Thursday, November 5, 2015

"American Stowaway" White IPA

New American Hops meets French Farmhouse Yeast

Belgian beers seem to be all the rage for American craft brewers.  Keeping with the hallmarks of drinkability or "digestible" as the belgians would say and distinctive yeast derived flavors, their arguably one of the most approachable families of beer styles.  In truth, only beers produced in Belgian should hold the title "Belgian," and even fewer (less than 10 brewers) can legally be labeled "Trappist." American versions  are properly labeled "Belgian-style." That is not to say America does not have some world-class examples from several fantastic breweries making some of the finest and likely freshest examples  of Belgian-style ale any of us will ever enjoy. 
Style mixing is not uncommon in American craft beer, but does require a strong vision and artful hand of the brewer. Like many recent trends, such as Black IPA  have seen great popularity in recent. Some may take it a step too far in my opinion such as Black Kolsch, however this post isn't about beer labels...

American brewers have been able to successfully innovate and built upon the fantastic canvas of beer characteristics to built unique new world versions.  Breaking with tradition,  several U.S. breweries have introduced "white IPA" such as Deschutes Chainbreaker or "Belgian IPA" such as Allagash's Hugh Malone.  Many of these trendsetting beers take the bright vibrant characters like tropical fruit, passion fruit, and lemon of new American hops such as Citra and artfully balance them with the unique yeast characteristics like pepper, citrus, and even bubblegum of Belgian yeast strains.  It may not seem like a natural marriage, but with a little restraint (uncommon for most hopheads out there) you'll be rewarded.

"American Stowaway" is a play on the fact that the following recipe take a straightforward Saison malt and yeast profile then hijacks with those "stowaway" new American hops, specifically Citra. Eminently drinkable as any Saison should be, but also with a hop edge common in American Pale Ales and IPAs. Cheers!

"American Stowaway" Recipe (5gl)

Malt (Mash at 146F for 20 min & 155F for 60 min):

·          10 lbs Belgian Pils

·          1.5 lbs German Munich

·          1 lbs White Wheat

·          1 lbs Flaked Wheat

o    0.5 lbs Demerara Sugar

o    Irish Moss

o    Wyeast Nutrient

Hops (31 IBU):

·          0.5 oz Citra 14% (60 min)

·          1 oz Ahtanum 3.4% (15 min)

·          0.5 oz Citra 14% (0 min)

·          1 oz Citra 14% (Dryhop)

Yeast: Belgian Saison 3724, with High Gravity Trappist added for Attenuation

O.G. 1.055, F.G. 1.008, ~6.2% ABV


Admiral's Reserve Russian Imperial Stout

Inspiration can come from a lot of places for homebrewers, but sometimes it is as simple as the favorite beer or beer style of a colleague or family member. Over the years it has always brought me a lot of joy to craft a recipe after someone's favorite style or commercial beer and see just how close (or better in some cases) the beer is for them personally. This recipe is just one example of that. A mentor of mine was being promoted to Admiral and to mark that occasion I couldn't think of a better tribute than a personalized brew. Luckily it coincided with the Winter months, so when he suggested an Imperial Stout it was a natural fit. My take on the style is rich but relatively approachable (*for 10+%), and can be enjoyed within the same brewing season. Be sure to pitch plenty of yeast for a behemoth like this. You may also want to try out a technique for big beers called Parti-Gyle which allows you to take the second runnings for a high gravity beer like this and make a lower gravity beer from the residual sugars. And don't forget to reserve a bottle of this year's vintage to compare with next years....

Admiral's Reserve Russian Imperial Stout (RIS) (10 gl Final, 90-Minute boil):Grain (~65% Efficiency, Mash @ 149F for 75 min+ 165 Mashout +15min Recirculation, Chlorine Filtered H2O w/ 2Tblsp CaCl2)
  • 30# (75%) British Maris Otter (Crisp)
  • 2# (5%) Flaked Oats
  • 1.5# (3.8%) Weyermann CaraAroma (Crystal 130)
Dark Grains added at Re-circulation Step
  • 1.5# (3.8%) Roasted Barley
  • 1.5# (3.8%) Chocolate Rye
  • 1# (2.5%) Carafa II
Hops (45IBU, Quantities for 10 gl)
  • 2.5oz, Comet, 11.3% AA, 75 min BKO (Before Knock Out)
  • 3oz, East Kent Golding, 5% AA, 15 min BKO
Extra: Irish Moss, Wyeast Nutrient, 1# Clover Honey and 1.5# Brown Sugar at 15 min BKO
Yeast: WLP002 English Ale Yeast w/ 2L Starter (Primary for at least 2 weeks)
O.G. 1.095, F.G. 1.024, ~10.2%abv