Beer Tasting: Seven Seas Session IPA

After 5 weeks in the keg, it’s a good time to formally taste my latest session IPA! Overall, it seems like I’m about one iteration away from the “house recipe.”

Seven Seas Session IPA

  • The Basics
    • Original gravity = 1.052; final gravity = 1.018; abv = 4.3%; estimated IBU = 50.
  • Appearance
    • Very persistent ivory head with a little bit of lacing on the glass; it starts quite high, and lowers a bit as I drink the beer, but never disappears. The beer itself is a rich gold with a slight haze.
  • Aroma
    • A strong but not overwhelming pine and grapefruit dominate. I don’t pick up much in the way of malt (except towards the end of the glass, when the beer is warmed up a notch).
  • Flavor
    • The malt is in the background on this one, but definitely there. It supports a prominent bitterness from the hops, which is quite pleasant at the forefront but fades perhaps a little more harshly on the finish than I care for. In other words, the bitterness sticks around.
  • Mouthfeel
    • The body is just about perfect on this one; moderate, but not overly thin or overly chewy. Carbonation is moderate and on-point for an IPA.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • Yes, with only slight modification. The appearance, aroma, and mouthfeel are exactly perfect for me, so I wouldn’t change the malt bill, mashing schedule, yeast, or dry-hopping. The only minor issue that I would care to fix would be to tone back the nature of the bitterness a bit; something a little more subtle might be nice. It’s not bad in this way (as discussed at my homebrew club when I brought it), just slightly outside my personal preference. So, I would probably change up the bittering hops for this recipe; dial them back just a touch, and aim for something with a smoother bittering profile (?Cascade). The beer is definitely a big step closer to my house session IPA recipe. Once I get the bittering hops figured out, I think the recipe is set!
  • Overall rating
    • 7/10

On Falconer’s Flight 7C’s: I quite like this hop blend. It basically says “West Coast IPA.” And despite the slight shortcomings for the bittering profile in this particular recipe, I think it would be fine for bittering in a bigger beer (i.e., a standard strength IPA). It’s just a _touch_ much for a session IPA.

Seven Seas Session IPA Update

After 5 days in the primary fermenter, the Seven Seas Session IPA appeared to have finished up fermenting. So, I raised the temperature from 65°to 70°, to help things clean up a bit. After a total of eight days in the primary fermenter, I kegged the beer and added the dry hops (August 30, 2015). The yield was a full five gallons. Final gravity was 1.018, down from 1.052, which works out to 4.3% abv. The beer has a great flavor, with a definite hops character. Both the level of bitterness (higher than my last session IPA) as well as the body (more full than the last version) are greatly improved. I plan to let this dry-hop at room temperature for at least a week before carbonating and cold-conditioning.

As an experiment for my upcoming brew (titled “Packrat Porter”), I’m washing and reusing my yeast. More on that in the next post!

Seven Seas Session IPA

My first real attempt at a session IPA was adequate, but needed some work. So, I’ve tuned up the malt and hop bill a bit in order to bolster the brew all around. The result: Seven Seas Session IPA. The name is a bad pun on the hops variety, Falconer’s Flight 7C’s.

Seven Seas Session IPA

  • 7.5 lbs. 2-row malt (Great Western Malting Co.)
  • 1.25 lbs. 10° Munich malt
  • 1 lb. white wheat malt
  • 0.5 lb. crystal 60° malt
  • 0.5 lb. crystal 15° malt
  • 1 tbs. 5.2 pH stabilizer
  • 1 oz. Falconer’s Flight 7C’s Blend hops pellets (10.3% alpha, 4.9% beta), 15 minute boil
  • 2 oz. Falconer’s Flight 7C’s Blend hops pellets (10.3% alpha, 4.9% beta), 10 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Falconer’s Flight 7C’s Blend hops pellets (10.3% alpha, 4.9% beta), 5 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet (10 minute boil)
  • 1 pkg. English Ale Yeast (WLP002), prepared in 1 liter starter, 12 hours in advance
  • 2 oz. Falconer’s Flight 7C’s Blend hops pellets (10.3% alpha, 4.9% beta), 14 day dry hop
  • I mashed in with 16.75 quarts of water at 170°, to hit a mash temperature of 159.7° at the start. After 10 minutes, the mash was at 159.5°, 157.6° after 45 minutes, and 154.5° after 60 minutes.
  • I added 0.8 gallons of water at 210°, which raised the mash temperature to 160°. I let it sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected 3.25 gallons of wort. Then, I added 3.8 gallons of water at 185°, which raised the mash temperature to 168°. This was then vorlaufed after 10 minutes at the remainder of the wort was collected.
  • All together, I collected 6.75 gallons of wort at a gravity of 1.043. This works out to 74% efficiency.
  • I brought the wort to a boil, and added the first ounce of hops at 45 minutes, two more ounces at 50 minutes (along with a Whirlfloc tablet), and the final ounce of hops at 55 minutes.
  • After 60 minutes of boiling, I turned off the flame and chilled the wort as much as I could. Given the high temperatures (and the warm-ish tap water), I was only able to chill down to about 90°. I transferred the wort into the fermenter, and then set it to chill in the fermentation chamber. Once I reached 70° (after about 3 hours), I pitched the yeast. I started fermentation at 68°, and will drop the temperature to 65° once visible fermentation was under way (persumably within a few hours).
  • In the end, I had 5.25 gallons of wort at a gravity of 1.052. I plan to ferment for at least 10 days before dry hopping.