Tag Archives: India Pale Ale

Homebrew: Fresh Hop Ale

I collected this year’s hop harvest two weeks ago, and today we finally brewed a beer with them. This is the first time I’m using homegrown hops, so am really looking forward to tasting the final beer! Technically, this wasn’t actually a fresh hop ale, since I dried the hop cones before using them – but I’ll call this a fresh hop ale anyways. Since I’m not sure about the alpha acid content of these hops, we decided to use them only as flame-out hops, and instead use some Herkules at the beginning of the boil. This way we will hopefully extract the maximum aroma out of them as well. The homegrown hops weren’t very aromatic, so I’m expecting mostly grassy flavors and less of the typical citrus and pine resin. But hopefully I’ll be positively surprised! The post-boil wort had a slight perfume-like tone, which might have been hop-derived. For the malt bill, we went with a very simple 90% Maris Otter and 10% Carapils to an OG of around 1.050. This should let the hops shine (if they do). For the yeast, we used a really fruity ale strain that I’ve developed at work (more about that in a future post). I’m hoping it will compliment the hops, and make for a refreshing and crisp fresh hop ale! We will see in a couple of weeks!


This was the first time we brewed at our ‘new’ basement brewery (we moved there 1.5 years ago – yes, we’ve been extremely slow with the renovation), and I’m happy to say that everything went really smoothly. We were done in 5 hours and 30 minutes, reached almost 70% brewhouse efficiency, and the ventilation system (a really powerful inline exhaust fan) worked amazingly well. Looking forward to brewing a bit more regularly from now on!

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Homebrew: Wedding IPA – American IPA

Yesterday I brewed the fifth and final batch of beer for my wedding in August (see previous posts for the Wedding Pils, Wedding Blond, Wedding Hybrid, and Wedding APA): an American IPA loaded with hops and fermented with Conan. I’ve brewed a slightly similar recipe before (see here), and while it was a nice beer, it ended up a bit too sweet with WLP007. This time I’m changing up the hop bill slightly based on what I have in the freezer, and I’ll be fermenting the wort with Conan. I’m hoping for a hoppy and bitter IPA, with loads of fruity aromas from both the hops and the yeast.

The malt bill is similar to the APA I brewed last week, and it consists of Maris Otter, Munich, CaraPils and CaraAmber.  I mashed quite low (63C) in order to get a very fermentable wort. I’ve used Conan a couple of times before and I’ve ended up with around 78% attenuation. I aimed for an original gravity just below 1.070, in order to get a beer with around 7.5% ABV. For the hops, I chose to bitter with Herkules (using up the last from a 100g bag), added some Cascade and Centennial during the boil, and at flameout I added even more Cascade and Centennial together with some Amarillo. The bitterness levels should be around 70-80 IBU, depending on how much the whirlpool hops contribute. I pitched a 1.5L starter of Conan after I had cooled the wort down to around 20C. I placed the fermenter in my fermentation fridge and set the fermentation temperature to 19C. I checked the fermenter 24 hours later, and it was fermenting violently with krausen coming out of the airlock. After a quick clean-up things were looking good again. Man it was smelling good inside the fermentation fridge!

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Tasting Impressions: Sim/arillo IPA

The ‘single malt’ IPA, hopped with Simcoe and Amarillo, that we brewed slightly over a month ago, has now been in the keg for around three weeks. This means it’s time to write up some tasting notes of the beer, while its still at its prime. Quite a lot of trub ended up in the fermenter as we transferred from the boil kettle, and it seems to have had a positive effect on the clarity of the beer. It was crystal-clear when transferred to the keg, despite using US-05 and no cold crash, and only had the slightest chill haze when served. It looks cloudier in the picture below, because of condensation on the outside of the glass. Anyways, to the tasting notes!


The beer pours with a golden color with slight hints of orange. It is surprisingly dark for a malt bill of only Maris Otter. As mentioned, there is a slight amount of chill haze, that disappears as the beer warms up in the glass. A white, oily foam head is formed during the pour, and it collapses slowly leaving drapes of lacing along the glass. A really nice, and very typical, appearance for an IPA.

The beer is really exploding with hop aroma, and it just jumps to your face out of the glass as you close in. There are tones of citrus (specifically grapefruit), pineapple, pine resin and floral perfume. A really nice and fresh hop aroma, that is really hard to find from commercial beers (at least here in Finland, when the time from bottling to serving can be several months). Not much other hops in the aroma, which is the way I like it for IPAs.

The flavor is mostly hop-dominated as well, with very little presence of any malt or yeast tones. The flavor begins with hints of biscuits and malts, but these are instantaneously overtaken by a resiny hoppiness. While the aroma was very fruity, the flavor draws more towards the resiny, piney, earthy and grassy part of the spectrum. There are slight tones of grapefruit in the background as well, but these are more subtle than what could be found in the aroma. The flavor finishes dry and with a hefty bitterness that suits the style. The mouthfeel is dry and light, and the carbonation level is medium-low, which I think suits the beer well. A typical West Coast IPA, with a flavor that is solely focused on the hops and that finishes dry and bitter. Even though the aroma was amazingly fruity, I wish the beer had slightly more of those tones in the flavor as well. Otherwise a really nice homebrew!

Homebrew: Sim/arillo IPA

It has been way too long since my last brewday, so it felt really nice to brew once again last Sunday. Activity on the blog has also been low the previous months, I apologize for that. I bottled the berry version of the Sour Ale in December, so should soon be able to post some tasting notes on both versions of the beer. The base beer is actually quite nice, and am sad to say that I’m already down to my last bottle. During the spring, I will also be posting some (hopefully interesting) posts on the research I’ve been doing for my PhD thesis. I’m at least very excited about my results 🙂

Anyways, back to the beer and the brewday. My friend Marcus joined the brewday, and we decided to brew a simple IPA with whatever hops we had in the freezer. Since I’ve never brewed a beer with only base malt (I even added some speciality malts to the Pilsner I brewed 2 years ago), we decided to go with a malt bill of 100% Maris Otter (also some leftovers). For hopping, I had originally planned a combination of Citra and Simcoe, but on the brewday that changed to Amarillo and Simcoe. Apparently I had remember incorrectly, as I wasn’t able to find any Citra in the freezer. Amarillo and Simcoe should be a good combination though. We went with a 50 IBU bittering addition, and then added relatively big amounts of hops towards the end of the boil. I guess the IBUs will be in the 70-85 range. The brewday went extremely smoothly, and we hit all our numbers correctly (OG of 1.064). We even managed to squeeze out an extra liter of wort. We chilled to around 20C, pitched a packet of US-05 that I had in the fridge (Exp. 02/2015), and placed the fermenter in an ambient temperature of 17C. 5 hours after pitching there was already activity in the airlock, and today fermentation was progressing nicely. The fermentation aromas are smelling great, and the wort tasted really promising, so expectations are going up. We will still dry hop with both Amarillo and Simcoe (50g each), which should give the beer aroma some really nice citrus, resin and pineapple notes.

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Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA

I haven’t posted anything for a while, since I’ve been on vacation (including a two week trip to Berlin and Amsterdam), but I thought I’d review a beer I bought a while ago. I will be having a short break in homebrewing as well, since we are moving our garage brewery to a new location, and we need to do some renovating before it is ready to use. During the summer I’ve though brewed a couple of small batches (IPAs) on my old cooler + 20 liter kettle setup, which I’ll write about later. I also organized a single hop tasting with 9 beers a little over a month ago, which I hopefully will have time to write about at some point. Anyways, to the beer, which has quite a reputation in the craft beer world.


  • Brewery: Dogfish Head Brewery
  • Country: USA
  • Style: American IPA
  • ABV: 6 %
  • Size: 355 ml
  • Bought from: Online
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer

This is the first time I try a beer from Dogfish Head, which is a brewery I quickly came across during my early days of my ‘beer hobby’. The brewery is one of the larger craft breweries in the USA (founded by Sam Calagione in 1995), is known for their unconventional beer, and it has featured in various TV shows (Brew Masters) and documentaries (Beer Wars) about beer. Their 60 minute IPA was released in 2003, and it is an IPA that has been hopped continuously (i.e. small additions of hops are added throughout the boil, instead of e.g. an addition at the beginning and end of the boil) throughout the 60 minute boil. The beer is 6.0% ABV and has a IBU level of, yes, 60. I don’t have much ‘official’ information on the ingredients in the beer, but from what I’ve gathered from around the internet (homebrew forums), the malt bill consists of pale ale and TF amber malt, the beer is hopped with a mixture of Warrior, Amarillo and Simcoe, and it is fermented with a Ringwood-related yeast strain. My bottle was bottled in the middle of March 2014, so it isn’t super-fresh, but still fresher then many US beers you find around here. The beer sounds interesting on paper, but does it live up to the hype?

[easyreview title=”Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours crystal clear, and it has a deep golden color (with some slight hints of orange). A massive fluffy head is formed during pour, and it collapses slowly, leaving drapes of lacing along the glass. A really nice appearance!” cat1rating=”4.5″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is mostly hop-dominated at first, featuring tones of pine resin, mango and candied citrus zest. You can detect a slight maltiness in the background, contributing with tones of caramel and freshly toasted bread. As the beer warms up, the maltiness becomes more and more evident. Not the typical West Coast IPA aroma that one is used to.” cat2rating=”4″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The taste begins with a bready maltiness, with tones of toasted malts and caramel. These are then joined by an earthy, dank, resiny hoppiness. Some citrus and tropical fruits hide in the background, but I assume Amarillo dominated the dry hops, while Simcoe dominates the kettle hops. The finish is semi-dry and during the first sips, the bitterness seems surprisingly low for an IPA. The flavors are quite well balanced, but wished there was slightly more bitterness and a little less of the maltiness present, as it feels more like a hoppy amber ale at the moment. As the beer warms up, the bitterness level seems to increase a bit.” cat3rating=”3.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a moderate body and carbonation level, and it is quite easily drinkable. However, the combination of toastiness and bitterness draw away from it slightly. This would not be my first choice for a thirst quencher on a warm summer day.” cat4rating=”3.5″ summary=”Overall a great beer, but it didn’t really live up to the huge expectations. This was a malty IPA that had more focus on toasted malts than caramel. The hop profile (with more weight towards resin, earthiness and dankness) fit the toasty maltiness well though, as I feel really fruity hops tend to clash with toasted (and roasted) malts. I have a bottle of 90 Minute IPA as well, which I will be trying next. Hopefully it impresses me more!”]

Homebrew: UJ IPA

Today I brewed an IPA inspired by Can You Brew It’s Firestone Walker Union Jack episode, since it is one of my favorite commercial beers. The original beer features a really nice hoppy aroma and a perfectly balanced flavour. I am hoping to achieve something even remotely similar, and looking to have it ready for drinking in the beginning of May when the weather starts to get warmer. The malt bill featured a base of Pilsner and Munich malt, together with dashes of CaraPils and CaraAroma. The original gravity (consequently the ABV%) ended up slightly lower than the original/CYBI clone, but hopefully it shouldn’t affect the final product much. I used Herkules for bittering, since I have some 2012 harvest left in the freezer. The flavour and aroma hops were equal doses of Cascade and Centennial. The calculated IBUs clocked in at 75, so there should be plenty of bitterness to go with the hop flavours and malt tones. I’ve been having some problems getting WLP002 to ferment dry enough, so I thought I’d try WLP007 instead. The brewday went very smoothly for once and the post-boil wort tasted promising, so am really looking forward to seeing how this one turns out!

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Tasting Impressions: New Year IPA

Yesterday, we bottled the batch of American IPA that we brewed in the end of December. The beer fermented down to 1.013, giving it an ABV of 7.5%. It had been in the keg together with 50 g of Nelson Sauvin and 50 g of Galaxy for 2 weeks. Today I thought I’d pop the first bottle, and see how it tastes extremely fresh. We tried clearing the beer with gelatin a couple of days before bottling, but it seems to have had no effect, as the beer is really hazy. The beer pours with a hazy golden, almost orange, color and a slight off-white oily head is formed (quite a careful pour). I wish it was slightly clearer, but heavily dry-hopped beers usually are cloudy. The aroma is extremely hoppy, with tones of tropical fruits, citrus and resin. There is maybe a slight malty sweetness hiding behind all the hops. A really nice aroma, which gets my expectations up high for the flavour. The flavour begins with a slight initial maltiness, but it quickly gets overtaken by a massive fruitiness from the hops. This almost tastes like drinking a glass of multi vitamin fruit juice. The flavour ends with a semi-dry finish and a moderate bitterness. I’m surprised the bitterness isn’t more present, especially with the 100+ theoretical IBUs. Could maybe use slightly more bitterness to help balance the flavours. Can’t really detect any major off-flavours, which I’m happy about, but there is a slight grassiness in the flavour, which I assume is from the heavy dry hopping. Hopefully that will fade in the upcoming weeks. Overall, I’m very happy with this beer!

The Perfect IPA?

Having just come home from our old apartment (where I did some last minute cleaning, before we have to hand it over to the new tenants), tired and exhausted, I decided I should reward myself with a beer. I take a quick look into my new dedicated beer fridge (which I will soon integrate into a bar counter; will probably make a post once I get it finished), and see a bottle of Firestone Walker’s Union Jack. The beer is bottled in the end of June, so it should be fresh (at least from a Finnish point-of-view). I pour up the beer, and the room already fills with citrusy and floral hop aroma. A beautiful beer. Strong hop aroma. Tones from C-hops, Amarillo and Simcoe. The flavor is perfectly balanced. A relatively light maltiness, combines with loads of citrus and resin from the hops, and ends in a lingering bitterness. The beer feels so smooth. Is this the perfect IPA? I think so.

Homebrew: V IPA

Last Thursday we brewed up a 25-liter batch of an APA/IPA hybrid. The name (V) refers to the fact that we used five different hop varieties, five different malt types, US-05 yeast, aimed for an OG of 1.055, and an ABV of 5.5%. For the malt bill, we used one inspired by the APA/IPAs we brewed in April last year, consisting of Pale Ale, Munich, Carapils, Crystal 60 and Melanoidin malt. I really like how this combination gives the beer a solid honey-like malty backbone, despite the beer being relatively light. For hops, we decided to hop burst again, and used Columbus for FWH, and then combinations of Amarillo, Columbus, Mosaic and Simcoe for the late kettle hops. After flameout we still pumped the wort through a HopRocket filled with Nelson Sauvin hops. This should hopefully give the beer both some tropical fruitiness and some dank resiny tones. Mosaic is a new hop for me, and it will be interesting to see if it brings anything special to the mix. I’ve read that it can lend some subtle blueberry tones, which sounds interesting, but it will most likely be difficult to detect any subtle tones with the hop mix. We aimed for about 60 IBU, but it will most likely feel like less because of the hop scheme (maybe 55?). We decided to play it safe with the yeast, and chose to use US-05 dry yeast, since it has produced good beers for us before. Hopefully this one (and the Simcade Pale Ale) turns out drinkable, since we’ve had quite bad luck with our last couple of batches. Will be dry hopping both these batches later this week.

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BrauKunstKeller Laguna IPA

  • Brewery: BrauKunstKeller
  • Country: Germany
  • Style: American IPA
  • ABV: 6.6 %
  • Size: 330 ml
  • Bought from: Berlin Bier Shop
  • Not on Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer

Despite having one of the largest beer scenes in the world, brewing in Germany is very traditional and there are few new-wave craft brewers drawing inspiration from the scene in e.g. USA, Scandinavia, and the UK. BrauKunstKeller is a new German craft brewer, drawing inspiration from the more hoppy brews and currently brewing small experimental batches, to find his style and market. I managed to grab some of the last bottles left (three different kinds) from BrauKunstKeller at Berlin Bier Shop when I was there over the New Year’s, but I imagine there will be new beers (most likely with new recipes) available there soon, if not already. First up, is what looks to be a typical West Coast IPA, hopped with Centennial, Cascade and Chinook, and brewed with Pale Ale, Munich and Crystal malt. The first thing that strikes me is that the ingredient list is very similar to the Pale 31-inspired beer I brewed on Sunday, which sounds promising! The beer seems to have been bottled in the end of October, so should be quite fresh! Let’s see how it tastes!

[easyreview title=”BrauKunstKeller Laguna IPA” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a slightly hazy amber-orange color, and a slight creamy off-white head is formed with the pour, but it collapses quite quickly. There are some drapes of lacing left along the glass. Nice appearance, but could have used a fluffier head.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is a blend of caramel and hop tones, with resiny, floral, citrusy and almost berry-like tones. The aroma reminds me a lot of my homebrewed American Strong Ale/IPA. For an IPA, this could perhaps have used a slightly more bright and fresh hop punch, but I like the caramelly sweetness behind the hop nose as well.” cat2rating=”3.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins with a similar caramelly maltiness that was present in the aroma. A subtle dank, earthy and resiny hoppiness joins in with the malt, but the hop flavors aren’t ‘in your face’. The beer finishes semi-dry and with a quite light bitterness. No off-flavors or other problems, which is nice to see, but I feel the recipe could use some adjustments still. The bitterness seemed quite light for the style so would personally raise it 10-20 IBU, but the low bitterness might have been the purpose (i.e. not to make the beer to extreme for the German market). Would also use slightly more flavor/aroma hops and decrease the percentage of crystal malt a notch, to give more room for the hop flavors and crisp up the flavor a bit. Otherwise really nice, and I somehow recognize my own homebrews in this beer.” cat3rating=”3.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a medium body and a medium-low carbonation level. It is quite easy to drink, but it feels slightly flat in the mouth and could use slightly more carbonation.” cat4rating=”3.5″ summary=”I was pleasantly surprised by this beer, and it was definitely a good ‘first try’ by this German nanobrewer. It was easy to drink, but a little wimpy on the hop front, as it could have used some more bitterness and hop flavors. I have another IPA by BrauKunstKeller in the fridge, and am looking forward to trying that beer as well. Do give the beers a try if you ever get the chance!”]