Beer Tasting: Ophidia IPA & CA IPA

Both of my recent IPA’s are long-gone (Ophidia IPA first, and CA IPA most recently), but I hadn’t gotten around to posting the tasting information. So, this post is a double-header!

ophidia_IPAOphidia IPA

  • The Basics
    • O.G. = 1.055; f.g. = 1.012; 5.6% abv; 6 SRM; 52 estimated IBU
  • Aroma
    • Beautiful tropical fruit aroma–guava notes are really prominent (I feel a bit silly typing out this kind of pontification, but it’s seriously there!), and a bit of citrus is behind that when it is first poured. As the beer warms up, the purported blueberry associated with Mosaic hops comes forth. It’s a very hop-forward aroma, covering up the malt.
  • Appearance
    • Gold color, moderately hazy, with a low and persistent off-white head.
  • Flavor
    • Hop-forward once again, as you would expect for an IPA. The bitterness is clean and persists nicely from first sip to the finish. Any hop flavor is vaguely tropical and citrusy. The malt is clean, ever-so-slightly-sweet, and in the background.
  • Mouthfeel
    • This is a moderately dry and fairly light-bodied beer, carbonated as appropriate for the style. The dry finish lingers pleasantly on the tongue.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • Hmm…this is in the category of “pretty good, but not life-changing.” It hits nicely on most notes, but I think it might fall victim to “tropical hop burn-out” in the wake of many citrus/fruit-bomb IPAs and pale ales that I’ve done over the past year. I didn’t quite hit my marks for final gravity due to the mash being a bit too cool, but I’m honestly not sure if that’s a totally bad thing. The aroma is absolutely delicious–the Mosaic and Citra combo play together beautifully. This is a very drinkable beer; probably too easily drinkable! I really like it, but it is just missing something very minor that I can’t quite place in the flavor. Ah well!
  • Overall
    • 8/10


  • The Basics
    • O.G. = 1.060; f.g. = 1.009; 6.7% abv; 6 SRM; 63 estimated IBU
  • Aroma
    • Slightly phenolic, which overpowers any hop aroma. There is maybe a slight piney hint, but that’s about it.
  • Appearance
    • Gold beer with a moderate haze. The off-white head forms a persistent blanket over the surface of the beer.
  • Flavor
    • Pear/apple notes (probably from the yeast), with a slightly herbal/spicy character behind that–perhaps even a bit phenolic. I attribute this to a brief lapse with the fermentation chamber–the freezer side accidentally got unplugged, so the temperature peaked at 73 or 74 degrees. It’s actually rather close in many ways to what my first, non-temperature-controlled batches tasted like.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Medium-dry body, moderate carbonation.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • Maybe? Unfortunately, enjoyment of this beer is really ruined by the slight bump into high temperatures early in fermentation. I’m willing to try this temperature and technique again, though.
  • Overall
    • 3/10


Time to IPA it up again! I’ve been doing a lot of either “fruity” hops (Citra/Mosaic) or single hop IPA experiments, so for this recipe I wanted to do an American hop blend focusing on Centennial and Amarillo (hence the name “CA IPA”). I’m also going to switch up techniques a bit–rather than dry-hopping in the keg, I’m going to dry-hop in the fermenter towards the end of the main fermentation cycle, followed by cold crashing prior to kegging.


  • 11 lbs. 2-row malt (Rahr)
  • 2 lbs. 4.8 oz. Vienna malt (Weyermann)
  • 8 oz. crystal 20° malt (Briess)
  • 5 oz. crystal 10° malt (Briess)
  • 0.75 oz. Warrior hop pellets (15.8% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Amarillo hop pellets (7% alpha), 15 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Centennial hop pellets (7.6% alpha), 15 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Amarillo hop pellets (7% alpha), 5 minute whirlpool
  • 1 oz. Centennial hop pellets (7.6% alpha), 5 minute whirlpool
  • 1 pkg. Burton Ale yeast (WLP023, White Labs), prepared in 1.25L starter
  • 1 oz. Amarillo hop pellets (7% alpha), 5 day dry-hop in primary fermenter
  • 1 oz. Centennial hop pellets (7.6% alpha), 5 day dry-hop in primary fermenter

Target Parameters

  • 150° mash, 60 minutes
  • 1.065 o.g., 1.015 f.g., 6.6% abv, 63 IBU, 6 SRM, 6 gallons into the fermenter


  • The morning of my brew day, I prepared the yeast in a 1.25L starter. I don’t plan on setting any aside, so I did not bother with overbuilding the starter.
  • I prepared my mash water by adding a quarter Campden tablet, 8g gypsum, and 5g epsom salt to 4.75 gallons tap water. The 4.5 gallons of sparge water will be plain RO.
  • I heated the mash water to 170°, added it to the fermenter, and then let the temperature settle to 161.5° before adding the grains. This hit my mash temperature right at 150.2°, pretty much exactly where I wanted it.
  • Mash temperature was down to 148.5° after 30 minutes. I was visiting with some friends, so the mash ended up sitting a total of 90 minutes before I got back to it. At this point, I vorlaufed and then collected the first runnings.
  • Next, I added the sparge water (at around 155°, to hit a mash bed temperature of 152°), let it sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the remainder of the wort.
  • In total, I collected 8.1 gallons of wort at a gravity of 1.050 and 78% efficiency. This is a larger volume than expected–I think this is likely because I had assumed my RO jug had 4.5 gallon exactly, and it was probably a touch more than this. I’ll measure more carefully next time! For this particular batch, I boiled a bit harder than usual to bring the volume down and the gravity up.
  • Once I had the wort at a hard boil, I added the hops per the schedule, boiling for 60 minutes total. At the end of the boil, I added the whirlpool hops (in a mesh bag) and let them sit for 5 minutes before chilling the wort.
  • Once the beer was down to ~75°, I transferred to the fermenter and pitched the yeast. I put approximately 5.75 gallons into the primary. I pitched the yeast, and will be fermenting at 67°. I plan to add the dry hops in 5 days.
  • Starting gravity was 1.060, a bit below my target (but not surprising given the extra boil volume).
  • I brewed this beer on 25 March 2017. Visible yeast activity was evident in under 24 hours.