Mahajanga IPA

Although my tastes tilt towards lower alcohol (<5.5% abv) beers, I like something a bit stronger as a treat now and then. I’ve previously enjoyed Avery Brewing Brewing Company’s Maharaja, a 10% abv double (triple?) IPA, and found a clone recipe in Craft Beer for the Homebrewer. I modified the hops in my version, with Chinook in place of Columbus and Centennial on the boil. On the dry hop end of things, I was much closer to the original recipe.

The name is a play on Avery’s brew, honoring a city in northwestern Madagascar where I spent a bit of time during my fieldwork in that country.

Mahajanga IPA

  • 10.5 pounds 2-row malt (Great Western)
  • 7 oz. biscuit malt (Dingemans)
  • 6 oz. crystal 120 (Great Western)
  • 1 oz. Chinook whole hops (13.1% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Chinook whole hops (13.1% alpha), 30 minute boil
  • 1 lb. pilsen light dry malt extract, 10 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 5 minute boil
  • 1 tsp. Fermax yeast nutrient, 5 minute boil
  • 2 oz. Centennial hop pellets (8.1% alpha), 10 minute whirlpool
  • 1 pkg. Safale American Ale yeast (US-05)
  • 1 oz. Centennial hop pellets (8.1% alpha), dry hop in keg
  • 1 oz. Chinook whole hops (13.1% alpha), dry hop in keg
  • 1 oz. Simcoe hop pellets (13.6% alpha), dry hop in keg

Target Parameters

  • 1.088 o.g., 1.013 f.g., 10% abv, 113 IBU, 13 SRM
  • Claremont tap water, with 2 g of gypsum added at end of boil
  • Full volume mash, 90 minutes at 147°, mash out to 168°, ferment at 65°


  • I mashed in full volume with ~5 gallons of water at 156°, to hit a mash temperature of 147°. I added ~4 mL of 88% lactic acid to adjust the mash pH.
  • After a 90 minute mash, I brought it up to 168° and held for 10 minutes before removing the grains.
  • I hit around 57% mash efficiency, with ~1.058 gravity for 4 gallons of runnings. This is pretty low, so I knew I would have to add a pound of DME.
  • I brought the runnings to a boil, adding hops, DME, and kettle finings per the recipe.
  • I added 2 g of gypsum at the end of the boil.
  • Approximately 3.4 gallons of wort went into the fermenter. I gave this 30 seconds of pure O2, and then pitched the yeast. It fermented at ambient (~64°).
  • I brewed the beer on 25 November 2020, and it had a starting gravity of 1.077.
  • I kegged the beer on 19 December 2020, adding the dry hops at that time. Final gravity was 1.014, for 8.5% abv. I’m thrilled that the beer attenuated fairly well!
  • I removed the dry hops on 27 December 2020, to avoid overhopping or harshness.


  • Appearance
    • The beer has an orangish, burnished gold color; it’s slightly hazy, but not overly so. It pours with a persistent ivory head with really nice lacing.
  • Aroma
    • Slight caramel malt quality, and a prominent hop character of citrus rind and pine resin. There is no yeast character or hot alcohol character, which is awesome!
  • Flavor
    • The beer is quite bitter, with a grapefruit rind and pine resin character to the bitterness. The malt flavor is somewhat grainy, and relatively moderate compared to the hops. Yeast character is very clean. This is a hop-forward beer!
  • Mouthfeel
    • Medium-light body, with an off-dry finish and moderate carbonation.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • Overall, this is a great recipe that just requires some hop adjustment. The hop character is a bit one-dimensional, with the Chinook dominating everything else. If I rebrew this, I’ll go closer to the original recipe, and ditch Chinook for all but a small dry hop addition. The malt character is about perfect, with enough body to stand up to the hops. The yeast management was perfect on this one–it attenuated well, and the yeast character was clean rather than boozy or fusel-ridden.
  • Overall
    • 6/10

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