Spring Classic IPA

I just love the “traditional” northwestern IPAs, as mentioned numerous times before on this blog. So many breweries focus on the tropical fruit profiles, which I also love, but sometimes I just want pine and citrus and dank flavors in my IPA.

This latest batch doesn’t follow any particular recipes; I’m just aiming for a bit of interesting base malt character with a touch of crystal malt. So, I leaned on the two-row for about three-quarters of the grist, along with a bit of Golden Promise for interest, some crystal 40, and a bit of biscuit. The latter two used up my supplies, so it was good housecleaning.

The hopping was traditional with a twist. A recent HOPBOX had some of their hop extract, enough to add about 47 IBU. According to their website, it’s mostly CTZ-type hops with some other semi-random aroma varieties. That sounded like a perfect bittering base for my beer, and I have also wanted to try out some of these hop extracts for awhile. I elected to put the rest of my hops all in the whirlpool and dry hop additions. In this case, Amarillo, Centennial, and Cascade were perfect choices.

This batch was brewed while my Foundry was down for repairs, so I used the “traditional” batch sparge technique. I’m glad to say I still have the skills here, and hit my numbers really closely.

Spring Classic IPA

  • 10 lb. 2-row pale malt (Rahr)
  • 3 lb. Golden Promise Finest Pale Ale malt (Simpsons)
  • 9 oz. 40L caramel malt (Briess)
  • 4 oz. biscuit malt (BlackSwaen)
  • 10 mL Yakima Valley Hops CO2 hop extract (48.91% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 5 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Amarillo hop pellets (7.8% alpha), 15 minute whirlpool
  • 1 oz. Cascade hop pellets (8.7% alpha), 15 minute whirlpool
  • 1 oz. Centennial hop pellets (12.5% alpha), 15 minute whirlpool
  • 2 pkg. American West Coast Ale dry yeast (Lallemand BRY-97)
  • 1 oz. Amarillo hop pellets (7.8% alpha), dry hop in keg
  • 1 oz. Cascade hop pellets (8.7% alpha), dry hop in keg
  • 1 oz. Centennial hop pellets (12.5% alpha), dry hop in keg

Target Parameters

  • 1.059 o.g., 1.010 f.g., 6.5% abv, 69 IBU, 7 SRM
  • Infusion mash to hit target of 148°, 60 minutes, batch sparge
  • Claremont tap water with gypsum added to to achieve 79 ppm Ca, 6 ppm Mg, 91 ppm Na, 172 ppm SO4, 85 ppm Cl, 144 ppm HCO3, 118 ppm alkalinity, 58 ppm RA

Procedure

  • I heated 4.6 gallons of water (with Campden tablet) to 159°, and mashed in with my grains to hit 149°. I added 6 mL of 88% lactic acid to adjust the pH. I mashed for 60 minutes before adding 0.75 gallons of 185° water. I let it rest, vorlaufed, and then collected the first runnings. Next I added 3.75 gallons of water at 185°, let it rest at around 170° for 10 minutes, and then collected the second runnings.
  • In total, I collected 7.6 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.050, for 75% mash efficiency.
  • While the kettle was coming up to a boil, I soaked the hop extract in hot tap water, in order to make it easier to add. That certainly did the trick!
  • I added 6 g of gypsum to the boil, to hit my water target.
  • Once the kettle was boiling, I added the hop extract and then added other items per the recipe.
  • After a 60 minute boil, I turned off the flame, added the whirlpool hops, and let it rest (with occasional stirring) for 15 minutes before chilling.
  • I transferred the wort to my fermenter and chilled it down to 66° before pitching the yeast.
  • I brewed this beer on 15 April 2022, and fermented it at 66°. Starting gravity was 1.059, right on target.
  • I moved the beer to ambient on 24 April 2022, and kegged it on 4 May 2022. I added the drop hops at this point, with a mesh bag inside the keg.
  • The final gravity was 1.011, for 6.4% abv. I’m very pleased on how closely I hit my numbers overall!

Tasting

  • Appearance
    • Pours as a golden, somewhat hazy beer, with a creamy white head that is very persistent. The head leaves gorgeous lacing down the sides of the glass.
  • Aroma
    • Orange and overall citrus notes, with a slight malty background. The yeast character is quite clean.
  • Flavor
    • A citrus, citrus pith, pine, and resiny hop bitterness at the front, with a clean malty presence and a light bit of candy behind that. The hop character has that “sticky” quality on the tongue that I really adore in a good traditional American IPA.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Medium body, with moderate carbonation and a dry finish.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • I feel like I’ve gotten my “traditional” West Coast IPAs down pretty well now. I know the hops and hop combos I like, and have found that perfect balance of crystal malt and base malt. I also have a few variations on recipes that work well. It definitely has a “hop haze,” which I suppose dings it a little bit in terms of my overall score, but I also expect that should be cleared out by the end of the keg. BRY-97 is my favorite IPA yeast now, too! Another thing I love about this beer is that I perceive it just a little differently every time I sample it. Sometimes the pine hits me, sometimes the orange, sometimes the resin.
  • Overall
    • 9/10

Pliny the Elder Clone: The MoreBeer Edition

I don’t often get beer kits, because I usually find it easier and cheaper to assemble a recipe on my own and also because kits tend to sit around on store shelves with pre-milled grains and old hops. However, I couldn’t resist getting the Pliny the Elder clone kit from MoreBeer, when it went on sale recently. I did a “homegrown” Pliny clone awhile back, and it was OK but not outstanding. So, I decided to give this recipe family another try.

I augmented the kit slightly, because the provided packages of Magnum were ridiculously low alpha–only 2.3% according to the package! I didn’t know that this variety even came so low, and I needed some “real” Magnum from my personal stash to augment things.

For this batch, I also decided to really pay attention to my handling of the beer. Every transfer was closed, and everything was kept either cool or cold, depending on the stage of the process. The end results were definitely worth it!

Pliny the Elder Clone: The MoreBeer Edition

  • 13 lb. 2-row malt (Briess)
  • 1 lb. Carapils malt (Briess)
  • 4 oz. Caramel 40L malt (Briess)
  • 2 oz. Cascade hop pellets (7.3% alpha), added to mash
  • 2 oz. Magnum hop pellets (2.3% alpha), 90 minute boil
  • 2 oz. Magnum hop pellets (10.1% alpha), 90 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Simcoe hop pellets (12.9% alpha), 45 minute boil
  • 1 oz. CTZ hop pellets (14.4% alpha), 30 minute boil
  • 1 lb. corn sugar, 10 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 5 minute boil
  • 1 tsp. yeast nutrient (WLN1000), 50 minute boil
  • 2 oz. Centennial hop pellets (9.9% alpha), 5 minute whirlpool
  • 1 oz. Simcoe hop pellets (12.9% alpha), 5 minute whirlpool
  • 2 pkg. American West Coast ale yeast BRY-97 (Lallemand)
  • 3 oz. CTZ hop pellets (14.4% alpha), dry hop in keg
  • 1 oz. Centennial hop pellets (9.9% alpha), dry hop in keg
  • 1 oz. Simcoe hop pellets (12.9% alpha), dry hop in keg

Target Parameters

  • 1.073 o.g., 1.011 f.g., 8.3% abv, 165 IBU
  • Claremont tap water, adjusted to achieve target water profile of 66 ppm Ca, 22 ppm Mg, 91 ppm Na, 204 ppm SO4, 85 ppm
  • Full volume mash, with 90 minutes at 151°.

Procedure

  • I mashed in with 7.1 gallons of water at 159°, to hit a mash temperature of 151°. I added 8 mL of 88% lactic acid, to adjust the pH. I held at 151° and recirculated for 90 minutes, before mashing out at 168° for 10 minutes. Then, I pulled the grain basket and sparged with 1 gallon of hot water.
  • In total, I collected 7 gallons of runnings at a gravity of 1.055, for 74% mash efficiency. For high gravity beers, a small sparge really makes a difference on the Anvil.
  • I added 5 g of gypsum and 5 g of epsom salts to the kettle, to hit my target water profile.
  • I boiled the runnings for 90 minutes, adding hops and finings and such per the recipe.
  • After 90 minutes, I turned off the heat and chilled to 65°, before transferring to the fermenter.
  • I pitched the yeast, and set the beer to ferment at 66°.
  • I brewed the beer on 27 December 2021. I pulled it to ambient (58 to 60°) on 8 January 2022.
  • On 15 January 2022, I did a closed transfer of the beer into a purged keg for dry hopping quickly popping the lid to throw in the loose hops. I used a hop screen on the floating dip tube.
  • On 21 January 2022, I transferred from the dry hopping keg into a purged serving keg, and then carbonated. I lost probably close to a gallon of hop sludge.
  • The beer started out fairly hazy, but was reasonably clear within a few weeks.
  • Starting gravity was 1.070, and final gravity was 1.013, for 7.7% abv.

Tasting

  • Appearance
    • Pours with a creamy, off-white and persistent head with very nice lacing. The beer is gold, with a very slight haze.
  • Aroma
    • Citrus at the front, with a light herbal and grassy character behind that.
  • Flavor
    • Hops! Bitter! There is a real orange hop quality, with in-your-face bitterness. Hops are quite high (as expected), with not much for malt character against the hops. The yeast character is very clean; I’m happy with the fermentation on this one.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Medium body, off-dry extended finish with very slight astringency. Moderate carbonation.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • Yes! I am really pleased with this…it’s a great double IPA. The hop character is excellent. I could do without the slight chill haze, but otherwise the beer is awesome, and not a bad approximation of Pliny. I could probably reduce the dry hop length to only two or three days (rather than six), to hopefully reduce the slight astringency.
  • Overall
    • 8/10

2021 IPA

This might be my least creative recipe name ever, but it sure is appropriate! Thanks to my HOPBOX, I had a whole mess of hops from the 2021 harvest. I wanted to craft a recipe that would highlight more “traditional” IPA flavors of citrus and pine, while also exploring some new-to-me varieties.

orange-gold beer with off-white head, held in tall tulip glass

After sorting through my hop selection, I selected Bravo as the main bittering hop, with heavy doses of Cashmere, Wai-iti, and Waimea in the whirlpool and dry hop. Each of those brought complementary notes of lemon, citrus, and pine, without major components of tropical fruits. When opening up the hops, I noted that Waimea had an incredible fruit aroma (and was my favorite), with Wai-iti being a close second. The Cashmere had a slightly dank aroma that verged on vegetal, so I wasn’t initially sure how I would like it in the brew. I built a moderately complex grist, in part to use up some malts and in part to give a robust malt backbone to the beer. Finally, I chose BRY-97 as the yeast. I haven’t brewed with it a ton (my early experiments found it to be veeery slooow to take off), but have heard enough great things that I wanted to give it a try.

2021 IPA

  • 10 lb. 6 oz. California Select 2-row malt (Great Western)
  • 2 lb. Maris Otter malt (Crisp)
  • 0.75 lb. Chateau Munich Light malt
  • 0.5 lb. Caramel 40° malt (Briess)
  • 0.25 lb. biscuit malt (BlackSwaen)
  • 1 oz. Bravo hop pellets (14.2% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 5 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Cashmere hop pellets (7.0% alpha), 15 minute whirlpool
  • 1 oz. Wai-iti hop pellets (3.5% alpha), 15 minute whirlpool
  • 1 oz. Waimea hop pellets (13.2% alpha), 15 minute whirlpool
  • 2 pkg. American West Coast Ale yeast (Lallemand BRY-97)
  • oz. Cashmere hop pellets (7.0% alpha), 3 day dry hop in fermenter
  • 1 oz. Wai-iti hop pellets (3.5% alpha), 3 day dry hop in fermenter
  • 1 oz. Waimea hop pellets (13.2% alpha), 3 day dry hop in fermenter

Target Parameters

  • 1.062 o.g., 1.013 f.g., 6.5% abv, 63 IBU, 8 SRM
  • Full volume mash at 152° for 60 minutes, with 10 minute mash-out at 168°
  • Claremont tap water, adjusted with lactic acid to knock out carbonate in strike water. Adjusted further in kettle to reach target water profile of 61 ppm Ca, 16 ppm Mg, 91 ppm Na, 170 ppm SO4, 85 ppm Cl, 15 ppm HCO3; RA=-41 ppm.

Procedure

  • The night before brewing, I collected 7.5 gallons of tap water and treated it with 0.5 Campden tablet and 5.75 mL of 88% lactic acid, to knock out the carbonates. I let it sit overnight, before brewing the next morning.
  • I heated the water to 159°, and mashed in to hit a target temperature of 152°. I added 2.1 mL of 88% lactic acid, to adjust pH.
  • After recirculating at 152° for 60 minutes, I raised the temperature to 168° and held it there for 10 minutes before removing the grain basket.
  • In total, I collected 6.3 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.054, for 66% mash efficiency.
  • I brought the runnings to a boil, boiling for 30 minutes before adding the hops, to bring up the gravity a bit. As the boil started, I added 4 g of gypsum of 3 g of epsom salt to the boil, to hit the target water profile.
  • After the initial 30 minute boil, I added hops and finings per the recipe, reaching a 90 minute total boil.
  • Once I had finished the boil, I added the whirlpool hops and whirlpooled for 15 minutes before chilling down to 70° and transferring to the fermenter.
  • I pitched the yeast, and fermented at 66°.
  • I brewed the beer on 6 November 2021, and hit a starting gravity of 1.063.
  • On 14 November 2021, I added the dry hops to the fermenter in a bag, and let it sit at ambient temperature (~64°) for three days.
  • I kegged the beer on 17 November 2021. Within about a month, the beer had dropped completely clear.

Tasting

  • Appearance
    • This is a deep gold and very clear beer, with a persistent ivory head–gorgeous!
  • Aroma
    • Citrus peel and orange; not much in the way of detectable malt character, and the yeast character is very clean.
  • Flavor
    • The hops are at the forefront, with orange and citrus zest, followed by light pine. The malt character is smooth, but not over the top. I feel like a little bit of the hop character was lost between when I smelled the hops directly and now. Although I think it partly could be oxidation, I also suspect I should have either dry hopped more freely or else dry hopped in the keg, to get more exposure time. I bagged the hops for dry hopping, and don’t think they got as much contact as they should have.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Moderate body, with an off-dry finish and moderate carbonation level.
  • Would I Brew This Again?
    • Yes! I think I will modify my dry-hopping for next time, and dry hop a little longer or else leave the hops in the keg, or increase the amount of Waimea and Wai-iti.
  • Overall
    • 8/10

Byzantium IPA

With the summer months closing out, I wanted to do a final kveik batch. I targeted a 3 gallon yield, because I didn’t want to have a ton of higher-abv beer. Additionally, I made this a “quicker brew” session, by reducing the boil time to 45 minutes. I have no particular reason for the name, other than that it sounded cool.

Byzantium IPA

  • 8.25 lb. 2-row malt (California Select, Great Western)
  • 0.25 lb. 10L caramel malt (Briess)
  • 0.55 oz. CTZ (Columbus/Tomahawk/Zeus) hop pellets (15.8% alpha), first wort hop
  • 1 oz. Simcoe hop pellet (12.7% alpha), 5 minute boil
  • 0.65 oz. Centennial hop pellet (8.1% alpha), 5 minute boil
  • 1 tsp. yeast nutrient (WLN1000, White Labs), 5 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 5 minute boil
  • 1 pkg. Voss Kveik Ale Yeast (Lallemand)
  • 1 oz. Centennial hop pellets (8.1% alpha), 2 day dry hop
  • 1 oz. Simcoe hop pellets (12.7% alpha), 2 day dry hop

Target Parameters

  • 1.067 s.g., 1.013 f.g., 7.2% abv, 66 IBU, 5 SRM
  • 149° mash, 60 minutes, with 10 minute mash-out at 168°, and 1 gallon sparge
  • Claremont tap water with 3 g gypsum and 2 g epsom salt added at boil, to hit add 3 g gypsum, 2 g epsom salt to water just before boil, to hit 71 Ca, 21 Mg, 93 Na, 180 SO4, 105 Cl, 156 HC03, 65 RA, 128 ppm Alkalinity

Procedure

  • I mashed in with 4 gallons of water at 156°, adding 5 mL of 88% lactic acid. This hit a target mash temperature of 149°, and I held it here (with recirculation) for 60 minutes. After 60 minutes, I mashed out to 168°. I pulled the grain basket, and sparged with just under a gallon of hot water.
  • In total, I collected 4 gallons of runnings at a gravity of 1.057, for 73% mash efficiency. Nice!
  • I added gypsum, epsom salt, and the CTZ pellets, brought the wort to a boil, and added hops and such per the schedule. After 45 minutes, I turned off the heat and chilled to ~90°.
  • I transferred ~3.25 gallons of wort at a starting gravity of 1.064 into the fermenter, and pitched the yeast.
  • I brewed the beer on 21 August 2021, letting it sit at ambient, which was around 85°.
  • Fermentation took off quickly, overflowing the airlock (oops). I added the dry hops directly to the fermenter (with no bag) on 1 September 2021, and then kegged on 3 September 2021.
  • I kegged the beer using a semi-closed transfer, and the hops were quite a pain. I had some issues with clogged lines, etc. I probably should have cold-crashed to drop the hops out of the beer, or else bagged them in the first place. Ah well.
  • Final gravity was 1.014, for 6.6% abv.
  • To help clear the beer and hurry it towards serving, I added 0.5 tsp of gelatin in 0.75 cups water on 4 September 2021. At this time, I also agitated keg to finish carbonation.

Tasting

  • Appearance
    • This is a gold-colored beer with a slight haze; it pours with a quite persistent white head that leaves nice lacing on the side of the glass.
  • Aroma
    • The beer has a light citrus character for hops and a slight caramel malt aroma. There is no major yeast character, so the overall aroma is pretty clean. I would say it could use a little more hop character.
  • Flavor
    • The flavor is has a high level of bitterness, with a citrus pith character and a little bit of orange. The malt is in the background, with a slightly grainy aspect. There is a light…tartness?…in the yeast profile, that adds a bit of interest.
  • Mouthfeel
    • The beer has a medium-light body, moderate carbonation, and a dry finish.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • This is a worthy experiment…definitely better than the other kveik IPA I did, which suffered from clashing hops, malt, and yeast in initial tastings, and never quite came together even as it matured. I think the hop selection works better here, although as before I probably should use a more character-rich base malt such as Maris Otter. My hop handling also wasn’t great on this one, which I think dinged it a bit also. I should probably just add the hops in a bag next time. I lost volume as well as introduced a bit of O2 while messing around trying to clear clogs. That aside, it is a pretty beer.
  • Overall
    • 6.5/10

Pliny the Elder Clone

Pliny the Elder is probably one of the most highly regarded and sought-after beers in the US, but I think I’ve only had it once. I remember it being pretty good, but not mind-blowing…but then again, that was awhile ago. Even so, I thought it would be fun to make a clone to fill the “high ABV beers” space for a little while.

The clone recipe is from the Brew Your Own Big Book of Homebrewing, although various versions are fairly readily available elsewhere. I scaled it down to ~3 gallons, because I didn’t really want a massive quantity of something around 8 percent abv.

Pliny the Elder Clone

  • 7.75 lb. 2-row Xtra pale malt (Viking)
  • 4 oz. Carapils malt (Briess)
  • 3 oz. caramel 40L malt (Briess)
  • 9.6 oz. corn sugar (added to boil)
  • 2.55 oz. Magnum hop pellets (10.1% alpha), 90 minute boil
  • 0.3 oz. Chinook whole hops (13.1% alpha), 90 minute boil
  • 0.65 oz. CTZ hop pellets (15.8% alpha), 45 minute boil
  • 0.6 oz. Simcoe hop pellets (12.7% alpha), 30 minute boil
  • 1.35 oz. Centennial hop pellets (8.1% alpha), 15 minute whirlpool
  • 0.6 oz. Simcoe hop pellets (12.7% alpha), 15 minute whirlpool
  • 1 pkg. Safale American ale yeast (US-05)
  • 2 oz. Columbus (Tomahawk) hop pellets (14.2% alpha), dry hop in keg
  • 1 oz. Centennial hop pellets (8.1% alpha), dry hop in keg
  • 1 oz. Simcoe hop pellets (12.7% alpha), dry hop in keg

Target Parameters

  • 1.071 s.g., 1.010 f.g., 8.2% abv, 276 IBU (100+ IBU at best!), 5 SRM
  • Claremont tap water with Campden tablet to remove chloramine
  • Infusion mash at 150° for 60 minutes, with pour-over sparge

Procedure

  • I mashed in with 3.75 gallons of water at 159° and 4 mL of 88% lactic acid, to hit a mash temperature of 150° for 60 minutes, with recirculation after 10 minutes. Then, I heated to 168° and held there for 10 minutes. Then, I removed the grain basket, and sparged slowly with 1.6 gallons of hot water.
  • After the mash, I collected 4.75 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.054, for 79% mash efficiency. Sparging seems to be the ticket for great efficiency in these high gravity small batch mashes.
  • I brought the runnings to a boil, adding hops and finings per the recipe.
  • After a total of 90 minutes on the boil, I chilled down to 70°, transferred to the fermenter, and pitched the yeast.
  • I brewed this beer on 10 April 2021. Starting gravity was 1.072, right about where I wanted it! I fermented at 66°.
  • I kegged the beer on 23 April 2021, and dry hopped with a sack of hops in the keg. There was quite a bit of trub on the bottom of the fermenter!
  • Final gravity was 1.015, for 7.6% abv.

Tasting

  • Appearance
    • The beer has a rich gold color, with a slight chill haze. It took about two weeks in the keg before it dropped fairly clear. There is a low ivory head that is fine and fairly persistent.
  • Aroma
    • The aroma is hop forward, with an initial citrus and very slight tropical fruit character, and a light caramel malt quality. Fermentation profile is pretty clean.
  • Flavor
    • The flavor is very hop forward, with a high level of bitterness (no surprises). The bitterness has a citrus pith character, with slight grapefruit, and fairly clean. The bitterness is not quite as complex as I might like. The malt character is fairly low, with a slight doughy character.
  • Mouthfeel
    • The beer has a medium body with moderate carbonation, and an extended bitter finish that isn’t overly dry. I feel that the body could be a bit lighter on this one.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • The beer is okay, but the hops feel a bit one-note. This is a surprise, given the quantity of hops involved as well as the dry hop in the keg. I might switch in some more aggressively tropical hops next time, to make this a bit more interesting. I would also mash this at a slightly lower temperature, to dry out the final product a bit. Finally, I would adjust my dry hop strategy–this quantity of hops really generates a lot of detritus, even after sitting for awhile, and I think it would be better served by dry hopping in the fermenter with a careful transfer under CO2.
  • Overall
    • 5/10