Saturday, July 12, 2014

#25 Session IPA - Recipe

Recipe     -     Brewday     -     Tasting

This recipe is kind of a mash-up of three separate ideas that I'm hoping fit together, so I'll explain each of them separately.  With challenges at each of the three staples that anchor the fabric of a beer--yeast, malt, and hops--it seems like the perfect beer to brew as I listen to the new Jack White album.

First off, this will be my first beer with Conan!  No not the comedian, the barbarian, or even the librarian.  Conan is an English yeast strain brought to America by Greg Noonan (whose book I'm currently reading) at the Vermont Pub & Brewery, that has since become famous as the house yeast for his former apprentice John Kimmich at The Alchemist.  His double IPA Heady Topper is supposed to be the best thing ever according to all of the beer rating websites (I haven't had it myself), so it sounds like there's been a huge demand among homebrewers for the yeast.

Conan is not available through the major yeast labs Wyeast or White Labs, but GigaYeast, a new yeast company in the bay area, has recently begun selling to homebrewers.  I picked up a package for a double IPA (coming up next!), so as I've done in the past for big expensive beers, this one is a trial run and a glorified yeast starter.  As yeast grows best in low gravity wort (around 1.040 OG) and low gravity beer require less yeast, this will obviously be a low alcohol beer.  I've been wanting to do a session IPA beer for awhile--my roommate Chris thoroughly endorses this--and the Conan yeast should go well with that.

But when I say "session IPA," I mean actually English "session" strength.  Not a ~5% ABV hoppy pale ale, but a 3-4% beer that still tastes like a west coast IPA.  It's a big challenge to maintain enough malt flavor and body to keep the beer interesting, but if the English can do it then I bloody well can.  Michael Tonsmeire shared some great advice on making this happen in a BeerSmith podcast, and you can also find the highlights distilled on his blog.  Some important points include using using high character, low attenuating yeast, more specialty malt, a higher mash temp, and less bittering hops.  I started with his grain bill from that post, but scaled back the Vienna malt in favor of a bit of Victory malt and flaked oats.  After my experiments with the dark mild last winter, I was comfortable upping the number of specialty malts without things getting muddled.  I think in an IPA the biggest concern is usually keeping the malts out of the way of the hops, but the small addition of oats should smooth out the malt character so it's just a textured backdrop for the hops rather than a distraction.

But what of those hops?  I assure you, there will be hops.  One of my favorite IPAs is Topcutter from Bale Breaker out in Yakima, and they were nice enough to share their hop schedule.  The recipe is loaded with Simcoe, Citra, and Mosaic and I took this as my starting point.  I like the idea of trying out Mosaic as I've never used it and it's supposed to taste like Jesus in flower form, so I'm going to punch those up a notch and adjust the others based on what I have on hand.  But just as important as the variety of hops is when they're added.  It's common in bigger IPAs to add the bulk of the hops later: Topcutter has a large portion of the hops added at flameout and in the hopback, while Kimmich goes so far as to say he doesn't boil any hops in his brew kettle.  But this is not a big IPA.  In a Brew Strong podcast, Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer discussed how hop oils themselves can add to a beer's mouthfeel which will be important in a lighter beer like this.  Ballast Point brewmaster Colby Chandler (who brews another of my favorite IPAs, Sculpin) has also said that midboil additions are critical in session IPAs, and I see how the oily hoppiness could fit nicely.  Ideally I would like to increase the 20 min hops just a bit, but that also adds IBUs.  With the Simcoe hops at 14.4% α-acid, it doesn't take much to reach the target 40 IBU!

Whew, didn't know I would need so many words for such a small beer.  So without further ado, here's the recipe:

Session IPA
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.25 gal
Estimated ABV: 3.9 %
Estimated OG: 1.038 SG
Estimated FG: 1.008 SG
Estimated Color: 6.1 SRM
Estimated IBU: 41.0 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 65.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 77.4 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amt       Name                                       %/IBU
4 lbs     Pale Malt (2 Row) US (1.8 SRM)             47.1 %
3 lbs     Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM)                      35.3 %
8.0 oz    Carastan - 30-37L (35.0 SRM)               5.9 %
8.0 oz    Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM)                     5.9 %
8.0 oz    Victory Malt (25.0 SRM)                    5.9 %
1.00 oz   Simcoe [14.40 %] - Boil 20.0 min           28.5 IBUs
0.50 oz   Mosaic (HBC 369) [11.50 %] - Boil 20.0 min 12.5 IBUs
1.00 oz   Amarillo [10.60 %] - Boil 0.0 min          0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz   Mosaic (HBC 369) [12.25 %] - Boil 0.0 min  0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz   Simcoe [14.40 %] - Boil 0.0 min            0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg   Vermont Ale (Conan) (GigaYeast)            -
1.50 oz   Mosaic (HBC 369) [12.25 %] - Dry Hop 5.0   0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz   Citra [12.00 %] - Dry Hop 5.0 Days         0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz   Simcoe [14.40 %] - Dry Hop 5.0 Days        0.0 IBUs

Mash Schedule: Single infusion @154F, 1.5qt/lb, 1.25g mash out, single batch sparge
Total Grain Weight: 8 lbs 8.0 oz
Estimated Cost: $36.90

1 comment:

  1. Awesome Beer it truly is a top cutter IPA. besides lots of sediment and I mean a ton of it,sure wishing for a conical fermenter now. My hats off to you sir, thank you thank you I will save a lot of money making this instead of a 10 dollar 6 pack. Amazing clone


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