AG#58 – Death Star Black IPA

I posed a question on Twitter (@BubblesBrews) recently, asking if it was safe to brew a black IPA again, now that all the trendy brewers are putting grapefruit and salt in their brews. At one stage in 2014/2015, it seemed like every craft brewery was coming out with a hoppy black IPA.
In my own recipe for black IPA, I am attempting to push those coffee flavours to the forefront by using Carafa Special III and Chateau Light Cafe Malt. I’m trying not to go overboard with the percentages of these malts as I don’t want something that is too roasty or acrid. I want more coffee than burnt toast. I also want some caramel character to balance the high hop bitterness and for this I’ll be using a combination of Crystal 40 and Crystal 60 malts. Hops will be whatever smells fresh when I open the bags. As usual, I’ve got a bit of a backlog in the hop drawer at the moment, so I want to use some of them up. But I’ll probably use a combination of Cascade, Centennial and Simcoe.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 27.92 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.92 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.067 SG
Estimated Color: 57.1 EBC
Estimated IBU: 57.3 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 58.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 70.2 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


5.800 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC), 78.0 %
0.640 kg Munich Malt (17.7 EBC), 8.6 %
0.370 kg CHÂTEAU CAFÉ LIGHT® (250.0 EBC), 5.0 %
0.225 kg Carafa III (1034.2 EBC), 3.0 %
0.200 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (78.8 EBC), 2.7 %
0.200 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (118.2 EBC), 2.7 %
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
50 g Centennial [11.90 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 16.6 IBUs
100 g Simcoe [13.20 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 10.0 min, 25.0 IBUs
50 g Centennial [11.90 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 10 mins, 11.3 IBUs
30 g Cascade [7.80 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 10.0 mins, 4.4 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) (400ml slurry from Coney Island Red Ale)
47 g Mosaic [11.10 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 13 0.0 IBUs
Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 7.435 kg
Mash In Add 20.82 l of water at 74.6 C 68.0 C 60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 15.05l) of 77.0 C water

30/05/2016 – Dry hopped with 47g of Mosaic pellets.

07/06/2016 – Bottled with 118g of glucose (17.5 litres @ 2.5 vol). Got 12 x 750ml and 15 x 500ml bottles from the batch.

01/07/2016 – First taste and it’s an absolute cracker. Quite similar in hop character to the American stout I did last year, but much less roasty. Great aroma, classic pungent American hop flavour. Toasty, biscuity malt. Good balance with the bitterness. A keeper.

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