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India Pale Ale: Centennial, Galaxy

September 16, 2013
Delicious IPA.  Goes great with pizza!

Delicious IPA. Goes great with pizza!

I love hops, and a good number of my friends are right there with me.  Given those two facts, I try to always have at least one (of my two) tap(s) pouring a hoppy beer.  With the right equipment setup, and following the right processes, I can also turn around a hoppy brew in under 3 weeks.  They’re always deliciously fresh and bright this way.

It was time for a fresh batch, so I dug into my hop store and decided to put together a nice brew to share with my pals.  The recipe is below, but I’m also going to indulge myself a bit and explain my (still evolving) approach to hop-focused brews.

The regularity with which I brew hoppy beers has given me a lot of time to consider my recipes, and made me more deliberate in the formulation stage.  First off, I’ve kind of come up with my own definition of what differentiates an APA, IPA and DIPA.  This is by no means a textbook definition, it’s just how I look at it.  Take with a grain of salt:

  • APA: 5 – 5.99% ABV, usually 40-50 IBU
  • IPA: 6 – 7.99% ABV, usually 60-80 IBU
  • DIPA: 8 – 10% ABV, usually 80+ IBU
  • Above or below, I guess it would be a “Session APA” on the low end, and a “Triple IPA” on the high end.  Although I’ve never brewed anything of the latter, and probably won’t.

Aside from ABV definitions, I’ve also found that there are a lot of qualities of “traditional” hoppy beers that I don’t personally care for.  My two cents:

  • I don’t like overly, aggressive bitterness.  With apologies to Columbus and other (great) hops, their high levels of cohumulone create a lingering, unpleasant bitterness that requires a true palate-cleanser to move on from.
    • Certainly other factors, like a residual sugar to IBU ratio play here as well, but IMO hops like Warrior are a great way to achieve a clean, subtle, pleasant bitterness that fits the style, but doesn’t trash your palate.
  • I also don’t really like a lot of crystal/caramel malt in my hoppy beers.  In my opinion, a lot of the IPA’s on the market are almost an Amber.  While they got me interested in beer in the first place, and I still enjoy them, the IPA’s from Dogfish Head, Stone, Oskar Blues and others all feature what I perceive to be a lot of ‘medium’ darkness crystal malt.  
  • I like them dry.  I don’t want a lot of residual sweetness.  My hoppy beers, regardless of strength, usually hover around 1.010 in terminal gravity.
  • There is such a thing as too much hops.  I’ve learned a few lessons over the years with going overboard with the hops, and not just in terms of bitterness.  I want the flavor and aroma of the hops to be the focal point, but not the only point.  Maybe its just the way my palate reacts, but if there’s too much going on with the hops, I can’t taste the malt.  I want to taste all of it – malt, hops and yeast, just not necessarily in equal proportions.

This time around, I threw together a pretty simply recipe – obviously following my self imposed guidelines :-).  Using Centennial and Galaxy hops, I’m aiming for a beer that is bright, fruity, a little bit resinous and piney.  Crisp, clear and light.

Here’s the recipe:

Centennial-Galaxy IPA
Brewed: 8/18/13
Size: 5.5 gal

Efficiency: 79% (measured)
Attenuation: 80% (estimated)
Original Gravity: 1.062 (measured)
Terminal Gravity: 1.012 (measured)

Color: 5.26 SRM
Alcohol: 6.52%
IBU: 83.1

Water (all in ppm):

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

Ingredients:

  • 10.25 lb Pilsen Malt
  • 1 lb Torrefied Wheat
  • 8 oz C-10
  • 1.5 oz C-120
  • 8 oz clear candi sugar (added with 15 min to go in boil)
  • 1.4 oz Warrior Hops, boiled 70 minutes
  • 1 oz Centennial, boiled 5 minutes
  • 1.25 oz Galaxy, “whirlpool”
  • 1.25 oz Centennial, “whirlpool”
  • US-05 American Ale Yeast
  • 1 oz Centennial, dry hop – 3 days
  • 2 oz Galaxy, dry hop – 3 days

Schedule:

Mash @ 150
Mash out @ 170F
Batch sparge – water alkalinity adjusted

Listening:

-Podcasts

Notes:

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