Rye IPA

This is another post in our series on IPA variants. Today’s post is written by Denny Conn, longtime homebrewer of rye IPAs and co-author, along with Drew Beechum, of the upcoming book, “Experimental Brews” (2014, Voyageur). Links to other articles in this series are given at the end of the post. 

 

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Rye IPA brings the spicy “zing” of rye to an IPA grist, complememting the pale and crystal malts.

India Pale Ale (IPA) is arguably the most popular craft beer style in America today. For evidence, all you have to do is look at the proliferation of variations on IPA. After beginning as an English style, hoppier and stronger than their pale ale, American IPAs came into vogue with the introduction of Anchor Liberty in 1975. It was the first American IPA brewed since the end of Prohibition. As the years passed and taste buds acclimated to the hoppy bitterness and aromatic fragrance of Cascade hops, it seemed a race began to make IPA bigger and more varied. First came imperial IPA (sometimes referred to as double IPA), a short step away from American-style barleywine. In short order, we were introduced to Belgian IPA, black IPA, session IPA and others. Fortunately, in the midst of madness, there’s a sane variation . . . rye IPA.

Rye is a perfect ingredient to add to an IPA. Its spiciness complements the hops. The earthy flavor is a perfect foil to the pale and crystal malts used to brew an IPA and rye adds a nice full mouthfeel that balances the hoppy bitterness in IPA. In short, rye is an ingredient that belongs in IPA!

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Dry Stout (Repost)

[This is a repost of our dry stout article for St. Patrick’s Day. Recipes are in the list at the bottom of this post]

[This is the first in a three-part series on dry stout. Part 2 will be posted June 20th and part 3 will be posted June 21st.]

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As a homebrewer and beer drinker, I hope that the current resurgence of interest in session beers follows through to a full-fledged renaissance. My favorite session beer is Irish dry stout, exemplified on the commercial side by Guinness, Murphy’s and Beamish. Although low in alcohol and body, it is full of roasty goodness. Dry stout is a great style of beer for those who want lots of flavor, but also want to enjoy several beers before calling it a night.

Dry stout lacks the strength of a foreign export (or imperial) stout, the chewy body of an oatmeal stout and the sweetness of a sweet or milk stout. (In alcoholic beverages, “dry” means not sweet.) But dry stout is not about what is missing — it’s about the wonderful character from the darkly roasted grains, which give the beer a coffee-like flavor and aroma. Without the sweetness, body and alcohol of other stouts, the roasted grain character takes center stage. The key to brewing a great dry stout is to focus on getting the best dark grain flavor, with enough support from the other elements of the beer to round things out.

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Session IPA

This is part of a continuing series on IPA variants. So far, I’ve tackled black IPAs/Cascadian dark ales, Belgian IPAs, and wheat IPAs. See also the article on rye IPA, by Denny Conn. In addition, I wrote a whole series of articles on “regular” American-style IPAs, along with American pale ales and double IPAs. 

 

Founders

Founders All Day IPA. Not quite an IPA, but is it just a pale ale? (Also, it’s a tasty beer, so does the name matter?)

Beers with “IPA” in their name tend to sell well and commercial brewers are keen to have those three letters on their labels. One style (or substyle) of beer that has emerged recently is session IPA. A session IPA supposedly combines the hoppiness of an IPA with the lower alcohol content of a session beer. Founders Brewing’s All Day IPA was one of the first entries in this category, and continues to be one of the best-known.

When session IPAs first arrived, they tended to get one of two reactions. Beer drinkers either said, “Awesome, now I can get more hoppy goodness, and not have to stop after a couple,” or, “Hey great idea, but I liked it better when it was called pale ale.”

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Wheat IPA

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A shock of wheat. (Photo courtesy USDA.)

India pale ale (IPA) is by far the most popular type of craft brew in the United States, and commercial brewers have responded by coming up with a variety of “spin-offs” of American IPA. One variation is wheat IPA, of which one of the earliest and most popular examples is Lagunitas’ Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’. The brewery describes it as “A filtered pale wheat ale that is great for both IPA and wheat beer fans.” Wheat IPAs combine the hoppy goodness of an American IPA with the crisp, bread-like, “zing” from an American-style wheat beer into one very tasty beer. (My wife loves the Lagunitas brew.) Here’s how to brew one at home.

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Belgian IPA

This is the second article in a series on IPA variants, that started with darkish IPAs.

 

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Belgium

The beers of Belgium have inspired many US brewers. In turn, the hoppy ales of the United States have likewise inspired some Belgian brewers to formulate hoppier beers. Urthel Hop-It and Houblon Chouffe were two of earliest and best-known Belgian IPAs. These brewers took their Belgian beers and added significantly more hops to them. American brewers also took their IPAs and started fermenting them with Belgian ale yeasts. Stone’s Cali-Belgique is one of the best-known examples of this.

If you’re interested in brewing a beer that is a hybrid between an American IPA and a Belgian beer, there are a couple things I can tell you to get you started. However, the interface between these two kinds of beer has only begun to be explored — there’s more to be learned than is certain now.

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Cascadian Dark Ale

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A dark, hoppy ale.

As I discussed in a previous article, there are some relatively darkish, IPA-like thingys being brewed these days that are fairly popular. Some people call them black IPAs. Other people call them Cascadian dark ales. Still other people think they are two separate kinds of beers — either separate beer styles or substyles — and use both terms. And then of course, there are people who ask, “Why don’t you just call it a porter?”

In a separate article, I described how to brew an IPA-based beer with just enough debittered black malt to turn it dark, but not enough to give the beer a prominent roasted malt flavor. (The roasted flavor could vary from undetectable to faint.) I called those beers black IPAs simply because that’s what a lot of people are calling them.  [Read more…]

Black IPA

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It’s an IPA . . . really.

If you want to brew a beer that tastes like an American-style IPA, but with a darker color, I have two words for you — black malt. Black malt, sometimes called black patent malt, is the darkest of the roasted malts, usually measuring around 500 °L. Given the details of how the maltster vents the kiln during roasting, almost all of the volatile aromatic compounds from this malt are lost. (Take a handful of black malt in one hand and a handful of roasted barley — unmalted bakley roasted to the same color — and smell the difference.) If you want to add color to a beer, but little aroma or flavor, black malt is the way to go.

There are also dehusked black malts available. These dark malts are the same color as black malt, but yield less roasted bitterness. This makes them the ideal choice for a black IPA. Dehusked black malts go by a variety of names. Briess calls theirs Blackprinz malt, Dingemans calls their debittered black malt. Weyermann calls theirs dehusked Carafa III. [Read more…]

Relatively Darkish, IPA-like Thingys

This is the beginning of a series of articles on IPA variants. For the near future, I’ll post one article per week covering one variation on the IPA theme. I will discuss rye IPA, Belgian IPA, wheat IPA, session IPA, IPL (India pale lager) and white IPA. This weekend, I’ll kick things off by posting two articles on “black IPA.” The first will cover IPAs with some color, but little or no roast character. The second will cover dark IPAs with a fair amount of roasted malt flavor and aroma. 

 

Black IPA . . . and Other Dumb Beer Names

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It’s a Northern Bastropian American Indian-(Not to be Confused with Native American)-via-British Currently Melanoidin Positive (but Historically Pale) Ale . . . and I was the first person ever to think of putting hops in a dark beer. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Black IPA. It’s an odd name when you think about it, having both “black” and “pale” in the same description. And of course, you have a similar problem with the terms American IPA and British IPA. However, even though it’s kludged together, the name is descriptive — it refers an IPA that’s black. [As an aside, I once made a dark-colored witbier and called it a schwarz wit — a linguistic train wreck combining the German word for dark (and referencing the German lager style called schwarzbier) with the Flemish word for white into one intentionally ironic beer name. It actually turned out fairly well. I added a small amount of lavender to the spice mix, but I digress.]

Black IPAs have been popular for the past few years, and in the following two articles, I’ll give a quick primer on brewing beers like this.

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Barleywine (VII: Fermentation II)

This article is part of a series on barleywine, the second in a section on fermentation. 

 

IMG_2391Yesterday, I discussed getting a barleywine fermentation started — aerating the wort and pitching the yeast. Today, after explaining one additional step you can take, I’ll discuss guiding the fermentation to it’s conclusion and conditioning the beer.

 

Forced Fermentation Test

A forced fermentation test is a way to predict the final gravity of your beer. To perform this test, take a small sample of wort, pitch an excess of yeast and ferment it warm. For a 5-gallon (19-L) batch of barleywine, take a sample just large enough to float your hydrometer (about 8.5 fl. oz./250 mL). Place the wort in a sanitized jar with a lid and aerate it thoroughly. Pitch about 2 tsp. of thick yeast slurry and hold the jar (with the lid loosened) at around 80 °F (27 °C), or as warm as you can manage. The sample should ferment quickly due to the high pitching rate and warm temperature. The final gravity (FG) it reaches will tell you what to expect your main batch to ferment down to. This can help you distinguish between a stuck fermentation, and one that is simply complete.

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Barleywine (VII: Fermentation I)

This article is part of a series on barleywine.

 

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Conducting an orderly fermentation is key to brewing a quality barleywine. The biggest key to doing this at home is to make an adequately-sized yeast starter and pitch enough yeast.

Making the wort for a barleywine can be trying. Sometimes the amount of grain required is more than your mash tun can hold. Sometimes you can’t collect all the wort you’d like because your kettle is too small. And for most all-grain versions, you need to boil the wort for an extended period of time. Even though wort production can be a chore, the part of brewing a barleywine in which the brewer can exercise the most influence on the quality of the final product is the next step — fermentation. If you make a yeast starter that is large enough, your fermentation can be handled like most ale fermentations, especially for smaller barleywines. For the largest barleywines, you may need to use some additional techniques to get all you want from the yeast,

 

Your Goals

Once the wort is chilled and in the fermenter, it’s time to let the yeast transform the wort into beer. In a barleywine fermentation, you have several goals. As with any fermentation, you want active fermentation to begin quickly. If your barleywine has a cap of kräusen and your airlock is gurgling between 8 and 16 hours after pitching the yeast, you’re doing great. If it takes longer than 24 hours to start, you may be headed for problems. (At a minimum, this could lead to a sluggish fermentation that takes longer than it should to finish). Likewise, once started, you want the fermentation to keep moving steadily until the beer’s target final gravity (FG) is reached. Most barleywines should finish in the high teens through the 20s. (The BJCP gives FG 1.018–1.030 for English barleywines and FG 1.016–1.030 for American barleywines as the proper range.) For beers at the lower end of the barleywine OG range (OG 1.080–1.090), this means you want a maximum apparent attenuation of around 75%. For heavier barleywines, apparent attenuation up to 80% is OK. The biggest key to achieving this is to pitch an adequate amount of yeast. Choosing an appropriate yeast strain is also important.

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