Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Single Hop IPAs

Not long ago, I ran across this Men's Journal article, which is supposed to be a guide to hops.  Instead, it listed a couple of single hop beers, one of which (Bell's Two Hearted) is my go-to beer if it's on tap somewhere.  It provided these beers as an example of "if you want to know what this hop variety tastes like in a beer, try a beer that uses just that variety."  Honestly, that's not a bad idea.  In fact, it makes the beer making (and hopefully the drinking) easier.

Now, I have had some pretty hoppy IPAs, stuff referred to as "hop-ocalypse" and "molotov hop-tail", stuff described as being used to clean engine parts, or something that will peel the enamel off of your teeth.  Yeah, that's the good stuff.

A couple of the single hop IPAs that I've come across in my research include, but are not limited to:

Green Flash Mosaic Session IPA - I enjoyed one of these as the inspiration for this post.

Sierra Nevada Equinox Hops - haven't tried this one.

Hermitage Brewing Company has a Magnum and a Galaxy beer in their single hop series.

Double Mountain Brewery has a Clusterf#ck single hop IPA that I found online but haven't tried (a search via the web site indicates that they don't distribute anywhere near me).  I will tell you, though, that part of what got me started in trying different beers was the names on the labels...seriously.  The cooler the name, the more it made me laugh, the more likely I was to try it.  It doesn't mean that they were all good...it just means that I tried the beer, and I like to think that I'm better for the experience.

Anyway, the site says that it uses pilsner and honey malts...I may try something like this using pilsen DME and a late addition of golden DME, and hopping with just cluster hops.

Here's an interesting article from SeriousEats explaining why you should stick to single-malt-single-hops (SMaSH) beers. Make sure to click on the link under "Get The Recipe" because it not only gives you the recipe, but also illustrates how to calculate the home brew bitterness units (HBU).  Not only that, it has some great ideas and thoughts for home brewers, such as what to use for bittering hops, and the hopping schedule for an IPA.  For example, from the recipe, the hop schedule and amounts for a 1 gallon small batch looks something like:

7g bittering hops, @ 60 min/start of boil
7+g hops, @ 15 min
7+g hops, @ 0 min/flameout
14g dry hop

Pretty easy, and similar to the schedule I've used for some of the IPAs I've brewed.  However, as a home brewer, I usually get my hops in 1 oz packets, which is just a bit more than 28g.  As such, I might use a high alpha acid hop for bittering (Centennial, Falconer's Flight 7Cs), and then use the full ounce of whichever hops I'm trying for aroma and flavor.  Otherwise, I'll just end up with a bunch of partial packets of hops sitting around, and the only thing I can really do with that is throw together a super complex, probably over-hopped IPA, kind of like what I did with  grapefruit IPA #2, I violated everything that the author, and others, have said about simplicity and focus in their recommendations for a single hop IPA...and we'll see in a bit how that turned out.  ;-)

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