Friday, March 27, 2015

#41 Amarillo-Simcoe-Centennial XPA - Recipe

Recipe     -     Brewday     -     Tasting

I found out the other day that my friend Judy has the exact same birthday as I do, so in anticipation of the event, my next beer will be her favorite style (and everybody's): IPA.  However I don't really need to have 5 gal of 7% beer beckoning from the tap everyday.  My plan is to scale this back just a bit--not quite to session IPA levels, but something like a pale ale with too many hops.  Because nobody is going to argue with that.  Now since this isn't strong enough to be an IPA, but compared to a pale ale has a little something extra, I think this beer could be called an XPA.  I'm not the first to brew something along these lines (3 Floyd's Alpha King, Drake's 1500) or use that name (Deschutes XPA, AleSmith X), but it has an X in the name and that automatically makes it cool.

The goal of this beer is to sum up my current thoughts on what an IPA should be: pale, dry. drinkable (or "chuggable" in my friend Steve's words), a perfect palette for hops to play on.  There's no reason it needs to be 9%--especially when you have to fight through malt sweetness--and I think the mid 5% range is right where I want it to be.  Pliny the Elder is a great example of the kind of malt base I'm looking for, but at 8%, the dry finish is more wizardry (and corn sugar) than a natural balance.  Those flavors could just as easily reside in a 5% package.  Clean American 2-row with just a touch of caramel and you're there.

Yeast is important, but I have to admit I haven't found a better yeast for IPA's then good ol' Chico.  I'd love to try some of the drier English strains, see if I can find one where the fruity esters complement the hops, but I don't have room for a split batch this time.  Maybe once my new brewing station is fully operational I'll have the capacity for some of these much needed experiments.

It's funny, but once this foundation is laid down, I feel like I could throw almost whatever hops on top and it would be a solid beer.  Maybe a classic 3 C's blend (à la Dale's or Universale)?  A southern hemisphere odyssey?  Experiment with something less famous like Ahtanum or Belma?  In due time I think all these are worth brewing, but this time I'm going to send Amarillo up to bat.  I've brewed several hop forward beers with it over the last year and I still have some left in my stockpile.  My previous attempts were okay, but I haven't quite hit the nail on the head; I haven't produced a beer that capitalizes on the smooth mango character while accenting it with a more piquant hop.  Simcoe is the obvious first choice, and for good reason, the two have pair beautifully in some of my favorite IPA's.  However, after my hoppy American wheat, I decided a touch of Centennial would add another sharp counterpoint to aid the Simcoe, and the lemony facet would slide in nicely alongside the Amarillo.  It's finally time to actually test that theory.

The amounts and timings I'm not real sure on, but on this batch I'll be debuting my new HopRocket, so that all goes out the window anyway.  I don't know what kind of  hop aroma/flavors to expect out of the hop back, so it will be a good experiment.  All 0 min. hops listed below will be placed in the hopback.

Amarillo-Simcoe-Centennial XPA
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.25 gal
Estimated ABV: 5.8 %
Estimated OG: 1.056 SG
Estimated FG: 1.012 SG
Estimated Color: 5.4 SRM
Estimated IBU: 57.3 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 65.00 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Amt        Name                                     %/IBU
12 lbs     Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)           96.0 %
8.0 oz     Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM)    4.0 %
2.00 oz    Amarillo [10.60 %] - Boil 60.0 min       43.0 IBUs
1.00 tsp   Yeast Nutrient (Boil 15.0 mins)          -
1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)        -
1.00 oz    Amarillo [10.60 %] - Boil 0.0 min        0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz    Simcoe [14.40 %] - Boil 0.0 min          0.0 IBUs
0.50 oz    Centennial [10.30 %] - Boil 0.0 min      0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg    American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056)         -
1.00 oz    Amarillo [10.60 %] - Dry Hop 5.0 Days    0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz    Simcoe [14.40 %] - Dry Hop 5.0 Days      0.0 IBUs
0.50 oz    Centennial [10.30 %] - Dry Hop 5.0 Days  0.0 IBUs

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion @150, No Mash Out, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 12 lbs 8.0 oz
Estimated Cost: $30.55

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