Brewing Mountain IPA #1

After reading The New IPA: A Scientific Guide to Hop Aroma and Flavor twice, I felt inclined to recreate my Mountain IPA recipe from scratch.

The inspiration for Mountain IPA comes from The Alchemist Heady Topper (Vermont IPA), Tree House Julius (New England IPA) and Russian River Blind Pig (West Coast IPA). I particularly find Vermont IPAs to strike a pleasant balance between sweet New England IPAs and piney West Coast IPAs. I also drew inspiration from Braufessor’s Northeast style IPA (version 1.0), Scott Janish’s New England IPA recipe and several of my older IPA recipes.

Feel free to skip to the bottom of this post if you are just looking for the recipe, otherwise read through to the end to understand my rationale behind ingredient selection.

Hops

According the research summarized in The New IPA, alpha acids can complex metal ions during the mash and reduce oxidation reactions during the boil – therefore, using a small amount of hops in the mash and early boil may help improve overall beer stability. Columbus is one of the most affordable high alpha hop and ranks at the top for total oil content – which is exactly why I used Columbus for mash and 60-minute additions. Like Janish, I aim for ~20 IBUs from these two kettle additions.

Amarillo is a workhorse hop – it has the most glycosidically-bound geraniol (floral) potential which is important for yeast biotransformation to linalool (citrus). It also has significant levels of 4-methyl-4-mercaptopentan-2-one (4MMP) thiol. 4MMP has an additive impact on geraniol, linalool, and beta citronellol – enhancing tropical characteristics. By itself, 4MMP contributes flavors of boxtree, ribes and black currants. These are all reasons I use Amarillo in the whirlpool at 0.60 oz/gal.

Idaho 7 hops were first released in 2015 by Jackson Hop Farm (just 35 miles from my house!) and ever since have remained under-the-radar. Janish is particularly found of them for whirlpool/steep additions due to their “tropical hop saturated flavor” at rates between 0.5 to 1.0 oz/gal. I pair Idaho 7 (0.60 oz/gal) with Amarillo in the whirlpool to take advantage of both of their unique characteristics.

Citra doesn’t need much of an introduction but did you know that it has the highest levels of free/bound 4MMP (by a long shot), high levels of the passion fruity 3-mercaptohexan-1-ol (3MH) precursor and lots of linalool and free geraniol? These are big reasons why it is one of the most coveted hops in the world right now. I use Citra in the dry hop for its pungent aromatics.

Galaxy has one of the highest total oil contents and is specifically high in 4MMP. Since hop compounds of similar flavors tend to be additive, layering Citra and Galaxy together in the dry hop may help reduce flavor/aroma threshold and therefore boost overall perceived flavor/aroma. Galaxy and Citra are each utilized at 1.5 oz/gal split over two separate dry hop additions.

Malt

In The New IPA, Janish also highlighed the impact malt has in NEIPAs. The Full Pint barley variety in particular contains nitrogenous compounds and terpenes that lend fruit/perfume flavors – outperforming more common Copeland, Meredith and Metcalfe barley varieties in one study. Fortunately all of Mecca Grade‘s barley malt is Full Pint! As for malted wheat, I kept the contribution under 15% to avoid haze reduction due to too many proteins clumping together and dropping the beer clearer. I may consider using Mecca Grade’s Wickiup (Red Wheat Malt) instead of Shaniko (White Wheat Malt) in future batches since it contains more protein. I also included a dash of Vanora (Vienna Style Malt) to boost the SRM to 4.5. No oats in this batch.

Yeast

I considered a variety of yeast strains but felt most comfortable starting with A38 Juice – Imperial Yeast’s version of the popular London Ale III strain. Based on research presented in The New IPA, future recipe iterations may also feature small amounts of Rapidase Expression Aroma and Rapidase Revelation Aroma enzymes (to free bound aroma precursors) and Anchor VIN7 yeast (to boost passion fruit flavors) despite Brülosophy’s recent xBmt that demonstrated tasters were unable to reliably distinguish an IPA with Rapidase Revelation Aroma added at the time of dry hopping from an untreated version of the same beer. Regardless, I first wanted to get a baseline of Mountain IPA flavor before evaluating the impact of enzymes/wine yeast in subsequent batches.

Water

Water chemistry will be the final variable I intend to experiment with. I am particularly fond of Julius’s mouthfeel so I am using its approximate starting water profile from the Ward Labs mineral analysis. Specifically, I am targeting 175 ppm chloride and 125 ppm sulfate which is slightly higher than recommendations by Braufessor (128/67 ppm) and Janish (150/100 ppm), respectively.

It was another easy brew day thanks to my Pico Z1 – only five hours from start to finish. I do need to affix a blow-off tube to my 3 gallon corny fermentor however, since this is the second straight batch that has had some heady blow off! To try to improve mash efficiency, I paused the recipe and stirred the malt around during the early part of the mash. I also pulled a hydrometer reading pre-boil. Overall I netted a mash efficiency of 73.1% – not too bad.

Mountain IPA #1

  • Batch size: 2.5 gallons
  • OG: 1.042
  • FG: 1.010 (est)
  • Efficiency: 73.1%
  • ABV: 4.2%
  • IBU: 62
  • SRM: 4.5

Ingredients:

Water treatment: DI water with 1.9 g Gypsum, 1.3 g Epsom Salt, 0.6 g Canning Salt, 2.4 g Calcium Chloride and 1.6 ml Lactic Acid
Mash technique: Single infusion @ 148°F for 90 min
Kettle volume: 2.75 gal
Boil duration: 60 min
Whirlpool technique: 15 min @ 185°F
Final volume: 2.5 gal (est)
Fermentation temp: 68°F
Notes: Brewed solo on 12/28/2019. No pH readings but I did record a pre-boil hydrometer reading of 1.040. Oxygenated for 60 seconds.

12/30/2019 – Swapped out airlock after cleaning up blow-off krausen.

12/31/2019 – Added first dose of dry hops then purged headspace with CO2.

01/04/2020 – Added second dose of dry hops then purged headspace with CO2.

1/13/2020 – Cold crashed for 48 hours at 32°F.

1/15/2020 – Transferred 2.12 gal into keg. Carbed at 12 psi / 40°F (target 2.35 volumes).

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