Monday, May 15, 2023

Designing a New SheppyBrew IPA

So ... for various reasons, I want to brew an American IPA soon.

Atypical to most homebrewers, I don't actually brew very many IPA's. I like them (a lot). But, they are a little higher in alcohol than I generally like to have gallons and gallons of at home.

And ... every brewery I know brews several IPA's. If I want an IPA, I can find them commercially at any one of hundreds within bike riding distance. Not to mention grocery stores and liquor stores now have great craft beer selections.

But, every once and awhile I like to brew an IPA.

Unless I'm forgetting any (which is possible, but not likely I think) I've brewed 5 beers that could be called traditional American IPA's: 

Tommy Hawk APA
Last Brewed 4/2013
10.7 SRM
6.3% ABV
Pale Malt (2 Row)
Caramel/Crystal Malt - 45L
Honey Malt
Near-Sighted Swine IPA
Last Brewed 7/2018
5.5 SRM
6.4% ABV
62 IBU
El Dorado
Pale Malt (2 Row)
Vienna Malt
Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L
Resilience IPA Clone(ish)
Last Brewed 12/2018
9.4 SRM
6.3% ABV
56 IBU

Pale Malt (2 Row)
Crystal, Medium (Simpsons)
Foothills India Pale Ale
Last Brewed 4/2020
7.6 SRM
6.8% ABV
64 IBU
Maris Otter
Pale Malt (2 Row)
Vienna Malt
Caramalt (Simpsons)
Colorado Strong IPA
Last Brewed 1/2023
6.8 SRM
6.8% ABV
61 IBU
Root Shoot Pale Malt
Root Shoot Vienna Malt
Root Shoot Cara Ruby


I could certainly brew one of those, but I have a bunch of hops I'd like to try, and I've been thinking about brewing one with no "cara" malts.

So ... According to the BJCP, An American IPA is:

A decidedly hoppy and bitter, moderately strong, pale American ale. The balance is hop-forward, with a clean fermentation profile, dryish finish, and clean, supporting malt allowing a creative range of hop character to shine through.

It's vital statistic ranges are:
IBU: 40 - 70 (my beers average 59 IBU)
SRM: 6 - 14 (my beers average 8 SRM)
OG: 1.056 - 1.070
FG:  1.008 - 1.014
ABV: 5.5% - 7.5% (my beers average 6.5% ABV)

I figure the bitterness for my new IPA should be right in the middle, so I'll aim for 65IBU.

As I mentioned, I don't want to use any "cara" malts, so my color will be at the low end (or even below) the guidelines SRM number. Maybe 5 or 6 SRM.

I'll go right down the middle on ABV, aiming for 6.5% ABV.

OG and FG will be whatever makes sense to hit that 6.5% ABV. 

I prefer dry, crisp West-Coast IPA's so I'll opt for a low mash temperature (150ish) and will go simply with Pale and Vienna Malts in the grist. I'll probably add a small amount of a de-bittered black malt to get the color up to the 5 or 6 range.

My water will have probably about 12g of gypsum added to accentuate the hop character. 

I've decided to go with 4 hops: Mosaic / Galaxy / Citra / Talus, because those are great IPA hops and because I have a bunch of all those in my freezer.

I've decided to add them as late in boil as possible to get appropriate bitterness, and to add at least 4 oz of dry hops as well. I expect I'll dry hop in the fermenter and probably again in the keg.

I'd like the beer to be as clear as possible, so I'll add gelatin fining, but I won't freek out if there is some haze as long as it isn't ugly cloudy.

As I'm typing this, I don't have a finished recipe yet, but when I do it will be at

Alpine Tundra IPA

More to come ...

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