I don’t exactly know why, but I ended up buying a whole lot of very high alpha acid hops. For my non-homebrewer readers, the higher the alpha acid in a hop variety, the more bitterness you can boil out of it to flavor your beer. As a general rule, these hops also have more intense scents to them as well which make them excellent for dry hopping purposes, but when adding them to a boil it’s usually a good idea to err on the side of caution, or else the beer becomes overhopped and resiny. Which is fine for most NW styles of IPAs, but there’s an art to making a proper one that’s hoppy and drinkable and I’m going to try to work that angle for once.
In order to get some sweetness in this beer, I steeped a quarter pound of honey malt, and half a pound of caramunich belgian malt for about thirty minutes. I did this not only for sweetness, but also so I could get a more amber color in the beer. Next up I added 7.34 pounds of light malt extract which seems like a lot, but doesn’t do a lot for impacting the color of beer because it’s so light. I could have used an amber or even dark malt extract, but I’ve been told that light malt extract is the ‘cleanest’ when it comes to its flavor profile, allowing the other ingredients to come through, so unless a recipe calls for it I always try to use that.
With 60 minutes to boil I added one ounce of Autanum hops, which contain 8% alpha acids. These went in first because my pouch of hops was already open, and because much stronger hops were going to be added later and I don’t want the bitterness of this beer to be overwhelming.
At 30 minutes in the boil, I put in about half an ounce of Newport hop which come in at 11.2% AA. I went a bit easy on the Newport for two reasons; first there’s only so much you can get out of hops in a boil like this, and second I wanted to use the majority of them for the dry hopping when this beer goes into secondary.
I re-used the yeast that I made the amber from, and this beer has taken off. I can smell the hop aromas coming out of the carboy’s airlock, so adding hops in secondary will come next.
Nine days later I transfered this beer into secondary and added 3/4th an ounce of Newport hops. A month later the beer was bottled, and now all I have to do is give it a couple weeks in the bottle and all will be revealed.
For easy reading the recipe list is as follows:
.25 lb Honey malt
.5 ln Caramunich malt
steeped at about 150 for thirty minutes.
7.34 lb light malt extract
1 oz. Autaunam hops at 60 minutes.
.5 oz. Newport hops at 30 minutes.
1/4 tsp Irish Moss at 5 minutes.
Rogue Pacman yeast used.