Black IPA Homebrew – Moor is Better

The Black IPA……. Here’s a beer that isn’t a style yet that doesn’t have a name that anyone can agree upon. So, like all imaginary things, I had to make one.

For the purposes of this email, I’ll call it a Black IPA because that makes the most sense in casual conversation. There is no official style guideline for this beer because it hasn’t been declared a style. Some just think it is a hoppy porter or American stout, and they probably have a point. The guys in the Pacific Northwest are claiming to have brewed it first, but most evidence points to it being first brewed by Greg Noonan up in Vermont (although I think the west coast obviously gets the credit for tweaking and perfecting it.  Whatever “it” is….)

And the name. Well, the beer is a strange hybrid (on paper) of a stout and an American IPA. Some are calling it a Black IPA, although it is only part IPA and really owes nothing to the “India” part of India Pale Ale. Some are calling it a Cascadian Black Ale (referring to the mountains in the NW, not the hops) and some favor American Dark Ale (which I like the best, but it isn’t all that descriptive.)

So, it is not a style, it doesn’t have a name, and there’s no rules as to how to make one of these things.  So I did what I always do: I made shit up.

I wanted it to be a clear combination of a roasty stout and a hoppy IPA. I could have just bought some Sinamar (which is just a dark liquid made from Carafa malt you can add to beers while imparting only a small amount of a roasted or burnt character) and dumped it in there, but then it would have just been an IPA that was black in color.  So I used roasted barley for the, duh, roast and some Carafa III, which is a debittered black malt, to mostly impart color. I, also, hopped this one up quite a bit. I used a lot of Amarillo (apricot, mango) and Simcoe (pine, grapefruit) hops at the end of the boil and dry-hopping.

I really like this homebrew, but it took me a few moments to get my head around it. I dig the way the pine seems to roll with the roast. I’d recommend a commercial version, but I really haven’t had one that I loved. I think the 21st Amendment’s Back in Black is very good, but nothing else comes to mind.

So there you go. This one is called “Moor is Better”.

Moor is Better – (Black IPA)

Starting Gravity: 1.054 (7/22/10)
Secondary Gravity: 1.011 (8/5/10)
Final Gravity:  1.011 (8/13/10) Days
5.7% alcohol (by volume)
Apparent Attenuation: 78.9%
Real Attenuation: 64.6%

Mash (65 minutes ~152º)
12 lb American 2-Row
0.75 lb Crystal 60L
0.75 lb Carafa III
0.50 lb Wheat Malt
0.50 lb Roasted Barley

Boil (60 min)
2.0 oz/ 56.7 grams Chinook (11.4% AA) Pellet Hops (60 min)
1.0 oz/ 28 grams Amarillo (7.2% AA) Pellet Hops (10 min)
1.0 oz/ 28 grams Simcoe (12.7% AA) Pellet Hops (10 min)
1.0 oz/ 28 grams Amarillo (7.2% AA) Pellet Hops (1 min)
1.0 oz/ 28 grams Simcoe (12.7% AA) Pellet Hops (1 min)
1.0 oz/ 28 grams Amarillo (7.2% AA) Pellet Hops (Dry Hop) (7/29/10)
1.0 oz/ 28 grams Simcoe (12.7% AA) Pellet Hops (Dry Hop) (7/29/10)

Primary (68º F)
Yeast – Safale-05


6 Responses to “Black IPA Homebrew – Moor is Better”

  • Clay Says:

    I had the good fortune of trying Stone Brewery’s rendition of a black IPA. It’s The “sublimely Self-Righteous”. I liked it well enough but at $9 for a double deuce it will not be on my daily list. There was a thread going around on the LinkedIn Homebreew group a while back on naming this beast. Kinda spiraled out of control. Like you I think Black IPA is just fine for discussion. I might give your recipe a shot. Would you spend another day brewing it?

  • BarlowBrewing Says:

    Hey Clay,

    I would definitely brew it again. It was great the way it was, but I might increase the roasted barley by 4 ounces (for obvious reasons), and mash it 2 degrees higher for a little more mouthfeel.

  • Clay Says:

    Sounds good. Will give it a try. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Thanks. Clay

  • The Best Music of 2010 and, Of Course, Their Beer Pairings - Barlow Brewing | Barlow Brewing Says:

    […] but the one I most enjoyed was the 21st Amendment’s Back in Back. (Although I did enjoy my own Black IPA homebrew, in all humility, and the Brew Ridge Trail Collaboration BIPA). It was smooth, crisp, roasty and in […]

  • Daniel Pipitone Says:

    Sorry to bump an old thread, but this recipe looks fantastic. Was this an 8 gallon batch?


  • BarlowBrewing Says:

    Hey Daniel,

    This was only a 6 gallon batch. My efficiencies aren’t amazing, so you might want to tweak the recipe for your system.

    Clay Grogan (above) actually riffed on this recipe, with some Willamette, and he won a Silver Medal at the National Homebrew Competition this year. He made it better. Congrats Clay!

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