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Table IPA

June 20, 2013

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I read a good article the other day highlighting the merits of flavorful, but low gravity beers.  It does seem like as long as craft brewing has been a thing, we’ve been obsessed with bigger, bolder, rarer (ingredients or beers), etc.

There’s something to be said for a beer that is succinct, accessible and purposeful.  Maybe even moreso for the (commercial) brewers out there who are brave enough to put their brand behind something like that.

As the air has warmed and the days grown long, I found myself wanting a beer that has everything my favorite hop-forward brews do, but with a light and refreshing body.  I set out to brew a table (or session) beer with the bitterness, flavor profile and deliciousness of my favorite IPA’s.

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I settled on a fairly simple grist of Pearl 2-row, a touch of crystal malt and some oats to give the body a slight boost.  Bittered with pungent Apollo hops and flavored with Apollo, Centennial and Galaxy.  I also added the juice and zest of a pair of ojai pixie tangerines, which I happened upon at Wegman’s.

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As of this writing, I’ve kegged and had a few weeks to acquaint myself with this brew.  It’s extremely hop-forward, fairly bitter, but very tasty and aromatic.  It is just right for this place and time.  I only wish I’d made more of it…

Here’s the recipe:

Table IPA
Brewed: 5/22/13
Size: 6 gal

Efficiency: 79% (measured)
Attenuation: 72% (estimated)
Original Gravity: 1.038 (measured)
Terminal Gravity: 1.011 (estimated)

Color: 4.5 SRM
Alcohol: 3.58%
IBU: 38

Water (all in ppm):

Ca: 40 Mg: 10 Na: 9 SO₄: 72 Cl: 50 HCO₃: 65

Ingredients:

  • 3.75 lb Pilsen Malt
  • 3.75 lb Pearl Pale Ale Malt
  • 8 oz Flaked Oats
  • 3 oz Crystal 20L
  • 0.66 oz Apollo (18% AA) – boiled 60 minutes
  • 0.75 oz Galaxy – Whirlpool
  • 1.00 oz Apollo – Whirlpool
  • 1.00 oz Centennial – Whirlpool
  • Juice and zest, 2 ojai pixie tangerines – Whirlpool
  • 0.5 oz Galaxy – Dry Hop, 3 days
  • 1.5 oz Apollo – Dry Hop, 3 days
  • 1.5 oz Centennial – Dry Hop, 3 days
  • US-05, Rehydrated @ 68

Schedule:

Mash @ 151
Mash out @ 170F
Batch sparge – water alkalinity adjusted

Listening:

Podcasts

Notes:

  • 5/22: Brewed in the afternoon, by myself.  Occasionally, my job requires that I stay up all night for software releases.  I don’t mind, it doesn’t throw my schedule off too much and it gives me some additional daytime to do the things I like to do outside of work (read: brew).
  • Easy brewday.  Monitored the pH pretty carefully towards the end of the sparge.  I didn’t have to make any additions, but was weary of tannin extraction.  A beer this low in gravity seems it would be more likely to let any technical flaws show.
  • Chilled to 70, which was about as low as I could get it, pitched a rehydrated pack of US-05 and left at 66 ambient to ferment.  Good activity in 18 hours.
  • 5/29: Fermentation pretty well wrapped up.  Giving a few more days for a diacetyl rest.
  • 6/2: Chilled to 45, added dry hops in weighted hop sock
  • 6/5: removed, discarded dry hops
  • 6/6: racked to a clean, CO2-purged keg and 4 22oz bottles.  Set the keg at 45 degrees and 30 PSI to carb.
  • 6/7: backed PSI down to 18
  • 6/8: PSI to 7 (my serving pressure).  Still pretty cloudy, but really nice, expecting good things
  • Final tasting notes: Pour is straw colored with a pillowy white head (note to self – I’m getting good at force carbing).  Pungent aroma of citrus fruit and earthiness.  Strawberry was suggested to me – I don’t get that, but regardless – really nice nose.  Firm but not overpowering bitterness.  Coats the tongue but doesn’t overwhelm or steal focus; fades fairly quickly.  Bitterness probably my favorite aspect – it enhances the malt flavors notes nicely; no bite.  Taste starts as a nice biscuity malt that quickly gives way to complex hops – grapefruit, earth, slight pine and subtle dankness.  The oats and tangerines are missing, but they were in fairly low quantities and I think blend in – esp the tangerine, which I think is complementary to the hops and don’t stand out on their own.
  • Overall: this is a really nice beer.  Perfect for this time of year and way too easy to drink.  Every glass I’ve poured has quickly disappeared from my glass leaving a sticky lacing.  I would absolutely brew this again, with the only tweak really to add the tangerine zest during the dry hop to allow it a bit more presence.  Could also tinker with other flavor/dry hops, but if it ain’t broke…
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