Here is my recipe for session IPA. (There’s no shrimp in the recipe, the name is just “jumbo shrimp” and “session IPA” — two combinations of words that seem nonsensical to some — jumbled together.) This recipe is based on my Roswell IPA, a “regular” American IPA. The way I converted my AmericanIPA recipe to a session IPA recipe should work with any American IPA. My ideas on what a session IPA should be like are spelled out in a previous article, and should explain the decisions I’ve made during recipe formulation.
To start with, I took my original grain bill and subtracted pale malt until I hit a “sessionable” range, in this case 4.6% ABV. I kept the same amounts of crystal malt (and Vienna malt) as in the original, but double checked that the percentage of crystal was definitely under 7.5%. (It was.) My second, and final step, was to lower the amount of bittering hops to keep the BU:GU ratio (at least roughly) the same. My Roswell IPA had an OG of 1.068 and 67 IBUs, for a BU:GU ratio of 1.01. My new session beer had an OG of 1.044, so I adjusted the IBUs down to 44 for a BU:GU ratio of 1.00. I only changed the amount of the first hop addition. I left the amounts of late addition hops and dry hops the same, as I definitely wanted all the flavor and aroma of hops in my session IPA. That’s it. If you have an IPA you like, performing these two steps should deliver a session IPA that you like. You might have to do some tweaking after you first brew it. Then again, if you liked the original IPA, it might just deliver a dry “sessionized” beer with a big hop character that’s your cup of tea . . . or plate of shrimp.