Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Brewing the Perfect IPA

Right so, I was writing this on the forum, and figured a nice post on hops and making a good IPA is in order. I'll post some references as well to back up my so called theories.
Right so, as brewers (I assume all of you who read this are brewing to some extent) enjoy a good hop-bomb every now and then, some more than others. I'm certainly no expert when it comes to big Hoppy beers, hell I've had some pretty dire ones (Dragon IPA was one of them, not so much a hop issues though).
First some reference guides to what I have been looking through for awhile:

The Mad Fermentationist - 11 tips for Making Better Hoppy Beer

Homebrew Talk Forum - Top 10 Tips for Making a Super Hoppy IPA

Mr Malty - The Secret to big Hop Aroma and Flavour - the C Hops

Fresher Hops - Here in NZ we have an abundance of fresh citrussy zesty hops. Fresh Vacuum sealed hops are key. Seal them, and put them in the freezer if you don't seal properly, frozen hops will last longer.

Experiment - Sure they might not all work out, but there are so many unique varieties outthere, especially in this country, so why not have a go, at least you'll knowwhat character it brings to the table. I haven't really done any SMaSH beers, but a few single hop beers here and there have given me an idea of what each of these hops bring to the table.

Late Hopping - Go big or go Home, no recipe is un-flawed as its all personal tastes, so the way I am beginning to brew hoppier beers is with big late additions, not necessarily for flavour additions, but big flameouts. for example Dark Storm 10min - 30g, Flameout - 60g. this is twice the amount of the Flavour addition. you'll get some bitterness from it, but it is minimal compared to the 60min bittering addition.

Dry-Hopping - My Thoughts on Dry-hopping, in particular for IPA's is go big or go home. Dark Storm had 80grams of Mosaic in there. It'll suck up some of your precious beer, but your flavour contribution and aroma will be better off for it. Aroma of something is one of the foremost component of tasting anything, so the how it smells is very important.

Keep it Simple - Keep your Malt bill simple, lots of small additions of thing will only make your beer muddled, and it won't mesh as well as it could do.

Caramel/Crystal Flavours - This is an interesting one, theres not really a correct way to do it, due to personal preference, but if you want a Dry IPA with plenty of hop punch, keep your Crystals Low (This is inline with style generally), if you like it Maltier and slightly sweeter, yo can add a little more, or add in another colouring of crystal.

So going back slightly, I was looking at some of the Stone Clone Recipes online, namely the Ruination IPA, it is suggested this is very close to the real thing, some even calling it cloned. But a beer being "Cloned" is all subjective, you look at a recipe that says it tastes like ruination, it has the same ingredients as ruination, but are the hop timings correct? Is the malt bill too dry? too Sweet? there's no real right answer here, as its all personal preference and individual taste.

But here is what I noted about this recipe in particular:
The bittering is high which makes sense, but the lack of big additions at flameout makes me wonder, and theres no mention of people making larger additions at flameout.
My thoughts are as follows, and this falls in line with stuff I've read suggesting, big late hop additions for aroma/flavour at flameout, which should in theory be increased from those additions made around the 10 min mark. I saw this recipe and it seems to fit with my flameout addition theories.

Now theres a 1.5oz centennial at flamout with an additional 0.5oz of chinook. 
The second part of this, is that another increase in hops should be used for dryhopping, to get the other flavours to pop and the aroma to jump out of the glass at you. so my suggestions if going 100% Centennial would be 3-3.5oz of Dryhop.
Again this is just personal taste/preference, but going forward I think it's time I look further i nto the schedules of these types of beers.

Primary1(Plastic): Promised Land NZ Pilsner (to be Kegged for Lagering Fri/Saturday)
Primary2(Plastic): {Nothing}
Primary3(Bretts/Sours): {Nothing}
Small Batch Carboy: {Nothing}
Secondary1(Wide Mouth Glass): Guts & Glory Flanders Red
Barrel: Hail Caesar Oud Bruin Ale
Bottled: Original Sin 100% Brettanomyces W/ Wai-iti / 100% Brettanomyces Saison /100% Brett Wild West IPA / Shadow Liberation(SJPORR) Porter /Black Sheep Yorkshire Brown
Keg1: Sons of Liberty: Unfinished Business
Keg2: Isolation El-Dorado Golden Ale
Keg3: {Nothing}
Next Beer to Brew: Back-up Plan III (WLP500)

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