Home-brewing notes: English IPA
Is it unpatriotic to brew an English IPA with the Fourth of July only a few days away? Perhaps, but I had to find a suitable vessel for my London ale yeast -- an American Pale Ale simply wouldn't do.
And aside from that venerable APA, I've brewed more English IPAs than any other style of beer. The reason? It's a bitter, fruity hop-forward beer that doesn't hid the malt and won't rob the enamel from your teeth. Yum.
Twelve and a quarter pounds Thomas Fawcett Marris Otter, half pound of Rahr white wheat and a half pound of Victory malt in the mash at 152 degrees. The crystal malt was added at mash out.
Credit: Patrick Beeson
Homebrewing guru Jamil Zainasheff says in Brewing Classic Styles that the key to a good English IPA is late-hop character. This can be hard to get as you need to either chill the entire wort quickly after adding the hops, or use a hopback such as the Blichmann Engineering HopRocket.
Also important are continential malts such as Marris Otter and British crystal and biscuit. But go easy on that crystal: you can end up with a beer that's overpowered by the sweet instead of the toast. Balance is important with the English IPA.
Here are the BJCP stats for the English IPA style:
- OG: 1.050 – 1.075
- IBUs: 40 – 60
- FG: 1.010 – 1.018
- SRM: 8 – 14
- ABV: 5 – 7.5%
And here is the recipe I used:
- 12.25 lbs Thomas Fawcett Marris Otter
- 0.5 lbs Rahr white wheat
- 0.5 lbs Victory
- 0.5 lbs Crystal 35
- 6 oz Briess Extra Dark Crystal
- 1 oz East Kent Goldings (First Wort Hop)
- 1oz Chinook (@60)
- 1.5 oz Fuggle (@10)
- 1.5 oz East Kent Goldings (@0)
- 3rd generation Wyeast London Ale (repitched from an English Mild)
Mash and fermentation
I mashed the malt at 152 for 75 minutes. Only the Marris Otter, wheat and victory were mashed. I added the crystal at mashout.
My original gravity was 14.2 Brix with a preboil gravity of 11 Brix.
I am fermenting this beer at 68 degrees.
This beer was fairly straightforward in terms of process. In keeping with my mashing-only-malts-that-need-mashing, I added the crystal at mashout and vorloff. My goal here was to keep down any chance of the beer being cloying, though time will tell if this comes through in the finished product.
I will say that using this late-malt addition process has helped reduce astringency with dark malts in my two previous beers: an English Mild and Brown Porter.
This recipe is slightly different from past recipes used for this style in terms of the hops used. I lacked any Challenger -- a traditional English bittering hop -- or a good equivalent, hence the Chinook. My thinking here was that none of the citrus flavor would come through in the finished beer due to the early addition. It was either this or adding three ounces of Fuggles, which would have meant boiling a lot of hops and possibly contributing a vegetative flavor to the finished beer.
The use of first wort hopping (FWH) with EKG is something I've done in the past with great results. In fact, my first English IPA only used EKG and a big helping of hops as FWH. I noticed the flavor right away, and impressed some of my brewing brethren.
The only flaw in the process was that I managed to chill my wort down to just 78 degrees.
My tap water is warm now at over 70 degrees. And even with a prechiller and not-so-ample-ice, the Therminator can't drop the temps as much as I'd like.
I plan to correct this next time with More Ice. If that doesn't work, I might resort to pumping ice water through the chiller continuously.
Also, I decided to pitch the yeast slightly warm (74) because I had to leave for a homebrew club meeting before it had dropped to 68 in the fermenter. I'm not too concerned with this because it likely hit the target temp within the next hour.
Again, it will be interesting to see any difference in the final product.
Have you brewed or tasted an English IPA recently? Or am I just an unpatriotic American? Let me know in the comments.