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Style of the week: American India Pale Ale!

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March 27, 2015 by fhsteinbart


Here we have the typical American style IPA served in a Nonic glass.

Here we have the typical American style IPA served in a Nonic glass.

One of the most popular beer styles of all time, IPA has fast become the standard by which all craft beers are judged.  Some of the best examples come from breweries like Russian River, Stone Brewing, Bear Republic, Deschutes, Rogue, Bridgeport, and Widmer brothers.  Brewing your own IPA is a rather straightforward affair to making your own version of this great style.  While there are a great many recipe books available, such as Brewing Classic Styles, and also our own recipe guides, below is a recipe of mine that makes a very tasty and drinkable IPA.  About the only thing I have changed on this recipe are the hops, as new varieties are always coming out.  The main thing to keep in mind is the balance of the finish of the beer.  As a hop forward beer, IPA should have a balancing bitterness to offset the residual sweetness from non fermentable sugars left behind after fermentation.  While the malt backbone should be evident, it should not come through over the hops.  Most people will agree though that the very best IPA’s are those that have the perfect balance of malt and hops with an accentuated hop character (i.e. hop flavor and aroma) in the finish.

Extract:

7 lbs. Light DME

½ lb. Caramel 60 malt

½ lb. Munich Malt

2 oz. Magnum Hops (bittering)

1 oz. Magnum and Crystal hops (flavor)

2 oz.  Citra hops (aroma)

Wyeast 1056, WLP001, or SafAle US-05

Procedure:

  • Heat ¾ gallons of water to 165°F.
  • Add steeping grains to kettle and steep for 30 minutes.
  • Remove grains, and rinse with 165°F water
  • Turn off heat and add malt extract, stirring until fully dissolved.
  • Return to Heat, bring to boil for 5 min. then add bittering hops.
  • At 20 minutes remaining, add the flavor hops.
  • At 15 minutes remaining, add the Whirlfloc tablet or Irish Moss.
  • At 7 minutes remaining, add the aroma hops.
  • At knockout, cool the mixture by placing kettle in an ice bath or use a wort chiller. Add the mixture to the fermenter, removing the hops, and bring total volume to 5 gallons using distilled, bottled, or filtered tap water.
  • Aerate unfermented wort (shaking works well).
  • Pitch yeast and ferment at 65°~68°F for 7 to 10 days.
  • Allow to age an additional two to three weeks before packaging up as usual.

All Grain:

12 lbs. Pale Ale Malt

½ lb. Munich Malt

½ lb. Caramel 60 Malt

2 oz. Magnum hops (bittering)

1 oz. Magnum and Crystal Hops (flavor)

2 oz.  Citra hops (aroma)

Wyeast 1056, WLP001, or SafAle US-05

¾ gm. Brewing (Burton) Salts per gallon (~3.75 gms. or 1 level tsp.) in the mash and in the boil.

Procedure:

Infusion mash at 152°F for 1 hour. Sparge to 6.5 gallons of wort. Bring to boil for 5 min. then add bittering hops (Magnum). Continue boiling for 40 min. then add flavor hops.  At 45 min. then add Whirlfloc tablet or Irish moss.  At knockout add aroma hops. Turn off heat and cool mixture by placing kettle in an ice bath or using a wort chiller. Add mixture to fermenter, removing hops, and aerate unfermented wort (shaking works well). Pitch yeast and ferment at 65°F to 68°F. Gravity may vary depending on system efficiency, so adjust accordingly.

Package up as usual; bottled versions should use 100 gms. corn sugar (approx. ¾ cup), or kegged to 15 psig, and allow two weeks to come into condition. Serve at 50°~55°F in a Pint glass, share, and enjoy! This beer will continue to evolve and change over the coming months, so make enough to last you through your next brew.

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