IPA – Hopily Ever After

Well the wedding is over and I’m finally all caught up on the backlog of blog posts and work stuff. Rebecca and I got married on January 31st and everything went swimmingly! I’ve had this post sitting in my drafts since January so I’m going to post this one before I start working on non-wedding beer posts. We served 11 kegs of unique beers at the reception, and I’ll have a post talking about that and what it was like to brew for such a big event. We spent a week touring Colorado and visiting breweries, so I think I’ll have a post about that too. This is going to be the last wedding beer I write a blog post about since 15 beers is a bit much to blog about. Also there isn’t anything overly exciting or innovative to say about three IPAs using the same process with slightly different recipe. I was able to use the ones so far to give a bit of an overview to my process and recipe formulation though.

This was one of my favourite beers at the wedding. It’s a fairly simple recipe with common ingredients but it turned out fantastic, with that high level of hop aroma that people chase. When it comes to hoppy beers I like to keep the bitterness low, and focus on fruity hop flavours instead of pine, which I find comes off as garlic and onion when used too much. I used a mix of citrus and pine hops at a ratio of more than 2:1 to strike a balance between the two. I find that pine and resin hop flavours punch through much more readily than citrus hop flavours so more citrusy hops are needed to balance things out. In this case I used an oz of Centennial and Simcoe at 5 minutes for flavour and bitterness, the same at 0 minutes with 1.5 oz of Citra added in to up the citrus character and help strike a balance of flavour. In the dry hop I stuck with the same three hops to avoid muddling the flavour, again using higher amounts of citrus focused hops to hit the flavour profile I was looking for.


My IPA grain bill is fairly standard consisting of mostly Domestic 2 Row, a bit of Munich I for colour and a hint of breadiness, and some Wheat Malt for head retention. I use US Magnum to bitter since it is such a clean hop that produces a smooth bitterness. I use San Diego Super Yeast (WLP090) as my house yeast for clean beers. It seems more and more of my blogger friends are starting to prefer Vermont Ale Yeast for hoppy beers so I may give that a try in a future iteration of the recipe. If I hadn’t been brewing this for a crowd I probably would have hit it with some gelatin as well to help clear it out, you can see how cloudy it was when I took this picture about 2 weeks before the wedding. I knew a few wedding attendees were vegetarian so I stayed away from gelatin in respect to them.

Hopily Ever After

Brewed: Dec 1, 2014
Kegged: Dec 22, 2014
Targets: OG: 1.058, FG: 1.009, ABV: 6.4%
Actual:   OG: 1.058, FG: 1.007, ABV: 6.7%
53 IBU

Batch Size: 6 gallons
Mash: 150°F for 60 mins @ 1.50 qt/lb thickness
Boil: 60 minutes
Pre-boil Volume: 7.25 gallons pre-boil
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%

Grain Bill
10 lbs  2 Row 2L (G&P)  [87%]
1 lbs  Munich I 6L (Weyermann)  [8.7%]
8 oz  Wheat Malt 2L (G&P)  [4.3%]

Boil Additions
1.0 oz US Magnum 12.2% AA @ 60 mins (39.3 IBU)
1 whirlfloc, 2 g DAP yeast nutrient @ 10 mins
1.0 oz each Centennial 10.6% AA & Simcoe 12.7% AA @ 5 mins (6.8 IBU & 8.2 IBU)
1.0 oz each Centennial 10.6% AA & Simcoe 12.7% AA @ 0 mins
1.5 oz Citra 13.7% AA @ 0 mins

Dry Hop
1.0 oz each Simcoe 12.7% AA
1.5 oz each Centennial 10.6% AA & Citra 13.7% AA

Water and pH
Mash pH target: 5.38 pH (Bru’n Water)
Water Volumes: mash 4.43 gallons, sparge 4.31 gallons
Gypsum: 3.8 g in mash, 3.7 g in sparge
Calcium Chloride: 0.9 g in mash, 0.9 g in sparge
Lactic Acid: 2.9 mL in mash, 1.8 mL in sparge
Water Profile: Ca = 101.9 ppm, Mg = 9 ppm, Na = 15 ppm, SO4 = 154.2 ppm, Cl = 51.8 ppm, HCO3 = -11.3 ppm, RA = -87 ppm, SO4:Cl = 3.0

WLP090 (~223 Billion cells)
Pitch at 62°F
Aerate with 90 seconds of O2
Controller set to 64°F
Bump up to 72°F on Day 4

The brew day was pretty standard. I mashed in with 4.43 gallons of 162°F water and hit 150.5°F initial mash temp, pretty much right on target. My measured pH was a bit high 5.74 pH, so I added 1.5 mL of lactic acid and brought it down to 5.52 pH. After batch sparging into the kettle I had 7.25 gallons of 1.049 SG wort pre-boil. Following the 60 minute boil I managed to hit the target OG right on at 1.058 OG. I chilled/recirculated the batch down to 170°F using my counterflow chiller then threw in the 0 minute hops and let it whirlpool with the chilling water off for 20 minutes. After the whirlpool I chilled, drained 5.5 gallons into the fermenter, pitched the yeast, then oxygenated. I was left with a beauty trub cone as you can see in the picture below.DSC_2527[1]I fermented this beer low (63°F) to keep minimal esters from coming through. Due to the amount of beers that were in the pipeline at the time it took until day 18 before I had time to check gravity and transfer into my dry hopping keg. The final gravity was fairly low at 1.007, thanks to WLP090. I have found that the longer I keep re-pitching the strain the more attenuation I get. The dry hop keg got the 4 oz of hops from the recipe above and sat for 3 days, cold crashed for 1 day, then transferred into a keg for carbonation. The dry hop keg is set up with a stainless strainer on the output to allow me to dry hop free and without any bags. I got the idea from one of my favourite blogs, Bear-Flavoured and his post on his dry hopping method.

Unfortunately this keg got killed at the wedding so I wasn’t able to have more than a handful of tastes over the few weeks this beer was in my possession. However, every time I smelled a sample I had to smile since the aroma was the perfect combo of fruity citrus and resiny pine. It definitely hit the mark on what I would consider to be a fantastic example of a west coast IPA. I will be re-brewing a beer similar to this in the next few months since I loved the aromatic qualities that his ratio of hop combos gave the IPA.

Thanks for reading! Sorry it took me a month and a half to follow up my last blog post. Hopefully getting married is a good excuse? I have lots of ideas for this blog now that my brewing schedule is freed up. I would like to experiment with new (to me) malts, brew more lagers, and put together some more experimental and instructional posts. I’m also working on putting together a summary post on tips for opening different stitching patterns on grain bags. Cheers!

15 thoughts on “IPA – Hopily Ever After

    • Hey Chris. That’s strange since I formulated my recipe for 53 IBU specifically because it is on the low end of bitterness for IPAs. Did you use US Magnum for bittering? What were the AA on your stock?


      • I brewed it too, and didn’t find it too bitter at all. Any bitterness finishes really quickly. Everybody who’s tried it finds it very crisp. Solid recipe.


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