The second recipe in this blog is basically a continuation of the first recipe, in that it used the yeast cake from the Citra Saison. This is a “Belgian IPA”…which, in my opinion, is an odd style distinction. It seems to me that breweries will call any hoppy ale, regardless of malt bill or yeast used a “Belgian IPA”….there are classic examples of the style from breweries in Belgium, notably De Ranke XX Bitter, Urthel Hop-It from De Leyerth Brouwerijen, or Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel from Brasserie d’Achouffe but those examples share only a few shallow resemblances, as good as they are. It is hard to define what a Belgian IPA is.

American breweries seem to love making Belgian IPAs. One of the most popular (by consumption) Belgian IPAs in this country is made right in my backyard (well about 40 miles from my back yard). Raging Bitch from Flying Dog Brewery is the quintessential Belgian IPA for American breweries. This is also my favorite beer of theirs, and I know many people that also feel this way.

IPA to me is a hop forward beer of moderate to high alcohol content, the beer should showcase the flavors and aromas of the specific hops. Much like salsa, without the heat it is just ketchup. An IPA without an aggressive forward hop presence is just a pale ale. If I want a pale ale, I’ll drink a pale ale (and do frequently). The Belgian IPA described in this post uses American malt, American hops (Chinook in this case) and three strains associated with “farmhouse” brewing traditions. The beer is fermented with no temperature control and the final product is dry hopped again. The carbonation is set to a high level and the beer is fermented out to be as dry as possible. In my opinion, this beer combines the traditions of an American style IPA and a farmhouse ale. The result is an aromatic, hoppy, bitter, estery, light dry ale of decent alcohol content and high drinkability.

Batch # 2013.19
5 Gallon Batch
Brew date: October 25th, 2013
Keg date: November 10th, 2013
OG: 1.055
FG: 1.010 (estimated)
ABV: 5.5% (estimated)
SRM: 3.6° L (estimated)
IBU: 75 IBU (calculated)

10 pounds 2-row (How much simpler can it get?)

photo (1)

Mash Conditions:
Mash used distilled water with a pH stabilizer (pH 5.2) at a 1.25 qt / lb ratio for a relatively thin mash. Mash temp was 152° F for 75 minutes (temperature of run off around 150). Sparge was with 5 gallons of 180° F distilled water (no pH stabilizer in the sparge). About 8.5 gallons was recovered for the boil.

Brewing Procedure:
Wort was brought to a boil quickly and held there for about 65 minutes. Wort was cooled by immmersion wort chiller for about 35 minutes. Beer was transferred to fermenter by autosiphon to avoid transferring hot break material and whole leaf hops (from the late chinook additions). A little more than 5 gallons was collected.

Hop Schedule:
1 ounce Magnum (% AA = 14.7) @ 60 minutes
2 ounces Chinook (% AA = 13) @ 10 minutes
2 ounces Chinook @ Flame-out
2 ounces Chinook for dry hopping (in the keg)

Magnum was pelleted hops, the chinook were whole leaf.

Fermentation Conditions:
The yeast cake from the previous Citra saison was used for the fermentation of this beer. The Citra saison was transferred out of the carboy only a few minutes before this beer was transferred in. As a reminder, the blend is Saison Dupont strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (WLP565) as well as two strains of Brettanomyces, B. bruxellensis “trois” (WLP644) and B. claussenii (WLP645). There is no temperature control on this fermentation. The fermentation temperature was steady between 70° and 75° Fahrenheit. Fermentation started in less than an hour and by 24 hours most of the fermentation was over (this was the fastest fermentation I had ever seen). The beer was allowed to sit in the fermenter for another week and a half to finish up.

Fermentation was noticeable only a few hours after wort was added to the yeast cake from the Citra Saison (batch 2013.18). I did not have an airlock on the carboy (good thing). After 6 hours the fermenter was over flowing and had to be placed in the sink where it continued to push the krausen out of the neck for another 12 hours. After that it settled down. After 10 days in the second fermenter, the beer was moved to a keg with 2 ounces of whole leaf chinook hops in a bag and pressurized to about 5-7 PSI. Yeast cake was stored in two 24 ounce jars for future batches.

Tasting Notes:

Chinook IPA

I love brewing beer but this is the best part about it: the taste test. Especially when the beer turns out so nice. Beer is yellow with a mild haze, based on the color during transfer this is chill haze likely, moderate to low carbonation, white head, some lacing, decent retention. Carbonation could be a little higher but that’s OK.

Aroma is sweet and floral, nice hop character coming through, a little earthy and piny, sweet.

Light in body, mildly effervescent on the palate, a little sweet, thin without being dry on the finish, moderate bitterness on the back end, a nice floral character throughout. Beer starts and finishes wet, not overly bitter, in fact lower in bitterness than expected. Probably not in the IPA range if you like your IPAs bitter but on that edge between a pale ale and an IPA.

Overall, really drinkable, the yeast character is more subtle in this beer than previous batches but the short fermentation could account for that. An easy drinker for sure.

Possible Improvements (for future batches):

I think for whole leaf (and maybe all) hops I need to construct or obtain a hop spider to make their removal at the end of the boil easier. This time I just relied on settling out and then I transferred from the pot to a carboy using an auto-siphon. I have yet to utilize the ball valve on the side of my new pot. Maybe in an upcoming brew.

The next IPA I make will have a different malt profile; I’ve been looking forward to a victory malt SMaSH or something like that. I do like Chinook but this beer does remind me that it is not my favorite hop. I hope to find a nice malt backbone that highlights the special nature of Chinook. Overall, this is a good hoppy beer and I will have no problem drinking and sharing this beer.

“There are more old drunks than there are old doctors.” ― Willie Nelson


7 thoughts on “Recipe #2: Chinook Belgian IPA (Batch #2013.19)

  1. Nicely done. I’d love to try this. All the Belgian IPAs I’ve tried have had the hops fight with the yeast making it a hit-or-miss style in my opinion. Looks like you have a hit. Cheers!

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