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

Ophidia IPA

I “needed” to brew another IPA, and was in the mood for something a bit lower in alcohol. The November 2014 issue of Brew Your Own magazine had a clone recipe for Suicide Squeeze IPA, from Fort George Brewery. It was a nice session-ish beer (4.7% abv), and the recipe called for stuff I had pretty much entirely on hand. With just a few minor modifications, my recipe was all set! The name for my personal take on this (Ophidia) refers to a scientific name for snakes, because the original Fort George product had a snake on the label for the can.

Ophidia IPA

  • 8 lbs. 3 oz. 2-row malt (California Select, Great Western Malting Co.)
  • 1 lb. Munich I malt (Weyermann)
  • 0.5 lb. caramel 40° malt (Briess)
  • 0.5 lb. flaked oats
  • 0.25 lb. Carafoam malt (Weyermann)
  • 0.45 oz. Warrior hop pellets (15% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Citra hop pellets (14.1% alpha), 5 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Mosaic hop pellets (11.3% alpha), 5 minute boil
  • 2 oz. Mosaic hop pellets (11.3% alpha), 5 minute steep
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • 1 tsp. Fermax yeast nutrient, 10 minute boil
  • 2 oz. Mosaic hop pellets (11.3% alpha), dry hop in keg
  • 1 oz. Citra hop pellets (14.1% alpha), dry hop in keg

Target Parameters

  • 156° mash, 45 minutes
  • 1.053 o.g., 1.019 f.g., 4.4% abv, 52 IBU, 6 SRM, 5.5 gallons into the fermenter


  • 24 hours in advance of brewing, I made a 1.5L starter. This is the second use for the culture–I set aside 0.55L for later use.
  • My water was 5.25 gallons of Claremont water mixed with 3 gallons of RO water and 5 g of gypsum. For the strike/first round of sparge water, I used 1.5 gallons of RO and 3.25 gallons of Claremont water, with the gypsum added directly into the mash tun. For the rest of the sparge water, I used 1.5 gallons of RO with 2 gallons of Claremont tap water.
  • I mashed in with 4.75 gallons of water 167°, to hit a mash temperature of 153°. This was a bit below my target, but I figure I’ll roll with it. I did only a 45 minute mash, before vorlaufing and collecting the first runnings.
  • I sparged with 3.5 gallons of water at 185°, to hit a mash temperature of 168° for the mash-out.
  • I collected 6.75 gallons of wort at a gravity of 1.044, for 77% efficiency.
  • I started the boil, and added the various ingredients per the schedule. After a 60 minute boil, I chilled the wort to 68° and pitched the yeast.
  • Starting gravity was 1.055, slightly above my target but not by too much.
  • I brewed this beer on February 6, 2017, and fermented at 66° for the first four days. Then, I removed it from the fermentation chamber (to make room for another beer), and fermented it at ambient room temperature with a heating pad beneath the carboy, to maintain ~68° in the fermenter.