style, I’ll just buy a four- or six-pack, and that will satisfy my temporary craving. There are tons of really good (and many great) IPAs out there, but they start to blend together after awhile. The contemporary Citra/Mosaic/etc. versions are tasty, but honestly there’s not always a lot of difference from one to the next. I like the taste of many hazies at first, but get tired after half a glass. The theme in many contemporary IPAs is tropical fruit notes…which can be fun, but gets monotonous after awhile. Can you tell that I’m bored?
More and more, my flavor preferences come back to the “old school” IPAs. Pine, low-key citrus, and herbal notes are all something I crave. It’s hard to find these in many of the newer (and dominant) commercial IPAs! Even the local breweries that have otherwise excellent IPAs aren’t filling this flavor-space anymore. I can’t blame them, if this IPA variant doesn’t sell well. As a homebrewer, though, I can more easily tailor my beer to personal tastes!
I recently received a copy of the Homebrew Recipe Bible, which is a nicely written and expansive tome of recipes. Their recipe for Wildfire IPA immediately appealed to me. It had a hefty blend of old school and newish-hops, while also dodging Citra and Mosaic tropes. I made some small modifications for ingredients on-hand, but otherwise it’s as-written.
- 12.75 lbs. 2-row malt (Great Western)
- 1.25 lbs. Dark Munich malt (Viking), 11 SRM
- 0.75 Crystal 30 malt (Great Western)
- 0.6 oz. Chinook hop pellets (13.0% alpha), 60 minute boil
- 0.6 oz. Columbus/Tomahawk/Zeus (CTZ) hop pellets (15.5% alpha), 60 minute boil
- 0.6 oz. Centennial hop pellets (9.3% alpha), 10 minute boil
- 1 tsp. Fermax, 10 minute boil
- 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 5 minute boil
- 0.5 oz. Simcoe hop pellets (13.6% alpha), 5 minute boil
- 1 oz. Amarillo hop pellets (7.7% alpha), 10 minute whirlpool
- 1 oz. Cascade whole hops (~5.5% alpha), 10 minute whirlpool
- 2 pkg. US-05 American ale dry yeast
- 1 oz. Ahtanum hop pellets (6.0% alpha), dry hop in keg
- 0.5 oz. Cascade Cryo-Hops (12.5% alpha), dry hop in keg
- Infusion mash to hit target of 150°, 60 minutes, batch sparge
- 1.066 o.g., 1.013 f.g., 7.0% abv, 68 IBU, 7 SRM
- Claremont tap water, with 1/2 tsp (~2 g) of gypsum added to boil kettle
- I mashed in with 5 gallons of water at 161.8°, to hit a mash temperature of 149.8°. I added 8 mL of 88% lactic acid to the mash, to adjust the pH.
- After 60 minutes, I added 0.5 gallons of water at 185°, let sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the first runnings.
- Next, I added 3.6 gallons of water at 185°, let it sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the second runnings.
- In total, I collected 7.10 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.053, for 70% mash efficiency.
- In the kettle, I added the 1/2 tsp. of gypsum and brought the mixture to a boil, adding hops per the recipe. After 60 minutes, I added the whirlpool hops and let it sit for 10 minutes before chilling.
- As I transferred the wort to the fermenter, I noticed a lot of trub. This is due to the heavy hop load. Like, a lot of trub. For future recipes, I’ll need to adjust my kettle leavings (~1 gallon) to ensure I have a full 5 gallon batch.
- I fermented the beer at 66°, following my brew day on 9 February 2020.
- I kegged the beer on 29 February 2020. Starting gravity was 1.053, and went down to 1.008, for 7.7% abv. At the time of kegging, I added the dry hops in a weighted mesh sack.
- Deep gold color and hazy but not cloudy, with a persistent and creamy white head.
- Pine, citrus pith, slight dankness
- Hop forward (as it should be), with a wonderful piney and bitter citrus character. Malt has a slight caramel, bready quality (likely from the Munich malt).
- Moderately light body, off-dry, moderate carbonation.
- Would I brew this again?
- Yes! This is a very solid “traditional” West Coast IPA recipe, like something that would have been popular in the early 2000’s. I can’t think of much to change with this one…the only minor “ding” would be the slight haziness, but I’m pretty willing to tolerate that. Overall, it’s exactly the beer I wanted.