As I very slowly trudge my way through the commercial brewery planning process, one of the more exciting aspects is recipe formulation. I tend to jump from one style to the next when brewing so honing a specific recipe seems to take an eternity and generally never happens. There are maybe two recipes (that includes this one and my American German Pilsner) that I feel are spot on and ready to “go pro”. I almost hate hearing the boring epithet about how simplicity is key in recipe formulation. But as you are forced to think of your process in commercially viable terms (cost, manual labor, product availability) you realize simplicity ain’t no joke.
With simplicity in mind, I have been methodically dropping malts from this recipe the past few times I’ve brewed this to really get at the essence of what I’m trying to get in the glass. Buttloads of late-hopping (not a new idea by any means) and no crystal malts (even less new idea-ish) allows the newer American hop varietals (Meridian/Mosaic/El Dorado/Columbus) to really get their shwerve on. I took the hop-bursting a step further after reading about hop oil flash points in a recent BYO article. After adding a significant flameout addition and allowing it to stand for 30 minutes, I chilled the wort down 180F and added another dose of hops and allowed them to sit hot for another 20 minutes. This technique apparently allows the more delicate hop oils that may be broken down/evaporated at higher temps to remain in solution and make it into the fermentor. After only one batch (with a second fermenting as I type this) the results are purely anecdotal, but this batch for sure has the most aroma I’ve gotten into a hoppy beer.
Don’t judge me for using my child’s alphabet letters to label my beers. Just don’t.
Appearance. Orange and copper hues with a slight haze from the dry hops. Black backgrounds for beer color comparison are terrible but I’m sure you guys have great imaginations and know what a DIPA looks like. That said, this beer is darker than I expected with the omission of all crystal malts and fits nicely within style guidelines.
Overall Impressions. Nailed it. This is one of the first batches that I’ve truly been content with. There isn’t anything I would change about this recipe except to maybe make a larger batch. And use less expensive hops. I am usually itching to bring any and all homebrew I make to parties, club meetings, etc. but this batch I am hoarding like I’m never gonna brew again. Held its own when compared to four week old Pliny (top-rated DIPA and consistently voted best beer in America by Zymurgy) that I carried back from my Sierra Nevada trip, but how can you really trust me if I’m hoarding all of it and it never leaves my kitchen? Don’t worry–it’s definitely going to get out of the kitchen and find a home in my brewery-to-be.