I made an American IPA for the Starr Hill competition and, in the interest of sharing my recipes and current processes, here is the quick story:
A local brewery was throwing a IPA homebrew competition and I decided that it was and good time to play around with a new hop and yeast. I had found some Idaho 7 hops, which it seems has subsequently been renamed 007: The Golden Hop, and I wanted to play with them as they reportedly had a orange/apricot/herbal flavor with hints of black tea.
Coincidentally, I had seen a tweet from Nathan Smith about a week before my brew day where he mentioned that he was enjoying a new IPA from Heretic Brewing:
— Nathan Smith (@nathanhomebrew) April 24, 2016
Luck was not on my side as I had come across some Cashmere hops a few months before from PH Farms and had made a nice APA with them, but had none left for this brew. After a quick side conversation with Nathan, he mentioned that Cashmere is its own beast in terms of flavor components, but that it is a cross between Northern Brewer and Cascade, so using a mix of those hops might be worth a try.
In the interest of deviating from my standard IPA malt bill, which is usually a 50/50 base malt mix of American 2-row and Maris Otter, I followed the Heretic model and swung towards more American 2-row and added some crystal 40L.
The new yeast was the Wyeast London Ale III, which wasn’t a new yeast to me, but it was the first time I was planning to use it in an IPA rather than an English ale. The commercial and homebrewed London III IPAs that I had tried, the yeast did an extremely good job of accentuating the malts in the beer, but it can come at the cost of a beer that never truly clarifies and stays murky in the tradition of the New England IPA. (Which isn’t to say that this yeast strain is the primary reason that those IPAs remain cloudy and, as I call them, “some pulp.”)
The brew day was straightforward and easy. There’s little excitement in IPA brew days. (The process and recipe are at the bottom of this post.)
In terms of hop contribution to the beer, this one ended up very mild. Despite adding 6 ounces of the Idaho 7/Golden Hop from whirlpool to dry hop, there were only a small amounts of the citrus fruits I expected and a light background of the black tea. Perhaps I got an abused bunch of the hops, and as homebrewers we always get the worst hand-me-downs, but I was underwhelmed by their flavor and aroma presence. If you are wondering if this might be the next hot IPA hop, I’ll tell you “no” from this first experience. I think it would be great in a Belgian pale ale, a saison, or a pale lager base. I may have named this Hoppy McHopface, but it was not, indeed, hoppy.
And from these pictures you can tell that tell that the London III did not leave behind a clear beer. I did not expect it to be a pretty glass, but I added whirlfloc to the boil, Clarity Ferm to the ferment, and I cold conditioned the beer at packaging. So I gave the beer every chance to achieve some sort of clarity, but it was having none of that.
More Like Murky McMurkface
Despite the murkiness, the yeast did its job in terms of giving me a soft and more rounded beer, although it didn’t drag the malts to the forefront like it has done in the past for English ales.
Brew Day: 5/8/16
12 lbs 2-Row
2 lbs Maris Otter
0.5 lb Crystal 40L
Mash: 150F for 60 minutes
1.0 oz Simcoe pellets 12.9% AA (60 min)
0.5 oz Cascade pellets 6.9% AA (10 min)
0.5 oz N. Brewer pellets 9.6% AA (10 min)
1.0 oz Idaho 7 pellets 14.1% AA (10 min)
0.5 oz Cascade pellets 6.9% AA (whirlpool)
0.5 oz N. Brewer pellets 9.6% AA (whirlpool)
3.0 oz Idaho 7 pellets 14.1% AA (whirlpool)
60 minute boil
Wyeast yeast nutrient (15)
15 minute whirlpool at 170F
Ferment: 68F with Wyeast 1318: London III (2000ml Starter made)
0.5 oz Cascade pellets 6.9% AA (dry hop)*
0.5 oz N. Brewer pellets 9.6% AA (dry hop)*
3.0 oz Idaho 7 pellets 14.1% AA (dry hop)*
*Mixed together, then added as two different dry hop charges