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Style of the Week: India Black Ale (IBA)!

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September 8, 2015 by fhsteinbart


Call it India Black Ale, or Cascadian Dark Ale, or anything you like -- just don't say Black IPA, as that is a contradiction in terms! So drink it, and enjoy it regardless of naming conventions!

Call it India Black Ale, or Cascadian Dark Ale, or anything you like — just don’t say Black IPA, as that is a contradiction in terms! So drink it, and enjoy it regardless of naming conventions!

When my first child was about to be born, I was going to brew my wife’s favorite beer at that time. Unfortunately it was a lager (Schwartz Bier), and I had no means at that time to do lagers in the heat of late Summer. So I decided to make an ale version of a Schwartz Bier. Funny thing is that there was no version of that kind of beer available at that point in time (1987), and after having Fred Eckhardt sign my book “Essentials of Beer Styles” that he authored, he wrote down that I should make my own style. So that got me thinking about what I really wanted to do. So I figured that if a Schwartz Bier is a dark version of a Pils, what would be the ale equivalent? The closest thing I could come up with back then was either a Pale Ale, or an IPA. But the beer was to be dark, yet pale seemed inappropriate for the nomenclature, so I took Fred’s advice to heart, and decided to make what I called an “India Black Ale”. Basically it was an IPA, but made with a touch of dark grains. Carafa had not yet made it to these shores, and any other dark malts would have made it more Stout or Porter like, which is what I was trying to avoid. Research into Malting and Brewing Science led me to the idea of doing a cold water extract and adding just the strained out liquor to my kettle at the end of the boil. What resulted was the first (as far as I know — if anyone else can show an earlier version, I would love to hear about it!) time an IBA, or what is now called Cascadian Dark Ale (CDA) appeared on the scene. So in keeping with the times, below is the updated version of my recipe which features Carafa III malt from Weyermann Malting, and updated hops for the times, with everything else pretty much the same as it was first brewed almost 28 years ago.

Extract:

7 lbs. Extra Light DME

¼ lb. Caramunich malt

¼ lb. Biscuit Malt

½ lb. Carafa III Malt

2 oz. Magnum hops (bitterness)

1 oz. Magnum and Crystal hops (flavor)

2 oz.  Citra hops (aroma)

Wyeast 1056, WLP001, or US-05 Ale yeast

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 to bring up to volume.
  • Turn off heat and add malt extract, stirring until fully dissolved.
  • Return to Heat, bringing to a roiling boil.
  • After 10 minutes, add the bittering hop addition.
  • At 20 minutes remaining, add the Whirlfloc tablet or Irish Moss.
  • At 15 minutes remaining, add the flavor hops.
  • At knockout, add the aroma hops, then 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

¼ lb. Caramunich Malt

¼ lb. Biscuit Malt

½ lb. Carafa III Malt

2 oz. Magnum hops (bitterness)

1 oz. Magnum and Crystal hops (flavor)

2 oz.  Citra hops (aroma)

Wyeast 1056, WLP001, or US-05 Ale yeast

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 150°F for 1 hour. Sparge to 6.5 gallons of wort, and bring to a roiling boil. Add the bittering hops 10 minutes into the boil. Continue boiling for 40 more min. then add Whirlfloc tablet or Irish moss.  At 45 min. then add flavor hops. At knockout, add the aroma hops, then 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 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 20 psig, and allow two weeks to come into condition. Serve at 50°~55°F in an American 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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