I spend a lot of time tweaking my IPA brewing process and recipes and my IPAs have reached a level of consistent success, save a rogue recipe or out of town mishap here and there. However, my IPAs did not start like this and took some time, “trial and error”, and mistakes to bring my process to where it is today.

Things I focus on:

  1. Oxygen Exposure
    1. Keg your beer
    2. Flush anything that will touch the beer like transfer lines and kegs with CO2
    3. Dry-hop in CO2 flushed kegs by using mesh bags or stainless steel filters
  2. Recipe
    1. Reduce or remove crystal malts
    2. If you want sweetness in the final product, use a lower attenuating yeast
    3. Use around (or more!) 2 lb/barrel of dry hops and 1 to 2 lb/barrel of whirlpool or late boil hops
    4. Start with well-known and proven hop combinations
      1. Hops like Mosaic, Centennial, and Citra can stand alone and are great options
      2. Combinations like Centennial/Cascade, or Citra/Amarillo, Mosaic/Cascade, Mosaic/Citra, Simcoe/Amarillo are all well tested and highly successful combinations
  3. Fermentation and Yeast
    1. This goes for all beer types, but maintain a consistent fermentation temperature – for most American and English ale yeasts I start at 62 ambient and after 3 days move up to 67, leaving the temperature between 67 and 70 through day 8-10, depending on gravity
    2. Make oversized yeast starters – an under-attenuated IPA will be exhausting on the palate and quickly lose hop flavor in exchange for maltiness
  4. Whirlpool and Dry Hop
    1. Use fresh hops (1 year old or less) and store hops in the freezer with as little oxygen exposure as possible
    2. Whirlpool or steep hops for at least 20 min at near flame-out temps
      1. Currently testing hot steeping hops at different temperature ranges, looking into the 150-160 range, 190-210 range, and combination of both
    3. If hop oils with lower volatilization temperatures are desired, cool the beer slightly from flame-out and steep at the desired temperature
    4. Dry-hop liberally
  5. Check out this post: Making IPAs Hoppy
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