Author Topic: Session IPA Brewing Tips?  (Read 26568 times)

Offline philm63

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Session IPA Brewing Tips?
« on: August 17, 2013, 08:32:41 AM »
Anyone have some tips on brewing a low-gravity "session" American IPA? Is there anything special to lookout for? Like water-to-grain ratios, or mash temps, or...?

I've done a few in the mid-7% range, and I'd like to get more drinkability (and not get plastered after only two pints!)

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Offline MaltLicker

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Re: Session IPA Brewing Tips?
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2013, 07:32:15 PM »
As you decrease the OG and eventual ABV, you could lose the balance b/t the hops and malt support, i.e., potentially end up with a too-bitter APA. 

You could approach it as making a session APA that is profoundly hoppy in flavor and aroma, with lots of hops at 15 mins and less.  And keep the BU:GU ratio in the range of some previous APA or IPA you liked. 

At the recent NHC, Mitch Steele talked about Stone making some beers that were FWH and then only 20 mins and less:  no hops added from 60 down to 20 mins.   He said the crafties were liking the effects of FWH and using it more often now. 

Offline anvilbrew

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Re: Session IPA Brewing Tips?
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2013, 09:39:43 AM »
More late addition hops as well as dry hopping, would be a solution. The substitution of base malt for specialty malt that give more malt flavor and aroma would help prevent it from becoming hop soda. Also adjusting your mash temp to give more maltiness to help balance the bitterness of being lower abv.
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Offline Slurk

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Re: Session IPA Brewing Tips?
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2013, 05:52:04 AM »
At the recent NHC, Mitch Steele talked about Stone making some beers that were FWH and then only 20 mins and less:  no hops added from 60 down to 20 mins.   He said the crafties were liking the effects of FWH and using it more often now.

MaltLicker,
Estimating FWH bitterness Brad's newsletter from november 2012 is describing:
"For the estimation of bitterness (IBUs), first wort hops are treated as full boil hops plus about 10%.  For a 90 minute boil, we would calculate their contribution as if it were a 90 min boil and then add 10% to the IBU number.  The 10% extra accounts for the fact that the hops do extract some bitterness during the high temperature steep before the boil."

Q: Do you have experience with FWH and, if yes, would you recommend this way of estimating the FWH bitterness (or perhaps you have another approach)?

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Offline brewfun

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Re: Session IPA Brewing Tips?
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2013, 12:08:57 PM »
+1 on what Maltlicker said about losing malt backbone.

I like a very characterful base malt, like Maris Otter, plus just 5% of very light crystal (C-10) as a foundation. I usually shoot for bittering IBUs in the mid 50s. I also like to use a characterful bittering or FWH like Chinook for half or more of the IBUs up front. With a generous whirlpool addition and about a 15 to 20 minute stand time, you may not have to dry hop.

BTW, I'm old enough to remember when these "session IPAs" were called Pale Ale.
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Offline Roadrocket

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Re: Session IPA Brewing Tips?
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2013, 03:53:50 PM »
+2 on that one. Maris Otter is made for session beers and it's very hard to beat. Golden Promise is also excellent and makes a good flavourful malt.

I sometimes make a low gravity dark mild ale and I always use Mild ale malt. It's kilned slightly darker than pale malt and produces a slightly sweeter, more full bodied wort. You can drink it very fresh which is good when you need some beer at short notice.

I've started to FWH most of my beers as I believe it gives a more complex, smoother hop profile. I've recently been experimenting with Crystal Rye. It gives a dry liquorice toffee flavour and great colour which makes the beer appear bigger. It works particularly well using Chinook as a single hop.
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Offline Bajaedition

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Re: Session IPA Brewing Tips?
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2013, 04:09:08 AM »


BTW, I'm old enough to remember when these "session IPAs" were called Pale Ale.
I was wondering WTF about session IPA, SORRY FOR THE FOLLOWING RANT

IPAs were originally brewed strong and hoppy to make the trip to India, actually Pale Ales punched up a lot.

I think we have a problem developing in both the craft beer and home brew communities, and I can see in the Craft beer community the need to stand out so styles are merged or ignored. That is what got the big breweries where we are now. Until we got all of the lagers into session beers anyone could drink. till suddenly we were a nation of Light Beer drinkers, and we rediscovered beers from the bottom up. The home brew market helped drive the craft brew market till it started to explode like it is today. But with success comes a need for profit and growth. And that means dumbing down our beers.
Problem is, now that is infecting the homebrew market and we are dumbing down our home brews. We need to learn to brew to style and proudly extort the differences in the true styles

SORRY FOR THE RANT

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Go out and get a Stone Pale Ale, best Pale out there in my humble opinion. Then clone that beer.
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Offline philm63

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Re: Session IPA Brewing Tips?
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2013, 04:53:29 AM »
...approach it as making a session APA that is profoundly hoppy in flavor and aroma...
......get a Stone Pale Ale, best Pale out there in my humble opinion. Then clone that beer.

I'd had a local brewpub's version of what they called a "session IPA" and liked it, and thought I'd give it a go. Seems the popular consensus is that this may just merely be a hopped-up APA kept to the minimum gravity for the style, or otherwise kept real dry and crisp.

Granted the version I had wasn't in the gravity range of the BMCs, rather it was somewhere in the 5+% range, but the body was light and the hop presence was dominant.

Maybe if I just stuck with a simple grain bill and mashed in around 148 F, shot for 1.050 or so, and balanced it like some of my favorite IPAs (or hop-bursted the snot out of it...)
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Re: Session IPA Brewing Tips?
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2013, 05:10:56 AM »
Beersmith has a Podcast # 22 on session beers with The Mad Fermentationist.

Offline Beer_Tigger

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Re: Session IPA Brewing Tips?
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2013, 06:55:22 AM »
Continuing the rant on styles...

Be sure to clarify if you are making an IPA or an American IPA... HUGE difference from a supertaster's point of view.  True IPA's have no American ingredients (especially no American "C" hops).  I could never call an American IPA session because it destroys my palette, whereas my daughter can drink them till the cows come home (she is not a supertaster).

It irks me when a brewpub sells an "IPA" and I find that they use Cascade in it.

Sorry, we all have our pet-peeves - the American vs. true IPA issue is one of mine.
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Offline MaltLicker

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Re: Session IPA Brewing Tips?
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2013, 07:29:22 PM »
@Slurk

Yes, I do FWH a lot, essentially on any hoppy style.  I actually read about it the BJCP Study Guide of all places pretty early on, and tried it, and I do believe it mellows out the bitterness, so much so, that I changed my BS2 setting from a +10% on FWH to a --10%, or a swing of 20%.   I kept being disappointed in the bitterness of my hoppy styles until I made that correction. 

I can't doubt that the actual lab-measured IBUs may be higher than regular hopping, but IMO, the Perceived Bittering is lower with FWH. 

Offline Slurk

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Re: Session IPA Brewing Tips?
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2014, 05:18:18 PM »
@Slurk

Yes, I do FWH a lot, essentially on any hoppy style.  I actually read about it the BJCP Study Guide of all places pretty early on, and tried it, and I do believe it mellows out the bitterness, so much so, that I changed my BS2 setting from a +10% on FWH to a --10%, or a swing of 20%.   I kept being disappointed in the bitterness of my hoppy styles until I made that correction. 

I can't doubt that the actual lab-measured IBUs may be higher than regular hopping, but IMO, the Perceived Bittering is lower with FWH.

Thanks Maltlicker, very interesting BS2 correction you use!
I've read a couple of articles on FWH by now. I am interested in the crispy dry Pilsner style beer with FWH. It seems, based on the articles I read, that FWH is the practice of adding hops to the brew kettle, into which sparged runnings are collected, at the beginning of sparging (which originated in  Germany). Some refer to FWH before sparging.

Q1: It seems to me that those who use FWH before sparging leave the hop in the "grain filterbed". Do I understand this correct?
Q2: What is your FWH routine; before or at the beginning of sparging? Or perhaps a combination?
Q:3 Do you have different routines for low alpha and high(er) alpha acid hops?
Q4: What part of the total hop addition do you use as FWH? One of the articles (after experimenting) recommends that FWH should be carried out with at least 30% of the total hop addition, using the later aroma additions.

Regards,
Slurk
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Offline David R

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Re: Session IPA Brewing Tips?
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2014, 07:00:19 PM »
This is something I'd like to try more of, I love the flavours of the American C-hops, but also like being able to have several pints on a sunny afternoon without falling over!
I've never used FWH before, but IMO if you're trying to get that big US-IPA hop flavour/aroma in a sub-5% ABV beer without going overboard on the IBUs then hop-bursting with only late additions would be the way to go. Sorry if this is similar to the afore mentioned podcast, but I found it worth-while on this topic (though I haven't actually brewed the recipe yet); http://www.themadfermentationist.com/2012/01/vienna-malt-session-ipa-recipe.html

I brewed a 4%er with a heap of Chinook and Centennial and the hop flavour was great, however it was somewhat lacking in the malt department (I hadn't found the above article at that stage and just scaled down a regular IPA malt bill) so next time I'd increase the % of speciality malts.

 

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