This fermentation journey proves more exhilarating with each episode.
I am an IPA fan to say the least with hundreds of IPA beer reviews under my belt, literally. IPAs continue to make up the largest segment of the still-rapidly growing craft beer market. If the race for the most bitter beer leaves you in the dust longing for a less palate-assaulting ale, you may want to seek out the new kid on the block. While New England or Vermont IPAs are not a true style (yet) they are taking the country by storm. The combination of features is garnering quite a following. Here is what distinguishes a New England IPA from a classic American (especially west coast) IPA:
Less bitter. This is achieved by introducing lower amounts (if any) of bittering hops at the beginning of the boil.
More hop flavor and aroma, notably of the citrusy, juicy kind. This is due to larger amounts of these hops added near and at the end of the boil along with aggressive dry hopping during fermentation.
Haziness, due to some wheat/oats in the grain bill along with refraining from fining or filtering (clarifying) the beer.
The video below is a condensed journal of brew day. Experience the thrill of victory as well as the agony of brewer error resulting in equipment damage. In the end, however, a most delicious brew resulted as you will see in the second video.
Most beers have more than one grain and more than one hop in the recipe and you experience the blended result of flavors and aromas. To better learn and appreciate the aromas and flavors of any individual grain or hop you can brew a SMaSH beer. The letters stand for Single Malt and Single Hop.
Upon researching I found several folks who chose Marris Otter barley from England and Citra hops from the Pacific northwest of the USA. I knew I liked beers that contained these particular ingredients so I took a few of these recipes and combined and tweaked them into my own.
“Wait,” you say, “if there are just the two ingredients plus yeast and water – how can there be multiple recipes?” Good observation, Grasshopper, but there are variables such as how to modify the water, how much of each barley and hop, which yeast to use, and will there be any adjuncts. Here are the choices I made for my recipe:
I adjusted my water (with prescribed minute amounts of gypsum, epsom salt, table salt, and calcium chloride) to match the Pale Ale water profile published by Bru’n Water.
16 pounds of Marris Otter malt (barley)
A total of 8 ounces of Citra hops added at various points in the boil and then added for dry hopping during fermentation
2 different yeasts were used: California Ale yeast and English Ale yeast.
A pound of honey was added at the end of the boil. This provided additional fermentable sugar without adding any honey flavor, aroma, or sweetness.
And why is this classified as an IPA you may add. The amount and type of hops and where they are utilized in the process is a large determiner. Other factors include bitterness level, alcohol percent range, and color/darkness range.
Finally, where did I come up with the name of this brew? As you might have guessed Mar O’Cit is an abbreviation of Marris Otter and Citra.
As I hoped and suspected, this beer came out extremely aromatic and flavorful. Actually, it exceeded my expectations and I can honestly say it is one of the best beers I have ever tasted. I will be brewing this one again – in fact, I am planning a double IPA version of it in the near future! Here is my video review: