Like many homebrewers, my favorite style when I first started brewing was the American IPA (AIPA), and I’ve probably brewed more of them than any other style. But where once they were every third batch, nowadays I might only brew them once or twice a year.
Despite spending less and less time making AIPAs, I think I’ve gotten better at brewing the style. I’m sure that has everything to do with brewing other styles of beer that require a bit more finesse. More balance.
And, to have an adult moment, AIPAs are not the hardest beer style to brew. They are very, very forgiving and the amount of hops that go into what is now considered a standard AIPA will cover up a lot of flaws. Sure, late additions and dry-hopping won’t cover up a sanitation issue, but they will cover some obvious malt imbalance issues that might leave your beer too sweet or without a bready, toasty backbone at all.
So, if you have the AIPA dialed-in, congrats. I don’t want to diminish that accomplishment. Brewing a great beer is hard and that is a great desert island choice. But the brewing of this style of beer has become impractical beast created with blunt instruments.
The inspiration for this AIPA was a Citra APA that I made last year. I love the citra hop, but it has become increasingly hard to get. It is a high alpha, low cohumulone hop that throws amazing mango and pineapple aromas and flavors.
I loved the American pale ale (APA) I made with it, but the final beer straddled the line between an APA and an AIPA. I figured I would go ahead and make a full-fledged AIPA from the hop the next time it came my way. And I did.
This one is a strange in that the malt bill is really just a double pale ale. I wanted to see if an AIPA could work without crystal malts, but it wasn’t that big of a test, since Imperial IPAs use a similar malt bill. After having a few commercial, and homebrewed, examples of AIPAs lately where the beers ran over into Amber territory (which I love, as well, but that is a different style), I wanted to reign it in and make a clean, hoppy beer that wasn’t too heavy and sweet.
I was very happy with the final beer. As the years go by, I’m less interested in deeply bitter beers that only leave you wanting something different next for the next round. My citra AIPA left me thirsty for more, not full of the palate fatigue that I get from commercial examples that seem like they were designed around a dare.
Citra Ass Down – American IPA
Starting Gravity: 1.071 (12/26/11) 68º F -> 72º F
Final Gravity: 1.014 (1/13/12)
7.6% alcohol (by volume)
Apparent Attenuation: 79.3%
Real Attenuation: 65%
Mash (65 minutes ~152º)
12.00 lbs Maris Otter (2-row)
1.0 lb Victory Malt
0.75 lb Munich Malt
0.75 lb Wheat Malt
1.20 oz. Magnum Leaves 14.0% AA (60 min.)
1.0 oz. Citra Pellets 13.4% AA (10 min)
1.0 oz. Amarillo Pellets 8.2% AA (10 min)
1.0 oz. Citra Pellets 13.4% AA (0 min.)
2.0 oz. Citra Pellets 13.4% AA (Dry Hop) on 1/1/12
1 tablet Whirlfloc (Boil – 15 min.)
½ tsp Brewer’s Choice Wyeast Nutrient Blend (Boil – 10 min.)
Primary (68º F)
Safale 05 – 1 packet (No Starter – Rehydrated in 90° wort)