Mahajanga Imperial IPA

It’s the cooler season here in SoCal, so I like a higher strength beer every once in awhile. To that end, I wanted to do an old-school double IPA–something with big malt and piney hop character. So, I returned to the Maharajah Imperial IPA recipe from Craft Beer for the Homebrewer, with my own paleontological spin on it. I made some malt and hop substitutions for what was on-hand, but overall it has the same feel as my previous version. I also added some dextrose to dry out the beer a touch; with the combo of darker malts, I didn’t want it to end up feeling syrupy. I aimed for a batch volume of around 3.5 gallons–firstly, because I don’t want 5 gallons of a beer with this high of alcohol, and secondly because I figured I would lose a bit of volume to the heavy hopping level.

Mahajanga Imperial IPA

  • 11 lb. 2-row malt (Rahr)
  • 6 oz. Special B malt (Dingemans)
  • 4 oz. Aromatic Munich Malt 20L (Briess)
  • 12 oz. dextrose
  • 1.5 oz. Centennial hop pellets (8.1% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Amarillo hop pellets (10.5% alpha), 30 minute boil
  • 0.5 oz. Amarillo hop pellets (9.5% alpha), 30 minute boil
  • 1 tsp. BruTanB, 10 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 5 minute boil
  • 1.75 g yeast nutrient (WLN1000, White Labs), 5 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Centennial hop pellets (8.1% alpha), 5 minute whirlpool
  • 1 oz. Talus hop pellets (6.2% alpha), 5 minute whirlpool
  • 2 pkg. American West Coast Ale yeast BRY-97 (Lallemand)
  • 1 oz. Centennial hop pellets (8.1% alpha), dry hop in keg
  • 1 oz. LUPMAX Chinook hop pellets (17.0% alpha), dry hop in keg
  • 1 oz. Talus hop pellets (6.2% alpha), dry hop in keg

Target Parameters

  • 1.083 s.g., 1.011 f.g., 102 IBU, 12 SRM, 9.6% abv
  • Full volume mash at 149° for 60 minutes, 10 minute mash-out at 168°
  • Claremont tap water adjusted to hit target of 68 ppm Ca, 7 ppm Mg, 92 ppm Na, 108 ppm sulfate, 110 ppm chloride, 156 ppm bicarbonate


  • I mashed in with 5.25 gallons of water at 158° and added 5.5 mL of 88% lactic acid, to hit a target rest temperature of 149°. I held it here for 60 minutes, before raising the temperature to 168°.
  • After the mash, I pulled the grains and sparged with about 0.75 gallons of hot water, to rinse the residual sugars out.
  • In total, I collected 5 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.060, for 70% mash efficiency. This is good on the one hand, but it meant I had to boil a little harder and longer to get the volume down.
  • I added 2 g of gypsum to the boil, to hit my water target, and also added the corn sugar at this time.
  • I boiled for around 75 minutes, adding the hops and finings per the schedule. After the boil, I chilled a few degrees and then added the whirlpool hops, recirculating for 10 minutes during this process.
  • I chilled the beer the rest of the way, down to around 68°, before transferring to the fermenter and adding the yeast.
  • Starting gravitry was 1.074, a bit short of my goal; I should have boiled a bit longer, because I had plenty of volume. I brewed this beer on 20 November 2022, and fermented at 68°.
  • I kegged the beer on 10 December 2022, with a final gravity of 1.012 and 8.3% abv. I’m pretty happy with that! I bagged the hops and added them to the keg. It didn’t take long for the beer to drop clear at serving temperatures!


  • Appearance
    • Gorgeous! This is a beautifully clear beer–one of the quickest and best I’ve gotten for an IPA–that pours with a tall, persistent, fine, and off-white head.
  • Aroma
    • Pine and resiny hop aroma, with a hint of deep caramelly malt behind that. There is a very slight bit of alcohol apparent when warmed.
  • Flavor
    • High level of piney hop bitterness at the front, with a bit of citrus pith.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Medium body, medium carbonation. The beer has a very slightly dry finish, but not over the top dry.
  • Would I Brew This Again?
    • Yes! This beer is incredibly drinkable; a little too much so, in fact. It goes down smoother than its ABV allows, and there is no solventy alcohol character that sometimes happens in these kinds of homebrews. The end result was a classic “old school” IPA.
  • Overall
    • 10/10