Beer 31: Buttery, Shitty, Black IPA

I was in the Taco Bell drive-thru with my brewing buddy Rob, after drinking some of his tasty East Coast style IPA. I was so full. For the first time in my adult life, I didn’t order anything from Taco Bell. Not a crunch wrap, not a Nachos Bel Grande, not even a Chipotle Griller for God’s sake. My belly was just too full, unusually so. I should have known something was up.

This beer suffers from diacetyl, a buttered popcorn aroma and flavor. The first day it was pretty good actually, but a day or two later: totally shit. With a little research, I found that diacetyl not only tastes like popcorn, it actually makes you full, which explains the first 3 days of drinking it and the Taco Bell nightmare. For commercial brewers, it’s not profitable to have diacetyl in the beer for this very reason – people won’t drink enough of your shitty beer.

Black IPAs fall into three camps. First, IPAs that happen to be black in color. Not my cup of tea. What’s the point? – it sets an expectation and then fails. Second, Stouts that are bitter but have no aroma. These are not bad, but not really IPAs. Third, a good Black IPA needs to be roasty and hoppy at the same time, malty and dark with a bright citrus or tropical aroma. I love Stouts. I love IPAs. It’s a good match.

I’ve made about 3 Black IPAs over the years, one of which I remember being quite good. It was roasty and hoppy. This beer, on paper, looking at the hops, would be a kick ass black session IPA. I was excited. Until I tasted the butter.


What Caused the Butter?
After my last butter lager, you think I would have learned my lesson. All beers create diacetyl during fermentation – it happens every time, no matter what. However, after fermentation, if you let the yeast “clean up” the diacetyl, by resting the beer at 72F or 75F for a few days, then you control it. This is called a “diacetyl rest.” I didn’t do it for my buttery lager, and I didn’t do it for this Black IPA. What the fuck am I doing? With brewdays under 2 hours, you would think I had the patience to let the beer sit. I’ll be more careful in the future to make sure (a) fermentation is complete and (b) the beer rests at 75 for a couple days.

The good news is that the One Pot Method probably isn’t the cause, at least I don’t think so. 30 minute boils don’t cause diacetyl, from what I understand (they cause DMS).

For what’s it’s worth, the recipe:

Black IPA
5 lb 2-row
3.3 lb Munich
.8 lb Roasted Barley
.6 lb. Carm/Crystal 80
1 oz Magnum (FW, 30 minute boil)
2 oz Glacier (FO)
Equinox DH 3 days
Centenial DH
Citra DH
Simcoe DH
Mosaic DH
US-05 yeast

started with 9 gallons water. added 2 tsp Gypsum / 1 tsp Calcium Cloride
mash 30 minutes, boil 30 minutes
chilled with wort chiller for 5 minutes, finished in ferm chamber

2 thoughts on “Beer 31: Buttery, Shitty, Black IPA

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