Posts Tagged 'american ipa'

AG#29 – Easy Company Pale Ale

The hop drawer in my brew fridge is currently crammed full of partially used bags of hops. I know that in there I’ve got bags containing Citra, Simcoe, Amarillo, Summit, Northern Brewer, Chinook, Cascade, EKG and probably loads more. A “leftovers” recipe has been on the cards for a while.

I’m going to do my usual thing of weighing out my hop leftovers on brew day and then updating the BeerSmith recipe to get my measured IBUs. Hop bags will be required for this brew, I think!

I’m going to use a simple malt bill of Crisp Maris Otter and equal percentages of Munich malt and wheat malt. Nothing else. I think that in the past I’ve unnecessarily complicated the grain bills on my pale ales and IPAs. So I’m going to concentrate on using a simple malt base in order to layer on the lovely hop flavours. I’m keeping this at a sessionable 4.5% as part of my 2015 effort to brew more low ABV beers.

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: 1.046 SG
Estimated Color: 9.7 EBC
Estimated IBU: 66.4 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 72.6 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


3.800 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC), 82.6 %
0.400 kg Munich Malt (17.7 EBC), 8.7 %
0.400 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (3.9 EBC), 8.7 %
10 g Chinook [13.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 18.6 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
60 g Amarillo [8.80 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 13.7 IBUs
24 g Centennial [11.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 7.5 IBUs
10 g Cascade [7.80 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 2.2 IBUs
99 g Citra [14.40 %] – Steep/Whirlpool, 5.0 min, 15.8 IBUs
30 g Saaz [4.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool  5.0 min, 1.5 IBUs
21 g Chinook [13.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool  5.0 min, 3.3 IBUs
21 g Columbus [14.20 %] – Steep/Whirlpool  5 min, 3.6 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American  (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) (sprinkled)

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 4.600 kg
Mash In           Add 12.88 l of water at 74.6 C          68.0 C        60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 20.15l) of 77.0 C water

14/03/2015 Mash Day – Mashed at around 66-67C. Slow enough run-off from mash tun. Wort is nice and pale.

15/03/2015 Brew Day – Centennial leaf hops a bit musty, 21g chinook smelt amazing. Bit of Saaz got in by mistake. OG 1.046

30/03/2015 – Dry-hopped with 50g Centennial pellets. Will dry-hop for 3-5 days. Smells pretty good from the fermenter already. I have some concerns at the momentabout how little aroma and flavour I’m getting from the hoppy beers I put in the keg. They never seem to be what I’m expecting given the huge amount of hops I’m putting in. For this reason, I intend to bottle these beers, probably in some 750’s.

04/04/2015 – Bottled with 118g corn sugar (16 litres at 2.7 vol).

27/04/2015 – been a bit lax in posting updates on this. It’s nearly gone! And only just over three weeks in the bottle. Great hoppiness and mouthfeel. Really firm bitterness. But the star of the show is the crispness contributed by the gypsum which was added to the mash water. It makes a huge difference. Probably the best pale ale I’ve ever done. Already considering a rebrew.

AG#27 – Jaipurish India Pale Ale


I’ve long been a fan of Thornbridge’s Jaipur. Though it’s brewed by an English brewery, it’s very much an American style IPA, though perhaps not as strong as most IPA. It comes in at 5.9% ABV, but delivers a lovely hoppy punch – grapefruit rind with a little pine. I’ve always liked it because it’s very crisp and drinkable. I decided to attempt a clone version of the beer because I have some WLP810 yeast slurry left over from a previous batch. It might seem odd to be using a lager strain for this beer, but I read some comments on JBK that point to WLP810 (the Anchor Brewing strain) as the yeast Thornbridge uses for this beer. The only way I’ll know is to give it a try. for the grain bill, I’ll be using Mitch Steele’s recipe taken from his “IPA” book. Mitch specifies 96% pale malt and 4% Vienna malt. I’ll be using 4% Vienna, 4% wheat and 92% pale malt. I’ll also be using the hop varieties reported to be in Jaipur – Ahtanum, Centennial and Chinook. I’ll be using lots of Ahtanum and Centennial but keep the Chinook addition(s) quite restrained, as Chinook can be quite pungent and I don’t want it to overwhelm the more delicate Ahtanum. I doubt by beer will be as pale as Jaipur, but I hope so.

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: 1.056 SG
Estimated Color: 10.1 EBC
Estimated IBU: 55.9 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 72.6 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


5.166 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC), 92.0 %
0.225 kg Vienna Malt (6.9 EBC), 4.0 %
0.225 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (3.9 EBC), 4.0 %
24 g Chinook [13.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 44.6 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
25 g Ahtanum [6.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 4.2 IBUs
25 g Centennial [10.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 7.0 IBUs
50 g Ahtanum [6.00 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
50 g Centennial [11.00 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
25 g Chinook [13.00 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg WLP810 (400ml slurry from Union Square)

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge

Total Grain Weight: 5.616 kg
Mash In           Add 15.72 l of water at 74.6 C          68.0 C        60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 18.32l) of 77.0 C water


26/01/2015 – Made a couple of boo-boo’s.. First of all I decided to add more hops at the last minute, but instead of adding them to the flameout bowl as intended, I added them to the 10-min bowl. I couldn’t accurately remove them as there were different hop varieties in the bowl so I just left them in. Beer will have a bit more bitterness than the 56 IBU above suggests. I also completely forgot to take a gravity reading. Used hop bags for all the additions, even the bittering addition, and I got a good run off from the boiler. I might have to do this again. I’ve a horrible feeling my dial thermometer is not accurate, it was measuring 20C before I ran off from boiler, but the hop bags I removed from boiler had beer in them that felt distinctly warm. Were the hop bags insulating warm beer inside them? Must calibrate the thermometer before I use it again. Pitched yeast mid-morning and fermentation was going by evening.

Also, I was adding some cold water to the strike water to take the temperature down, but I overcooked it. When I doughed in, the temperature of the mash was at 63-64C. Even I couldn’t ignore that mistake. So I added boiling water from the kettle to bring the temperature back up closer to 65C. Added an extra 25g of Ahtanum and increased the amount of Chinook to 40g because they smelt so fresh.

02/02/2015 – Weather is really cold at the moment, but this is still fermenting away. Still a steady stream of bubbles through the airlock.

16/02/2015 – Kegged the beer tonight and bottled a single bottle with 2 carb drops. Aroma is a bit sulphurous, but the sample tasted quite nice.

AG#26 – Yo-leven India Pale Ale


This beer was fantastic the last time I brewed it, but I did think it was a little too sweet and cloying. I’ve taken the drastic step of removing all of the crystal malt in an effort to dry out the beer to make it more quaffable. It might also allow those hop flavours to come out even more. I’ve included a small portion of CaraPils, which together with the wheat malt will give the beer great head retention and lacing down the glass. The hopping schedule is exactly the same as the last recipe – some things you just don’t mess with!

Recipe Specification

Boil Size: 26.90 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.40 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.066 SG
Estimated Color: 11.7 EBC
Estimated IBU: 57.4 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 71.1 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


5.300 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC), 79.1 %
1.000 kg Vienna Malt (6.9 EBC), 14.9 %
0.200 kg Cara-Pils/Dextrine (3.9 EBC), 3.0 %
0.200 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (3.9 EBC), 3.0 %
18 g Magnum [10.70 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 27.4 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
50 g Amarillo [8.80 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 11.4 IBUs
50 g Citra [14.40 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 18.6 IBUs
50 g Amarillo [8.80 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
50 g Centennial [11.00 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
50 g Citra [14.40 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American  (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) (400ml yeast slurry from Thirsty Dog)
60 g Citra [14.80 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days       Hop           13       0.0 IBUs
40 g Amarillo [10.90 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days    Hop           14       0.0 IBUs

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 6.700 kg
Mash In           Add 18.76 l of water at 74.6 C          68.0 C        60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 15.35l) of 77.0 C water


29/12/2014 – Dry hopped with 40g of Amarillo pellets. Plan on leaving them in for no longer than 5 days before racking to secondary and dry hopping again with lots of Citra.

02/01/2015 – Racked to secondary and dry hopped with 60g of freshly opened Citra pellets. Lot of what appears to be off-gassing of CO2 going on.

06/01/2015 – Removed the hop bag from the fermenter. Great aroma. Will let the sediment settle before bottling tomorrow night.

07/01/2015 – Did three bottles and primed with 1.5 carb drops per bottle. Kegged the rest, even though I only got about 15 litres into the keg. Didn’t bother sanitising the keg, just scalded the inside with a couple of kettles of boiling water.

10/01/2015 – I’ve a horrible feeling the bottles aren’t carbonating…

12/01/2015 – I think it’s okay, bit of life showing in the bottles.

17/01/2015 – Astounded to discover that this is tasting pretty dreadful out of the keg. Can’t figure it out. I thought that maybe it was just the first glass, but I drew three glasses off the keg and it still tasted rubbish, overly sweet and not very hoppy. It was also under carbonated, which is completely bonkers as it’s had a week to chill and carbonate in the fridge. I suppose I can’t do anything else expect wait another week or two before trying again.

15/02/2015 – This has actually come good in the keg, though not as nice as last years attempt. I suspected that the funny sweetness I was tasting was down to the CaraPils, because I got the same taste in the kegged Little Dawg. But interestingly, I didn’t get it in the bottled Little Dawg. Maybe it’s because the bottled beers are getting more conditioning time, whereas the kegged beer is going straight out in the cold shed after it’s finished fermenting. Anyway, the sweetness has subsided, revealing a pretty sharp bitterness. The hop flavour and aroma is a bit disappointing though, nowhere near as intense as last years. It could be just the keg version – I do have one bottle conditioned example of Yo-leven though, which I plan on opening tomorrow evening.

02/03/2015 – Tasted the bottled version. Nice, but not a patch on last years. Not enough bitterness and hop flavour is a little disappointing. Not the worst IPA I’ve ever had, however. The most troublesome thing about this sampling was how inferior the kegged version is compared to the bottle conditioned version. By comparison, the kegged IPA seems creamier, much sweeter and lacking in both aroma and flavour.

AG#7 – Yo-leven India Pale Ale


I’m not going to be able to do the “Yo-leven” Double IPA recipe for the forthcoming NHC competition as it takes too long to condition and it might not be tasting it’s best when the judging rolls around. So I’ve decided to do a slightly scaled-down version instead and I’ll be entering it in the competition as an American IPA, rather than the Double/Imperial designation. I’ll be dropping the ABV to 6.6%, but I’ll be attempting to keep that huge American hop character.

  • Vienna Malt – I’m including a significant portion of Vienna malt in the grist, which should add a toasty aroma to the beer. Vienna is reputed to be a large component in Odells IPA, one of my favourite examples of the style.
  • CaraMalt – this time I’m using all CaraMalt which is the lightest crystal malt I can get. I want the sweetness and body from the crystal but I want slightly less  caramel flavour than C40 would give. My theory is that this might make the Vienna malt more prominent.
  • Bittering – Even though I’m increasing the gravity, I’ve reduced the bittering hops slightly to give me 55 calculated  IBUs. The last attempt was just slightly too bitter for the gravity, according to my notes. But I’m adding a huge amount of flameout hops this time, which will contribute some considerable bitterness, despite what the brew software says. For that reason, I need to be a little restrained with the “calculated” IBUs.
  • Hop Replacement – I’m going for an all-out tropical fruit bomb assault this time. Mostly Citra and Amarillo, with some Centennial for good measure.


Boil Size: 25.38 l
Post Boil Volume: 22.88 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.065 SG
Estimated Color: 14.2 EBC
Estimated IBU: 54.3 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 58.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 67.2 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


5.100 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC), 74.5 %
1.000 kg Vienna Malt (6.9 EBC), 14.6 %
0.450 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 15L (29.6 EBC), 6.6 %
0.300 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (3.9 EBC), 4.4 %
13 g Centennial [10.90 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 20.5 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
50 g Amarillo [10.90 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 14.3 IBUs
50 g Citra [14.80 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 19.5 IBUs
50 g Amarillo [10.90 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
50 g Centennial [10.90 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
50 g Citra [15.00 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American  (DCL/Fermentis #US-05)
40 g Amarillo [10.90 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days, 0.0 IBUs
60 g Citra [14.80 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days, 0.0 IBUs

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 6.850 kg
Mash In           Add 19.18 l of water at 74.6 C          68.0 C        60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun, , 13.56l) of 77.0 C water


29/12/2013  – Mash temperature of 67.7°C. I used hop bags for my 100g addition of Centennial and Amarillo and was surprised to see that the bags still held a lot of the hop material, despite them being pellets. Added the 50g Citra addition at 80°C. Didn’t make much of a difference anyway, as I had the same issues separating the wort from the hops as I had during my last two brew days. Got an OG slightly over my target, which is my first all-grain batch to do so. I got a lot of break material in the fermenter because I had to scrape the bazooka screen of pellet hops to get the wort through it. All should be good though, got 19l of wort. Pitched about 400ml of US-05 slurry from “Pie-O-My” and it was fermenting like mad by the next morning.

03/01/2014 – Brought the fermenter into a warmer room as it looks like the vigorous fermentation has finished. The warmer temperature will ensure the beer is fully attenuated.

04/01/2014 – I’ve only got Amarillo hops in pellet form, so I was undecided about dry-hopping with them. The last thing I want is a crapload of green sludge in my beer when I decide to bottle it. In the end I decided to throw caution to the wind. I put 40g Amarillo hops in a muslin bag, weighted with marbles as usual, the added to the fermenter.

05/01/2014 – No sludge appeared in the end, great aroma. Nice fizzing action, even though nearly all of the kreusen has dropped. Will leave for a few days before racking to secondary and dry-hopping with a load of Citra hops.

10/01/2014 – Dry-hopped with 60g of Citra hops after racking to secondary fermenter. No flecks of pellet hops in the beer as far as I can make out. It’s a pity that the Citra hops I have are 2011 harvest. Will leave a few days before bottling.

14/01/2014 – Bottled using 130g of dextrose (17l @ 2.6 vol). Beer smells absolutely amazing so I have very high hopes for this one. I was just a few slugs short on the last bottle I filled and I couldn’t bear to throw it out, so I used a sanitised baster to pick up the last of the beer from the bottling bucket. I also had to resort to using some of the beer that had drained out of the dry-hop bag into a bowl!! Feck it. Got 33 bottles from the batch.

31/01/2014 – Far too soon to be tasting, of course, but reasonably promising. Good tropical fruit flavours, with plenty of dankness. The level of crystal sweetness seems a little over the top. Can’t help thinking that this is the flavour I should be tasting in the “Pie-O-My”, but isn’t there… Head retention decent, very hazy, but will benefit from another 4 weeks conditioning before competition.

18/01/2014 – Very nice! The flavours have smoothened out a little and it’s lost it’s harshness, leaving room from the tropical fruit flavours from the hops to shine through. I do think it’s a bit caramelly for an IPA though. I’d probably reduce the C15 next time. I think it will score reasonably well in the competition, provided the judge likes IPAs at the sweeter end of the scale.

26/02/2014 – Amazing!

AG#1 – Trixibelle Belgian IPA


I had my WLP550 slurry sitting in the fridge for the last week or so, so I had to get cracking on my AG setup. A full account of the momentous occasion can be found here as there’s just too much detail to put into this little recipe post.

This is one of those recipes when I definitely have a commercial beer in mind and I’ve sought out clone recipes and attempted to use the same (or similar, at least) ingredients or techniques as the commercial version. In this instance, the commercial beer is Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch, a Belgian-inspired IPA. Essentially, it’s an American IPA, but fermented with a Belgian yeast. I’ve used the same hops reported to be in Raging Bitch, Amarillo and Columbus, two varieties I’ve used together before with great success.


Boil Size: 26.88 l
Post Boil Volume: 22.88 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.50 l
Estimated OG: 1.067 SG
Estimated Color: 8.8 SRM
Estimated IBU: 59.9 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 81.1 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


5.00 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM), 85.5 %
0.40 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM), 6.8 %
0.15 kg Biscuit Malt (23.0 SRM), 2.6 %
0.15 kg Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM), 2.6 %
0.15 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM), 2.6 %
20 g Columbus [13.90 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 40.5 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
15 g Amarillo [7.80 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 3.1 IBUs
15 g Columbus [13.90 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 6.1 IBUs
20 g Amarillo [7.80 %] – Boil 5.0 min, 3.4 IBUs
20 g Columbus [13.90 %] – Boil 5.0 min, 6.7 IBUs
20 g Amarillo [7.80 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
20 g Columbus [13.90 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Belgian Ale (White Labs #WLP550) (400ml of yeast slurry from Vingt-Sept)
30 g Centennial [7.80 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days, 0.0 IBUs

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge

Total Grain Weight: 5.85 kg

Mash 15.5 l of water at 75.7 C

Mash Temperature 68.1 C for 1 hour

Batch sparge 18.5 litres at 75.6 C


27/10/2013 – Brew Day – Notes can be found here.

28/10/2013 – One thing I’ve noticed is that there’s a huge level of kreusen. It’s even hit the lid, something that hasn’t happened to any of my brews for quite a while. Could this be because I aerated my wort differently this time, i.e. by just opening the tap on the boiler and running the wort through a sieve? I am slightly concerned that it might be too cold in my new fermentating room. There is certainly a noticeable sulphurous aroma coming from the fermenter. That aroma was there on previous pitches of this same yeast, but perhaps not as strong as it is now. I’ll be taking a temperature measurement tonight or tomorrow to check. Great hoppy aroma from the fermenter too though.

29/10/2013 – Had to do a clean up job as the fermentation pushed through the lid! Normally I’d be worried that it was fermenting too warm, but the room it’s fermenting in is bloody freezing. I have to take a temperature reading, but the level of foam is too high to reach the beer.

09/11/2013 – Took a gravity reading this evening as it has been quite cold, and this was still showing signs of fermenting (or perhaps just off-gassing with the colder weather). It measured 1.010 and the sample tasted pretty good, will improve with a few weeks in the bottle. Lots of Belgian yeast character but plenty of the American hops showing through.

12/11/2013 – Even though my original recipe specified a dry-hop of Amarillo, I subsequently decided against it. However, the aroma from the fermenter seems to have faded and my last taste of the beer shows the Belgian yeast flavour is pretty strong so I want to make sure the American hop flavour is prominent. So on the spur of the moment, I decided to dry-hop this thing. I don’t have any Amarillo leaf hops, and I don’t like dry-hopping with pellets, so I compared the aroma of some Centennial and Simcoe that I have and plumped for the Centennial as the aroma was fruiter and less piney. I also moved the fermenter to a warmer room as this will help the oils dissolve better. Will probably bottle this at the weekend.

16/11/2013 – Bottled with 124g of dextrose (17 litres at 2.6 vol). Bottled into a mixture of bottles – 14 x 750ml, 7 x 500ml, 13 x 330ml.

30/11/2013 – Opened a bottle not really realising it has only been bottled 2 weeks. The flavour is a bit ‘meh’, not really the American hop onslaught I expected, though this might become more evident after another couple of weeks aging. the yeast flavour is definitely in the right ballpark – those distinctive Belgian esters peeping through the flavour, though not very assertive. Head retention is quite poor and the beer is very hazy. A bit immature with possibly a touch of acetyl-aldehyde. I’m glad now that I dry-hopped this thing, because if I hadn’t, I’d be blaming the lack of hop aroma on the absence of dry hops. But I’m hopeful they’ll become more evident when the beer matures more.

14/12/2013 – This has started tasting rather good! It’s much drier than I was expecting; drier than intended but very appropriate for an IPA. Not a lot of residual sweetness but lots of mouthfeel. It’s got a massive whack of citrus peel – both in taste and on the nose.The Belgian yeast flavours are much in evidence. I don’t taste much of the dank, piney Columbus, but plenty of Amarillo. The head formation is good, and lasts well enough down the glass, though I’ve done better on this before. Nice citrus aroma, but nothing too strong. Much less caramel flavour than I expected. I think the carbonation could be a little spritzier and I’d probably up the wheat malt too. Certainly very good for my first all-grain beer on my new 3-vessel system.

14/02/2014 – Pre-competition tasting – Exactly two months after the last ‘official’ tasting, the hops have really died in this; to such an extent that I’m unsure whether it could still be termed a Belgian IPA.

PM#17 – Yo-leven India Pale Ale


Having completely screwed up my last attempt at this beer, I didn’t want to waste any time in re-brewing it. In addition, I want to make sure I have some nice hoppy beer for sipping over the Autumn/Winter brewing season. I’ll be doing some brown ale and a porter in October, so I’ll need my hop fix too. I’ve designated this beer as the “Citra” beer. Plus some Cascade chucked in there for balance. I’ve got two bags of expensive Citra hops in the freezer too, which I’ll be using for my next attempt at this beer. The fermentation should be cleaner this time because I’m using a re-pitched US-05 slurry. I don’t know why, but it always gives better results than pitch dry (even rehydrated) yeast.

I’m planning on doing a Citra and Cascade dry-hop on this beer and keeping the hop bill simpler by leaving it at two different varieties. I’m resisting the urge to do a dry-hop of Chinook, as the last attempt at Yo-leven was dry-hopped with Chinook and the aroma at bottling time was immense. Of course the proof is in the drinking – if my second attempt at Yo-leven turns out to have a superior hop aroma, well then the next Yo-leven is getting a big dose of dry Chinook hops.


Boil Size: 17.00 l
Post Boil Volume: 15.11 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 15.00 l
Bottling Volume: 15.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.075 SG
Estimated Color: 9.9 SRM
Estimated IBU: 75.8 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 65.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 65.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


2.75 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM), 58.5 %
0.40 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 15L (15.0 SRM), 8.5 %
0.15 kg Biscuit Malt (23.0 SRM), 3.2 %
0.15 kg Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM), 3.2 %
0.15 kg Munich Malt (10.0 SRM), 3.2 %
20 g Cascade [7.50 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 27.6 IBUs
1.10 kg Light Dry Extract [Boil for 20 min](8.0 SRM), 23.4 %
20 g Citra [15.00 %] – Boil 15.0 min, 14.7 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
20 g Citra [15.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 11.1 IBUs
20 g Citra [15.00 %] – Boil 5.0 min, 9.2 IBUs
20 g Citra [15.00 %] – Boil 1.0 min, 9.2 IBUs
20 g Cascade [5.50 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American  (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) (450ml Slurry from previous batch of Yo-leven)
10 g Cascade [7.50 %] – Dry Hop 7.0 Days, 0.0 IBUs
25 g Citra [15.00 %] – Dry Hop 7.0 Days, 0.0 IBUs

Brew Day 09/09/2013 – Doughed in at 72.5°C and started off the mash at 67.5°C. Got 14 litres at an OG of 1.074. Very happy with that given the large amount hops soaking up the wort. Certainly a lot more successful than my last attempt at this beer. The wort is quite pale with a great hoppy aroma. Taste from the trial jar was tasty, but extremely sweet as you’d expect. Pitched 450ml of US-05 yeast slurry.

10/09/2013 – Big action going on in the fermenter this morning when I got up. The weather has suddenly turned quite cold so there’s some good ambient temperatures for fermenting a big beer like this. It’ll keep those fusel alcohols in check.

15/09/2013 – Dry-hopped with 25g Citra and 10g of Cascade (just a little to bring the size of the dry-hop up). The dry-hop I did on the last (screwed up) batch of Yo-leven gave a huge aroma out of the fermenter and that was dry-hopped for a week with a similar amount of Chinook. Will leave this one at least a week also.

22/09/2013 – Bottled with 95g of dextrose (12.5l at 2.6 vol), so this was dry-hopped for 7 days in total. Got 4 x 500ml bottles and 32 x 330ml bottles from the batch. I got just over the 12.5l out of the batch, spot-on. Fantastic aroma.

18/10/2013 – Dying to open this! It’s calling me! Must resist for another week or so…

26/10/2013 – The first sip of this was a little bit of a shock to the tastebuds. I initially thought ‘yeasty’, but it’s not yeast.. it’s alcohol. There’s quite a boozy kick in it which I’m hoping will dissipate somewhat over the next few weeks. I think it will be fine though, because I timed the last batch of Yo-leven to be at it’s peak level of conditioning at 7 weeks after bottling. I’ll try another bottle next weekend to see if it’s improved. Other than that, the hop flavour is great. Though the hops are probably being masked by the heat from the alcohol. The body of the beer seems excellent for a Double IPA, nothing too syrupy; at least, nothing that’s out of style. Carbonation level is good. Head retention really good also. On subsequent sips, it’s definitely got a big boozy nose. There’s a great deal of citrus and caramel flavour in there, but it’s being pushed into the background by the alcohol.

30/10/2013 – Getting a bit worried about this now. That booze level is still too hot for a beer that’s been in the bottle for 5 weeks. The first taste is still quite shocking, but then your tastebuds adjust to it. Not as hoppy as I was expecting either. Is the hop varieties the problem? Or is it the fact that I didn’t use pellets this time?

09/11/2013 – Hmm… still not there yet. The first sip the booze hits you, though it’s more subdued than the last time I tasted it. I think… I’m now thinking of moving closer to the first attempt I did on this. Less alcohol, taking it out of the “Double” IPA category. I’m also thinking of radically changing my approach on the hop front and dispensing with the Citra altogether. The bucket of “Trixibelle” I have at the moment is throwing out massive aromas of pine and fruit. The hops in that? My old friends Amarillo and Columbus. It’s pretty much a tried and trusted partnership and I think loading the Yo-leven with both varieties will be the way forward with this beer. The mouthfeel is really good, carbonation fine. The head retention in this version is not as good the first version, so I might go back to using wheat malt instead of the CaraPils. I think a bigger flameout addition is required, along with a bigger dry-hop, as the aroma really isn’t as prominent as it should be.

11/11/2013 – It must be getting better, because I’m opening these bottles with alarming frequency, right?? To be serious, on this occasion I’m definitely tasting a different beer. Could be because this bottle came from the shed and not from the fridge. The aroma is more prominent and it’s a lot less hazy – pretty damn clear actually. I know I was going for a stronger “Imperial/Double” style beer with this attempt, but I think the level of crystal malt is too much. I think it’s too syrupy. That, and the warmer temperature is making the beer seem like a barleywine or some other sipping beer.

12/11/2013 – These are starting to disappear! It’s getting really good now. The alcohol has definitely subsided a bit more and it does seem hoppier than on previous occasions.

PM#16 – Yo-leven India Pale Ale


Having actually done the brew before writing the introduction to this recipe, I fear that anything I write as an introduction will be pointless as this wasn’t a very successful brew day. Everything was fine until I measured my original gravity. It came in at 1.063! I almost couldn’t believe my eyes; I’ve never missed my gravity targets by this much before. Adn the sad thing is, I’m still at a loss on why it happened. There was a big gap between weighing out my malts and doing the actual brew. Because of all this hot weather we’ve been having, I abandoned this brew and just bagged up the crushed malt in ziploc bags. Is it possible Ieft some base malt out of the recipe and forgot about it? Maybe another culprit might be the mash temperature? I mashed at a pretty high temperature of 69.5C. While I was shooting for a slightly higher mash temperature, I did go a little overboard. But I didn’t adjust with cold water because I didn’t think the mash temperature would be high enough to kill off any enzymes. And I still don’t believe the mash temperature is the problem here. Maybe I under-estimated the amount of hop soakage. No more than usual though. I only got 14 litres into the fermenter. [EDIT: it turns out my inaccuracy was due to a dodgy weighing scales. See comment in notes below.]

Pretty disappointing, however, I’ll try to set out where I was going with this attempt at a re-brew. I wanted to make the beer lighter and colour and reduce the malt flavours, but still leave plenty of caramel sweetness in the beer. I’ve used different hop varieties (including my old favourite, Cascade) because I was getting a lot of grassiness from the last hop combo, which I suspected was from the flamout additions of Columbus and Summit.

The following is a summary of the changes to the grain and hop bills in this attempt.

  • No corn sugar in this attempt. The idea was to not only up the ABV slightly (by 0.2%), but to see what effect removing the corn sugar would have on the mouthfeel and flavour of the beer. Given the problems I encountered with the gravity, it’s just as well I removed the corn sugar!
  • This attempt has slightly more crystal malt, just 50g. But it’s split between 75% C15 and 25% C40.
  • The amount of wheat malt is much the same, I reduced it by 10g only to have the same percentage as the other specialty malts. I reduced the Munich malt by 50g but added 50g more biscuit malt this time. I’m not sure whether any of these changes will have much of an effect though.
  • This attempt used a sachet of fresh US-05 whereas the last attempt was fermented by a pitch of US-05 slurry.
  • This attempt has a traditional 60-minute bittering addition, instead of the 30-minute bittering addition used in the first attempt.
  • There’s three different hop varieties here, instead of six used in the last attempt. The flameout addition is slightly smaller too.


Boil Size: 17.00 l
Post Boil Volume: 15.11 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 15.00 l
Bottling Volume: 15.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.075 SG
Estimated Color: 10.6 SRM
Estimated IBU: 71.9 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 65.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 65.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


2.25 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM) , 50.6 %
0.30 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 15L (15.0 SRM) , 6.7 %
0.15 kg Biscuit Malt (23.0 SRM), 3.4 %
0.15 kg Munich Malt (10.0 SRM), 3.4 %
0.15 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM), 3.4 %
0.10 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM) , 2.2 %
0.35 kg Light Dry Extract (8.0 SRM) , 7.9 %
20 g Centennial [11.50 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 42.5 IBUs
1.00 kg Light Dry Extract [Boil for 20 min] (8.0 SRM), 22.5 %
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)
24 g Cascade [7.40 %] – Boil 15.0 min, 9.6 IBUs
24 g Centennial [11.50 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 10.2 IBUs
24 g Cascade [7.40 %] – Boil 5.0 min, 6.0 IBUs
36 g Chinook [13.30 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American  (DCL/Fermentis #US-05)
30 g Cascade [5.50 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days, 0.0 IBUs
30 g Chinook [13.00 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days, 0.0 IBUs


24/08/2013 Brew Day – As I said above, everything was going fine until I had the beer in the fermenter and realised I had missed my target gravity by 12 points! A bit of a disaster, but hopefully it will still make a tasty beer. This is likely to be pretty bitter as the IBUs are possibly too high for the OG. I might abandon my plans to do the double dry-hop on this after all. I’ll leave this in the fermenter for 2-3 weeks before bottling.

27/08/2013 – Well, the mystery has been solved… My assistant brewer and I noticed this morning that our digital scales are completely off! I did think at the time that my hop additions looked pretty small compared to previous batches. The 1.35kg of malt extract that I weighed out looked a little small too, which would explain the lower gravity. So what now? Now that I know that both my malt additions and my hop additions were lower than intended, maybe they’ll balance each other out. The wort I tasted from the sample jar was pretty sweet, not much hop bitterness coming through, but hopefully it will be okay. I considered dry-hopping this twice, in line with my original plans, but I might just be wasting hops on what might be an under-bittered and cloying beer. Now I’m thinking of just doing the single dry-hop and chalking it down to experience. What have I learned? Calibrate the weighing scales before attempting any brewing. It’s pretty bad that I can’t trust a Salter digital scales, but there you go. Fuck it, anyway…

31/08/2013 – This brew has been an unmitigated disaster and one borne out of pure carelessness. I was looking over this recipe the other day, just contemplating how the balls-up with the kitchen scales might have affected both my gravity and bitterness levels, and then it hit me.. I had completely forgotten to add my flameout addition of 36g! Complete and utter lack of attention. At this stage in my brewing career, I really should have noticed the low level of hop material in the kettle at the end of the boil. My first idea was to do a really aggressive (and probably multi-stage) dry-hop. But I don’t want to be chucking expensive hops into a brew which is so wide off the mark of my recipe. Probably better to chalk it down to experience and get on with a re-brew. So I dry-hopped today with 30g of Chinook and I’ll probably remove the hops in a weeks time, then bottle.

I had planned on re-using the yeast from this beer in a new Imperial red ale which I’m going to call “Diabolus in Lupulus”. It’s an extension of my Big Dawg Amber Ale, but using a completely different malt bill in order to achieve a completely different style of amber ale. Now however, I’m abandoning that plan in order to re-brew the Yo-leven (again!) and I’ll roll over the yeast from this batch. I even bought a new bag of Citra hops to use in the re-brew.

07/09/2013 – Bottled with 100g of dextrose (13.5l x 2.5 vol). Got 24 bottles from the batch as expected. No issues with bottling. Great hoppy aroma from the FV. The brew has a prominent bitterness, quite to my surprise, given the low IBUs. Saved the yeast slurry for the next batch of Yo-leven, which I’m brewing tomorrow.

16/10/2013 – Nearly 5 weeks in the bottle and my thoughts on this are a little mixed. Surprisingly, it seems to have just enough bitterness to carry the ABV and level of residual sweetness. But as we know, bitterness fades, so I’m guessing this one will have to be dispatched fairly quickly. It was a little yeasty, but that could be because the bottle hadn’t had any cold-conditioning in the fridge; I just took the bottle from outside. Maybe I just poured it carelessly, who knows. One disappointing aspect of the flavour is that it has the hop flavour level of an ordinary pale ale, not the huge hop bomb I was aiming for. Maybe when the yeast drops out further and conditions a bit more, the hop flavours might be more prominent. It’s also got great clarity.

I’ve adjusted the recipe in BeerSmith to account for the dodgy scales (which was ready approximately 50% of the actual weight). As such, my malt extract and hop additions were too small. Here’s the updated/actual recipe:


Boil Size: 17.00 l
Post Boil Volume: 15.11 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 15.00 l
Bottling Volume: 15.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.061 SG
Estimated Color: 9.5 SRM
Estimated IBU: 36.6 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 65.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 65.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


2.25 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM), 57.7 %
0.30 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 15L (15.0 SRM), 7.7 %
0.15 kg Biscuit Malt (23.0 SRM), 3.8 %
0.15 kg Munich Malt (10.0 SRM), 3.8 %
0.15 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM), 3.8 %
0.10 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM), 2.6 %
0.30 kg Light Dry Extract (8.0 SRM), 7.7 %
10 g Centennial [11.50 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 22.5 IBUs
0.50 kg Light Dry Extract [Boil for 20 min](8.0 SRM), 12.8 %
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)
12 g Cascade [7.40 %] – Boil 15.0 min, 5.1 IBUs
12 g Centennial [11.50 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 5.4 IBUs
12 g Cascade [7.40 %] – Boil 5.0 min, 3.2 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American  (DCL/Fermentis #US-05)
30 g Chinook [13.00 %] – Dry Hop 7.0 Days, 0.0 IBUs

Looking over the recipe, it’s pretty easy to see why the beer lacks the intended hop punch – it’s got only 76g of hops! Even a standard pale ale would have more hops than this. It’s a useful illustration though, of how important those late/flameout additions are. After forgetting my  flameout addition, I can really see a big difference in the aroma.

30/10/2013 – It’s pretty apparent this is not going to be one of my more successful brews. There’s very little hops in evidence for an IPA and the malt and yeast flavours are just not up to scratch either. There’s enough bitterness surprisingly, but not enough hop flavour.

10/11/2013 – I had thought this was improving slightly – the Belgian yeast character was starting to subside somewhat though it still had (and has) a touch of the “heads and tails” about it. I’d three bottles of it recently, and the ensuing headache was something else. On this tasting, there’s an unpleasant level of residual sweetness in it. Even though there’s still plenty of hop bitterness there, perhaps it just doesn’t have the oomph to balance all that residual sugar? Not bad though, considering the brew day was an unmitigated disaster. You’d still know this was an American ale.

PM#12 – Yo-leven India Pale Ale


With the re-brew of Big Dawg Imperial Amber bubbling away thanks to the repitched slurry from Way to Amarillo, I decided on impulse to brew my first attempt at a big West Coast style IPA. I’ll be using the other half of the slurry I saved from Way to Amarillo.

“Yo-leven” is going to be an extreme beer. I copied the Big Dawg recipe and removed the chocolate malt and dark crystal, but I added some Munich for some extra malt character. I upped the bittering hops to give a 1:1 gravity-bittering ratio, even though the massive amount of late hops will probably push this way over the 70 IBU calculated by BeerSmith. I realised that I could easily do 7 or 8 hop additions with different varieties of American hops so I’ll be using Centennial, Amarillo, Simcoe, Citra, Columbus, Summit and Cascade. I originally had a 60 minute addition of Magnum but I removed this as my IBUs were way too high and I wanted to include a 30-minute addition to add a different level of hop flavour. I don’t usually do 30-minute additions, but some people swear by them for the bigger, hoppier styles. 30-minute additions seem to be in a lot of Randy Mosher’s recipes.

The hops are all leaf hops apart from the zero minute additions of Columbus and Summit. This is going to be quite a hop monster!


Boil Size: 16.00 l
Post Boil Volume: 14.11 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 15.00 l
Bottling Volume: 15.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.070 SG
Estimated Color: 11.0 SRM
Estimated IBU: 69.6 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 65.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 65.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


  • 2.200 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM), 52.4 %
  • 0.350 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM), 8.3 %
  • 0.200 kg Munich Malt (10.0 SRM), 4.8 %
  • 0.160 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM), 3.8 %
  • 0.120 kg Biscuit Malt (23.0 SRM), 2.9 %
  • 24 g Centennial [13.50 %] – Boil 30.0 min, 30.6 IBUs
  • 0.950 kg Light Dry Extract [Boil for 20 min](8.0 SRM), 22.6 %
  • 0.220 kg Corn Sugar (Dextrose) [Boil for 20 min], 5.2 %
  • 0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)
  • 24 g Amarillo [10.90 %] – Boil 15.0 min, 12.9 IBUs
  • 24 g Simcoe [13.20 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 11.7 IBUs
  • 24 g Citra [14.80 %] – Boil 5.0 min, 11.0 IBUs
  • 24 g Columbus [14.20 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
  • 24 g Summit [16.80 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
  • 1.0 pkg Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05)
  • 20 g Citra [14.80 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days, 0.0 IBUs
  • 10 g Amarillo [10.90 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days, 0.0 IBUs


Mash Day 19/04/2013 – Prepared 17 litres of water using half a crushed campden tablet. Decanted 6 litres into separate pot for sparging. Sparged in 15 litre FV. Mashed at 66-68°C. Wort is light coloured.

Finally got around to calibrating one of my 5 gal fermenters using a jug and weighing scales. Surprised to see that the 15 litre mark indicated on the FV is actually spot-on! On so many occasions in the past, I’ve blamed my poor mash efficiency on uncalibrated fermenting buckets. At least I know now!

Boil Day 20/04/2013 – Got OG of 1.070 with volume of 14 litres. Happy enough considering there would have been a huge amount of wort loss from the large hop bill. Wort tastes awesome – really, really, really awesome.

24/04/2013 – Fermentation has mostly finished. The yeast has dropped to the bottom of the FV but there’s still plenty of fizzing at the top of the beer. I’ll be giving this 2 weeks in the FV regardless, as it’s such a big beer.

28/04/2012 – Dry-hopped with 20g of Citra and 10g of Amarillo. I’d originally planned on using 30g of Cascade to add another variety to the hop bill, but I’d just bottled a batch of the Big Dawg which has a big Cascade dry-hop and I wanted to try something different.

03/05/2013 – Anticipating a lower volume of beer than the intended 15 litres, I used only 80g of glucose to prime this batch. I got 16 x 330ml bottles (Duvel) and 13 x 500ml bottles. Pretty pleased with that. The aroma from the fermenter was just something else. Serious tropical aroma, reminded me a bit of Odell’s IPA. If it turns out to be even half as good as the Odell’s, I’ll be delighted. Had a taste from the trial jar – wow, it’s bitter! Not out of balance though, I hope. I really can’t wait to crack this one open.

18/05/2013 – A bit naughty drinking this 7.5% ale after only 2 weeks in the bottle. It does seem a little bit young, but certainly not undrinkable. Big hop flavour of course, and big bitterness. It’s a lot darker than I expected. Surprised how little of the Citra comes across, I was expecting a bit of a mango-bomb on this one. I’ll have to leave this alone for another few weeks I think, and see how it changes.

23/05/2013 – Oops, I opened another bottle of this by mistake! Like most of the beers I’m brewing these days, it’s always nice to drink, but never the beer I set out to brew in the first place. I imagined this would be a golden with a massive fruity hop flavour. But in actual fact, it’s much darker/redder than I intended it to be. It’s also got a lot more dank hop character than I expected, and not enough of that citrus-tropical character that I wanted. I’m already thinking of the re-brew of this. A lighter crystal malt and/or omitting the Munich malt will be a good start. I’ll also be replacing the Columbus and/or Summit with something fruitier. Maybe lots of Cascade, Citra or Centennial. I also think I might shave around 10 IBUs off the recipe as it’s coming across quite bitter. But then it’s not even 3 weeks in the bottle. I’ll make that judgement around the 8 week mark. Also, I wouldn’t go as far as saying the alcohol was “hot” in this beer, but the alcohol is definitely more prominent than that in the “Big Dawg”, even though they have the same ABV. Could this be the fermentation temperature? Or do the malts in the Big Dawg hide the alcohol a little better?

02/06/2013 – A month in the bottle and it’s showing a lot of promise – certainly a lot more promising than the last taste I had. It’s strange, but a week in homebrewing is a long time and can make all the difference between an immature beer and something really perfect. It’s definitely too dark in colour, which will mean changes to the grain bill on the next attempt. It’s also got a lot more malt character, which is coming from the Munich malt mostly. I’ll definitely be omitting the Munich and using a mixture of light and medium crystal malts. Hopping is really good, but I definitely want something less dank in there next time. The attenuation/mouthfeel is really good – quite a dry finish. It would probably take a little more residual sweetness from more crystal malt, but I’m not sure about this yet. As I’m planning on upping the gravity next time, I probably won’t want more crystal in there.

10/06/2013 – I’m starting to consider actually reducing the ABV in the re-brew of this beer. The alcohol is quite prominent and I think I’d like to have something a bit easier to drink. I’ve been drinking it out of the 330ml bottles and the smaller bottle is really the most you would want to drink of it. There’s some fantastic malt flavours in it – really complex. The bitterness does seem very high, though not overly off-balance.

23/06/2013 – This has matured into a really good beer. It’s extremely drinkable because of the corn sugar, so you’d drink a couple of pints of it no problem. Though I wouldn’t recommend it, as it packs quite a punch. It’s like an amplified version of every hoppy American ale I’ve ever made. It’s got more bitterness, more fruit, more alcohol, more grass, more pine, more everything. I actually think it could use a little extra caramel malt to balance all that hopping. I might look into some recipes and see how I can increase this without going overboard. I’m also starting to think that leaving it as an Imperial IPA might be the best way to go – that alcohol is really quite prominent, and I think putting this in the American IPA category might see it dinged for having too much alcohol. I still maintain that I want something less dank/piney/grassy and lots more fruit. So the Columbus and Summit have to go next time. As far as optimum bottle conditioning goes, I think 7 weeks is pretty good. Though I think it was tasting pretty good a couple of weeks ago as well.

25/06/2013 – I have it in mind to do a side-by-side comparison with Brewdog’s Hardcore IPA to see how it measures up. This beer was never intended to a clone of said beer but I’m curious to see how “Yo-leven” compares with a commercial Double IPA. Even though there’s massive differences in ABV and hop bill, I might get some valuable pointers on how to approach my next attempt at this. I had a bottle of the homebrew this evening and it had only been in the fridge for 30 mins. As such, it was quite warm – the hot alcohol has diminished and the malt flavours have really rounded out. I’m curious to see how the CaraMalt will work in this recipe.

28/06/2013 – Appearance – Both examples quite cloudy, with the Yo-leven being cloudier. Surprisingly, the HIPA has a lot of yeast floating about in it! I thought all Brewdog beers including the Hardcore were filtered to some extent. Ignoring the haze and general murkiness, both beers a similar shade of orange with the Yo-leven being a shade darker.

Aroma – The Hardcore has a more prominent hop aroma but you can also get a prominent caramel aroma too. Lots of tangerine in the Hardcore. The Yo-leven has a more ‘general’ hoppiness, but this might change as the glasses warm up.

Taste – As you’d expect, the alcohol is much more prominent in the Hardcore. There’s a very big flavour of tangerines from the Hardcore, which reminds me of odells IPA. A great flavour, I don’t know which hop is contributing this flavour – unfortunately I’ve never been able to get this flavour into my beer, no matter which American hops I’ve used. The Brewdog website lists the hop varieties as Centennial, Columbus and Simcoe. And it’s definitely not the Columbus that’s contributing this flavour. By a strange coincidence, I happen to all of those three varieties in abundance at the moment.

Mouthfeel – The hardcore is fuller bodied and is an altogether more sugary affair. I’m starting to think this isn’t really a worthwhile comparison as they’re two completely different styles of beer.

Overall Impression – Overall, this was a fairly futile side-by-side comparison. When compared with Hardcore IPA, the “Yo-leven” is deinfitely within the designated IPA style guidelines. It’s drier, and more easy-drinking. I think if I’m to make Yo-leven into an Imperial IPA I’ll need to up the gravity, up the crystal malt and maybe omit the corn sugar.

03/07/2013 – I think I’m down to my last bottle of this. It’s such a fantastic drop. I think it’s definitely loitering between the territories of IPA and DIPA. It’s got lots more of that tangerine-citrus flavour that’s in a lot of my favourite IPAs, like Odells. It’s still quite grassy and piney, so I need to dial this back a bit.

Yo-leven vs Sierra Nevada Torpedo

19/07/2013 – After getting some feedback that my beer was similar to Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo, I decided to do another side-by-side comparison with my second last bottle. The verdict is this:

Appearance – The Sierra Nevada looks the more attractive beer – a fantastic copper colour with great clarity for such a big beer. The Yo-leven is considerably darker, almost approaching chestnut colour with some copper overtones. Head formation and lacing is much more impressive in the Yo-leven however, and lasts all the way to the bottom of the glass, unlike the Torpedo.

Aroma – The Yo-leven has a very different hop aroma – understandable given the much different hop bills, but the aroma is much fresher than the commercial beer. It’s probably a younger beer though. Unfortunately, Sierra Nevada does not include manufacturing dates on their beers, but it’s well over a year to it’s BB date. A good score on the aroma front as far as I’m concerned.

Taste – The Torpedo has a fantastic grainy flavour, not much tropical fruit flavours coming across despite the alleged use of Citra hops. It’s more toffee-like. The biggest difference is the massive hop bitterness of the Torpedo, perhaps more prominent due to the lighter body? The Yo-leven is much more dank and grassy but with lots of accompanying hop fruitiness. The hops are more complex in the the Yo-leven, but the grain flavours in the Torpedo and more complex. Huge hop flavour in the Yo-leven, a much hoppier beer in general. The Yo-leven has more dark caramel flavour, not as toffee-like as the Torpedo, but it seems maltier. Great grapefruit flavour in the Torpedo.

Mouthfeel – The Torpedo is lighter in body, and much drier even there’s only around 0.3% difference in ABV. Despite the prominent toffee-caramel flavours in the Torpedo, the Yo-leven still seems more caramelly. Surprisingly gentle carbonation in the Torpedo; the Yo-leven is just slightly more lively.

Overall Impression – My opinion hasn’t changed from previous tastings of this. The Torpedo has definitely reinforced my opinion that I need to reduce the colour and soften those malt flavours a bit. The hop flavours are amazing, but still less fruity than I had hoped for. I’m also thinking of leaving the bitterness where it is at 70 IBU. After two months of aging, the bitterness has faded considerably.

Franciscan Well IPA

27/07/2013 – Finally a taste comparison with a beer that is exactly the same ABV as the Yo-leven.

Appearance – Gentle pour on both samples. Yo-leven has slightly better head formation. Both samples served in identical glasses and both very hazy. Franciscan Well IPA is a shade (or two) darker than the Yo-leven.

Aroma – Superior hop aroma coming from the Yo-leven. The Franciscan Well’s hop aroma is there but it’s not very strong. Dark malt aromas, maybe even a bit of chocolate malt creeping through?

Flavour – Definitely roasted malt flavour from the Franciscan Well and some nice hop flavour. Very dark caramel notes in the flavour which puts me in mind of an American amber. Plus there’s something about the bitterness – it’s a little too aggressive and I don’t think it works well with the dark crystal/roasted malts. The alcohol in the Franciscan Well is very balanced, no hot alcohols there. For a single-hopped Citra IPA I would be expecting a lot more tropical fruit flavours than are going on here. Yo-leven has a much bigger hop flavour and more light caramel flavours. Yo-leven also has a better balance of bitterness and residual sweetness. Once again, the dank and grassy notes of the Yo-leven come to the fore. As the glass warms, the Franciscan Well is becoming overwhelmingly yeasty, despite a very careful pour. A bit young, perhaps?

Mouthfeel – The Franciscan Well is surprisingly light-bodied for the high gravity.

Overall Impression – These two beers are definitely in the same ball park! Similar mouthfeel and level of hopping, with the Franciscan being drier and the Yo-leven with more hop character. Both excellent beers, however I would not see either of them going down well stateside. The American IPAs I’ve tasted don’t have that dark crystal thing going on. Franciscan Well have taken things a little further with the addition of some form of roasted malts, probably chocolate malt. This is just inappropriate for a beer styling itself as an American IPA. If someone handed me this beer I might even wonder if it was a heavily-hopped American barleywine that undershot it’s gravity. A very enjoyable beer but doesn’t live up to it’s IPA billing and it just doesn’t have the distinctive Citra character it should have.

PM#7 – Big Dawg Imperial Amber Ale


This is going to be my first attempt at a West-Coast American IPA. This generally means a very heavily hopped ale with vast quantities of late hops to preserve the intense citrus flavour and aroma. This will be my first time using the Summit hop, a variety which tends to divide brewers, so I’m hedging my bets and adding equal quantities of Cascade, a perennial favourite of craft/home brewers.

I’ll be taking some inspiration from The Mad Fermentationist and attempting to make this an “amber” IPA. For this I’ll be doing colour adjustments using chocolate malt. I’ve got some wheat malt and biscuit malt in there for head retention and a bready flavour respectively. I’ll also be adding a little corn sugar to increase the attenuation and ensure that this high-gravity beer doesn’t taste too syrupy.

This is the most heavily hopped beer I’ve done to date, with close to 200g going into a 15 litre batch. Brewdog, eat your heart out! 🙂

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 12.00 l
Post Boil Volume: 10.11 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 15.00 l
Bottling Volume: 15.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.071 SG
Estimated Color: 16.3 SRM
Estimated IBU: 69.9 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 65.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 65.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


  • 1.500 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM)
  • 0.350 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM)
  • 0.160 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM)
  • 0.120 kg Biscuit Malt (23.0 SRM)
  • 0.039 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt -100L (100.0 SRM)
  • 0.039 kg Chocolate Malt (530.0 SRM)
  • 0.600 kg Light Dry Extract (8.0 SRM)
  • 15 g Summit [15.50 %] – Boil 60.0 min 37.6 IBUs
  • 0.900 kg Light Dry Extract [Boil for 20 min](8.0 SRM)
  • 0.180 kg Corn Sugar (Dextrose) [Boil for 20 min]
  • 0.39 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)
  • 24 g Cascade [6.80 %] – Boil 15.0 min 7.3 IBUs
  • 24 g Summit [15.50 %] – Boil 10.0 min 13.7 IBUs
  • 24 g Cascade [6.80 %] – Boil 5.0 min 4.5 IBUs
  • 24 g Cascade [6.80 %] – Boil 0.0 min 0.0 IBUs
  • 24 g Summit [15.50 %] – Boil 0.0 min 0.0 IBUs
  • 1 pkg Safale US-05 Yeast
  • 28 g Cascade [6.80 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days 0.0 IBUs

Mash Day 03/12/2012 – Heated 8 litres of water to 72°C for mash in small brewpot. Doughed in and mash temperature settled at 67°C. Excellent. Checked after 30 minutes and mash hadn’t lost a degree so I just left it at 67°C and didn’t apply any heat to the pot as I usually would. Mash was pretty loose so I might increase my mash/liquor ratio next time in order to get more grain into my mini-mash beers. I had 5 litres of sparge water heating in the large brewpot (the kettle) but I overheated it. I added a big glass of cold water and added it but that only cooled the water down to 71°C. I figured the higher temperature might help my efficiency as it would function as a “mash-out”, dissolving some extra sugars during my dunk sparge. I didn’t squeeze the grain bag at all but I’ve got nearly 13 litres of wort now sitting on the stove and no idea if I’ll be to bring that volume to a boil. I suppose I can always boil a portion in the smaller pot if necessary.

The wort is a bit darker than I intended, but it might still come out as “amber” in the finished beer. Smells very, very nice.

I’m in a serious quandry over the Summit hops. After doing some more research on ‘tinternet, I’m seeing a lot of negative comments about Summit giving off powerful onion/garlic flavours. And the information is completely inconsistent. Some people are advising only to use as a bittering addition. Others are recommending only to use it as a late addition or dry-hop. I’m going to open the bag tonight and if I think they smell nice, I’m going to use. If they smell rank I’ll replace with Columbus. Either way, I’ll hopefully end up with the dank, powerful, hoppy IPA I’m looking for. (My next IPA is going to be lighter, slightly less pungent on the hops (Amarillo & Centennial) and slightly less alcohol.)

Brew Day 04/12/2012 – I set some heat under the brew kettle and cracked open my first ever bag of Summit hops. Got a blast of tangerines and some pungent piney aromas. That’ll do me. So I followed my original hop schedule and hopped with Summit and Cascade. It took a while to come up to a boil but the cooker just about managed it. Serious amount of hop material which I strained out using a sieve. I was too tired to calibrate my large fermenter as planned so I just topped up with water to just over 13 litres and got an SG reading of 1.078. SO I added some more water to just under the 15 litre line. I didn’t want to overshoot it as there was a lot of foam on top of the wort. I pitched about 400ml of yeast slurry from the “Hoppy Feet Pale Ale” which is just over 2 weeks old. It’s currently foaming away. I hope to get 24 bottles out of this batch given that I’ll be doing a very big dry-hop. The sample from the trial jar was incredibly sweet and very hoppy as expected. I’ll probably leave it go for 2 weeks before dry-hopping for a week.

11/12/2012 – Dry-hopped with 28g Cascade in a muslin bag weighed down with 2 sanitised shot glasses. I also topped up with a little extra cold water as i don’t want to overshoot my FG.

16/12/2012 – Bottled using 90g table sugar, my first time to use plain old sucrose. Based on 14 litres at 2.5 vol. In actual fact I got less than 14 litres out of the batch, so I hope it’s not over-carbonated. I was happy to get two whole crates (24 bottles) out of it, though I did have to pull off some very yeasty beer out of the first fermenter using a turkey baster in order to make up the last bottle. For the first time ever, I didn’t have a taste – hope it’s okay. Smells very powerfully hoppy so I might have to leave this alone for a few months to let it calm down!

12/01/2013 – First taste and the surprising thing is that it’s extremely mature and drinkable after less than 4 weeks in the bottle. The hop flavour and aroma is absolutely awesome – lots of orange and grapefruit underpinned by a smooth toffee backbone. The biscuit and wheat malts are in there too, giving a nice grainy flavour. The only downside in an otherwise amazing beer is that the colour is far too dark. Not that I’m bothered about where it fits into the style guidelines, but the fact that it’s quite cloudy from the intentionally excessive hopping means that the beer looks extremely murky. No bother, I’ll drink with my eyes closed. And omit the chocolate malt next time..

13/01/2013 – Tonight I had a very nice example of the India Pale Ale style from the Norwegian craft brewery, Nogne. Very delicious obviously, but it’s interesting to note the differences between a commercial IPA and my homebrewed version. Even though both beers were exactly 7.5% ABV the commercial beer was so much drier. Extremely dry in fact. I can’t imagine Nogne are using sugar to dry the beer out so I can only conclude they achieve this by using a low mash temperature and judicious use of crystal malts. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really pleased with my own beer, it’s just not really an IPA. I think it would be better described as an “Imperial Amber” ale due to the colour and the much higher sweetness and body.

08/02/2013 – Very high hopes for this beer in the forthcoming National Homebrew Championship. I’ve entered it as an “Imperial Amber Ale” in the “Specialty” category – a safer bet as it doesn’t fit into any other category. It’s like a super-charged version of 5am Saint, though it doesn’t have the same dank hop flavour.

06/03/2013 – What a fantastic way to finish this post. “Big Dawg” Imperial Amber Ale won a bronze medal in the inaugral National Homebrew Championship. The beer scored a whopping 40 points (the best of show also scoring 40!) to win 3rd place in the “Specialty” category. The category winners were decided by the following judges:

  • Grainne Walsh (Co-owner and brewer with Metalman Brewing Company)
  • Patrick Gallagher (Brewer at Donegal Brewing Company)
  • Ciaran Kelly (Qualified professional brewer with Carlow Brewing Company, producers of O’Hara’s)
  • John Devlin (Premier International, Beer Importers)

Now, what to do with the remaining 3 bottles… 🙂

PM#3 – Chasing Tail Pale Ale

Time to step my “American ale” brewing up a gear. I want to make my first partial mash IPA but I don’t want to use the recipe contained in “Brewing Classic Styles”. At 7.1% ABV it might be too much extract for my primitive partial boil system to handle. So, I’m using a recipe for BrewDog’s Punk IPA that I found in an old issue of BYO magazine. The recipe dates from when Punk IPA had a higher ABV (6%) than it does currently. The brewsheet on BrewDogs website specifies “biscuit malt” but the clone recipe accompanying the BYO article makes no mention of this ingredient. So I’ve included some of this, as I want to cheat some grainy/bread flavour into my extract beers. Will it work out?

The Columbus and Amarillo hops should give the beer that distinctive “BrewDog” flavour and aroma. I’m thinking the dankness of the Columbus will pair well with the fruitniess of the Amarillo. I’ve also got half an ounce of Ahtanum knocking around, which the boys at BrewDog use quite extensively. So that’s going in too. Will do a dry-hop too. It’s a pity – I don’t have a lot of my precious 2011 Amarillo hops left. Hopefully this brew will be a good use for them.

Category: American IPA
Recipe Type: Partial Mash
Batch Size: 19 L
Volume Boiled: 11 L
Total Grain/Extract: 3.55 kg
Total Hops: 117.0 g

Targets: OG: 1060, FG: 1014, IBU: 65 SRM: 8, ABV: 6% (BYO Punk IPA)


  • 0.125 kg CaraMalt
  • 0.325 kg Crystal 30L
  • 0.5 kg Maris Otter Pale
  • 0.1 kg Biscuit Malt
  • 1.3 kg Dry Extra Light
  • 1.1 kg Dry Extra Light
  • 0.1 kg Wheat Dry
  • 22g Columbus (Pellets, 15.00 %AA) boiled 60 min.
  • 28g Amarillo (Whole, 8.50 %AA) boiled 10 min.
  • 14g Ahtanum (Whole, 6.00 %AA) boiled 5 min.
  • 28g Columbus (Whole, 15.00 %AA) boiled 1 min.
  • 25g Amarillo (Whole, 8.50 %AA) used as dry hop.
  • 0.5 ea. Whirlfloc Tablets (15 mins)
  • Yeast: Fermentis Safale US-05


Brewday: Got an OG of 1060, right on target.

27/07/2012 – Dry hopped with Amarillo.

31/07/2012 – Bottled into glass bottles (red caps). Primed using 140g dextrose but had siphon problems so primed less than 18 litres. Hopefully, there will be no bombs going off!

14/09/2012 – First taste of this. (Well, second taste really. I opened a bottle of this after coming home from the Irish Craft Ale festival in the RDS recently. I’d guess my taste buds were pretty numb at that point in the evening). Anyway, it looks like this recipe was a great success. The bitterness is absolutely perfect at 60IBU (I was shooting for 5 IBU less than the published recipe). Great hop flavour and aroma, the Columbus and Amarillo do pair exceptionally well together. The star of the show (and a big surprise to me) is the prominent toasted bread flavour the biscuit malt contributes towards the beer. It’s absolutely fantastic, probably the best American ale I’ve made to date. Biscuit malt ftw!

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