Early August brewing -> Labor Day bottling party with friends -> obligatory caps:
A few weeks later:
I’ve had a cyclic love-hate relationship with IPAs over the years.
While I love so many bitter foods (nettles, beetroot, sorrel, tonic water, chicory, escarole, campari), many IPAs including broadly well-regarded ones like Pliny the Elder are a complete turnoff to me. After a few years and a disappointing visit to the Oregon Brewers Festival, I’ve figured out that I don’t like the heavy bittering hops, astringent hops, or the piney Northwestern hops (especially Cascade and Columbus), but can enjoy the smell and a range of the more fruity, dank, or spicy hops. And while I like many session beers, I generally like my IPAs balanced with plenty of alcohol and malt, pushing me into the Double IPA / Imperial IPA territory.
So I set out to make an IPA based around just the hops I liked most from some old Mikkeller single-hop beer tasting parties. Maybe I’ll call it “The NO.C. IPA” (or “The Noh Sees”?… depending what kind of California in-joke I want to make). No Cascade, Columbus, Centennial, or Citra hops. No Crystal malt. Just:
- Pale malt (two-row barley), plus a little rye and wheat
- Warrior hops for bittering
- Amarillo for flavor, and aroma (dry hop)
- Sorachi Ace (I had to mail order them) for flavor and aroma (dry hop)
- A small amount of Simcoe in the dry hop, but trying to keep it subtle
- A neutral American ale yeast (US-05)
I brewed it strong, ending up around 8% ABV. After the usual brewing processes (including fermenting in the cool garage around 60F, four weeks in a primary with no secondary, dry hopping 5 days before the end, cold crashing, and bottling), I let it sit for a few weeks.
And I’m happy with how this turned out. I’d give it an (A-) and would pay real money for this beer.
Notes I wrote down when tasting it early, before bottling:
Orange/lemon/tangerine. No pine(!) — good. Subtle simcoe. Mellow fruity/oily hop, slight tropical. No obvious NW. Still a sharp bitter hoppy aftertaste (maybe from the 75min boil).
And then a few week later, after conditioning and carbonating:
Some grapefruit/lemon smell but more tangerine/orange. No bitterness on nose. Very faint musk (Simcoe). A little bite/spicy on the roof of the mouth. No longer any lingering bitterness or aftertaste.