Homebrew: Afront Black IPA

Submitted by DM on Tue, 30/07/2013 - 22:50

With my last brew - Goldings Brown - ending up very hazy even after several weeks in the bottle & reminding me how much I'm not so fussed about ordinary English style hops: I thought I'd go for one of these new-fangled afronts to the English language: a Black IPA.   This is exactly the kind of wacky craft beer that appears at my new favourite beer fest: the Indy Man Beer Con.

Mash: 1 hour 30 min nominally, as there was a 20 minute delay between mash & boil due to an RCD unit breaking without me realising for a while.   The temperature was 67ºC for most of the time, but slipped down to 64ºC & up to 72ºC during the last 30 mins before ending at 67ºC finally.

5.00 Kg Maris Otter Pale Malt

250g Carafa Special 3

Boil: 1 hour 10 mins.

30g of Cascade hops (7.7% alpha acid) at 20 mins.

30g of Cascade hops (7.7% alpha acid) at 30 mins.

30g Chinook hops (13.8% alpha acid) at 40 mins.

30g Cascade hops (7.7% alpha acid) at 50 mins.

30g Citra hops (14.8% alpha acid) at 60 mins.

30g Amarillo hops (10.9% alpha acid) at 60 mins.

5g Irish Moss at 60 mins.

This yielded 18 litres of wort. The handy calculator gives me a bitterness of 166 IBUs although most of the hops are added late in the boil meaning this will be hoppier than this bitterness level suggests. The alcohol level should be in the 7.1% region.

Fresh US-05 yeast was scattered into the fermenting vessel & the cooled wort splashed straight onto it.

Bottled after 11 days fermenting.

Verdict on bottling: some roast malt coffee-like flavour, but massive grapefruit hoppiness & bitterness.

Verdict 2 weeks after bottling: needs a little more time to carbonate more & reduce the overall sweetness, but its a full bodied OTT citrus-piney American style IPA with a fair amount of roasted malt flavour & of course black.   This will be really good in another couple of weeks time.

Verdict 11 weeks after bottling: A beer to be proud of!   Not an over-the-top hop blast beer, but a strong citrus hoppiness in a big bodied beer.   The roast flavour from the Carafa Special 3 is gentle as I intended it to be.   I'd like to try this again, but with dry hopping & maybe just 200g of Carafa to give it more IPA character.

Verdict 13 weeks after bottling: Much as at 11 weeks.   Full bodied, but fairly dry.

Verdict 5 months: this beer took a rapid turn for the worse at around 4 months, becoming massively diacetyl infused & cardboardy in a period of a weeks or so.   I suspect that its the oxygen getting through the PET bottles & will have to make sure my beers have a better turnover.

Following a beer swap 2 weeks ago Mark and myself gained a couple of bottles of this home brew. Very dark as a Black IPA should be but no real notable taste of the grain used to give the colour, may be a slight sweetness. Nice and hoppy although not massively in your face hopness. A really great beer.