Beer 23: Almost Flawless IPA

Huge hop aroma notwithstanding, this is a near perfect IPA (in my humble opinion). It compares with New Belgium’s Rampant IPA, one of my favorites. The key, I think, is a slightly complex malt profile, a hint of sweetness in the nose, and a soft bitterness which makes it very drinkable, and a big double layered hop flavor. The flavor is excellent, owing to large amounts of Centenial backed by Cascade (one of my favorite combos).

Another difference is yeast. As I look through my brewing notes, I realize that every time I used San Diego Super yeast I made an incredible IPA. Coincidence? Probably not. Damn you! I do think the San Diego Super yeast makes a difference, but I can’t explain what exactly that is. I hate to say it, actually, because it’s drastically more expensive than the cheap pink packets of Safale-05 yeast. I think Marshall Scott from is right when he says that San Diego makes the IPA more interesting, complex, and malty; as opposed to the ‘punch in the face’ hop forward beer produced by the typical California Ale yeast (or US-05). However, I do wonder if hop aroma is effected negatively by San Diego. With 7 ounces of dry hops, I would like to think this beer would have a giant hop aroma. It doesn’t. Instead, it’s pleasant with a slight sweetness that makes you think of the malt and alcohol.


IPA (6 gal.)
Sat. June 11, 2016
10.3 lb. 2-row
4 lb. Maris Otter
3 lb Munich
(40 minute mash at 147)
2 oz. Centenial FWH (30 minute boil)
1 oz Centenial FO (used a Wort Chiller)
5 oz Centenial DH (3 days)
2 oz Cascade DH (3 days)
San Diego Super Yeast and Safale 05

6/11: started with 8 gal. water, used culligan filter attached to potable hose, added gypsum to water, 40 m mash, 30 m boil, had 7 gallons of water at beginning of boil, put 2 gallons cold water in freezer to add later, used wort chiller for this beer
By 8:24 pm the chilled wort was in freezer. under 2 hour brewday. The new upright freezer is a beast. it gets cold fast. after 6 minutes it was at 36 C. fell asleep and forget to pitch yeast, pitched the next morning.
6/13: noticed fermentation in the morning, white foamy.
6/20: a week later, hydrometer reading says 1.010. added 7 oz dry hops
6/23: three days later, cold crashed. added gelatin the next day
6/27: spigot is clogged with hop junk and sediment. this has happened before. I put the pot at a steeper angle and add more gelatin.
6/28: still clogged a bit. had to suck on the spigot a few times, like a baby sucking a bottle. that worked. bottled 29 22 oz beers.
7/1: almost carbed. tastes great.

My IPA philosophy has come along way. In the beginning, I kept it very simple: 2-row, sugar, and dry hopping with Centenial only. Now I find myself adding a bunch of Munich, some Vienna, Maris Otter, and a little Honey Malt from time to time. Again, I like both methods. Depends what you’re in the mood for.

Procedure wise, I changed things up a bit. First, I used my friend’s wort chiller, which works very nicely with my system. Chilling lasted only 8 minutes or so, followed by using a cold fermentation chamber to complete the job. The brewday was under 2 hours so I’m not complaining. And wort chillers, I noticed, are incredible easy to clean: just spray them off with a hose. Second, I did a ‘diluted’ or ‘concentrated’ wort. I’ve done this many times before a la Charlie Papazian and it makes practical sense. I made about 5 gallons of wort and added about 2 gallons of cold water while chilling. Basically, I turned the beer from a smaller batch DIPA to a larger batch IPA – which is what I was going for. Third, I didn’t use sugar for this one. I wanted it more malty and less dry. It is. Fourth, I did a 40 minute mash, instead of my traditional 30. Not sure that made a difference. Lastly, I used my new upright freezer/fermentation chamber. It was amazing. Not only does it get to freezing temperatures fast (in the summer); not only does it chill the beer fast; not only is it energy efficient. But, most importantly, the shelves are customizable, which allows me to place the beer at the exact height that is perfect for bottling. In other words, the beer never has to move throughout the entire beer making process (chill, ferment, dry hop, bottle).

2 thoughts on “Beer 23: Almost Flawless IPA

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