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Style of the Week: Belgian IPA!

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April 24, 2015 by fhsteinbart


Here is the Teku glass, the modern equivalent to the more traditional Tulip glass.

Here is the Teku glass, the modern equivalent to the more traditional Tulip glass.

When I was asked how to make a Belgian Style IPA at the shop a while back, I simply asked what the brewer wanted to accomplish with their beer. As a new emerging style, we fellow Brewer’s and Brewster’s have the opportunity to help add to the growing body of practices to influence this new style of beer. While IPA’s are typically more hoppy than Pale Ales, both in bitterness and in hop character, I find that the trend with the Belgian style is for a smoother bitterness, and a great deal more of late hop character. Most of this coming from late kettle additions for flavor, and aroma. Since you get half the bitter from a fifteen minute boil as compared to a ninety minute boil, you should therefore add twice as much hops to your kettle at the latter times to smooth out the bitterness, cut down on the chlorophyllic vegetative notes, and improve the hop flavors and aromas present in your brew. So my suggestion is to use more flavorful and aromatic hops in larger quantities during the later portion of the boil. Below is a recipe of mine that makes a very nice Belgian Style IPA. Just be careful about the fermentation temperatures so that the balance doesn’t shift too much towards excessive yeast character, which should be either complementary to the hop character, or contrasting.

Extract:

7 lbs. Extra Light DME

¾ lb. CaraMunich malt

¼ lb. Biscuit Malt

2 oz. Simcoe Hops (flavor and aroma)

1 oz. Amarillo and El Dorado hops (flavor and aroma)

2 oz.  Citra hops (flavor and aroma)

Wyeast 3522, WLP550, or Fermentis Abbaye Ale

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 back to boil.
  • At 20 minutes remaining, add the Whirlfloc tablet or Irish Moss.
  • At 15 minutes remaining, add the flavor and 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 62°~65°F for 7 to 10 days.
  • Allow to age an additional two to three weeks before packaging up as usual.

All Grain:

12 lbs. Pilsner Malt

¾ lb. CaraMunich Malt

¼ lb. Biscuit Malt

2 oz. Simcoe hops (flavor and aroma)

1 oz. Amarillo and El Dorado Hops (flavor and aroma)

2 oz.  Citra hops (flavor and aroma)

Wyeast 3522, WLP550, or Fermentis Abbaye Ale

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 148°F for 1 hour. Sparge to 6.5 gallons of wort, and bring to a roiling boil. Continue boiling for 40 more min. then add Whirlfloc tablet or Irish moss.  At 45 min. then add flavor and aroma hops. At knockout, cool the 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 62°F to 65°F. Gravity may vary depending on system efficiency, so adjust accordingly.

Package up as usual; bottled versions should use 120 gms. corn sugar (approx. ¾ cup), or kegged to 20 psig, and allow two weeks to come into condition. Serve at 50°~55°F in a Teku 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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