Monday, 16 March 2009

American style IPA night

Can you guess which one is the homebrew? 

Having brewed a beer inspired by Goose Island IPA I decided the time had come to compare it to the original. I also had the Dogfish head 60 minute IPA my mum had kindly brought me from Delaware and to make an evening of it I threw in a bottle of Scotlands very own American IPA Brewdog Punk IPA

First up was my homebrew, my first attempt at an American IPA. The grist was all pale malt and the hops a combination of Styrian goldings, centennial and cascade. I'm normally a terrible reductionist when it comes to homebrewing, only altering one thing at a time so I can see what changes it makes. This means I usually only have one type of hop, using it for bittering and aroma. As I'd gone for three types here I decided to mix them all up at all stages to see if I could pick out the different hop types or if they would merge into a new flavour. As it turned out I could detect the fresh flavour of the Styrians and the grapefruit of the cascade. I'd never used centennial  though it's meant to be very similar to cascade so I guess it added to the grapefruit flavour. To be more like the Goose Island IPA which inspired this brew I should probably have added the Styrians early in the boil and focussed on cascade later and for dry hopping. 

This became more apparent when I started on the next brew: Goose Island IPA. There was a much stronger grapefuit aroma and flavour than in my homebrewed beer. I've already discussed the hops but there was also more body to this beer than mine. Attenuation is quite hard to control when homebrewing as I can't just cool the fermenting vessel down when I want the fermentation to finish. This meant there were very little residual sugars in my beer making it very easy drinking but lacking in body. I'll probably add a touch of crystal or cara malt next time I make and American IPA as my current one goes down far too easily for the strength it is (6.5% ABV).

Then I got on to Dogfish head 60 minute IPA, a beer I'd been looking forward to for weeks. Sadly this was a real disapointment. I don't know if I'd got a dodgy bottle or it was a bad batch but the smell of the beer reminded me more of corned beef than anything else. I've no idea what causes this in beer but it's not a desirable characteristic. I did drink the rest of the beer but it certainly wasn't the clean tasting hop overdose I was expecting. Oh well, maybe the other bottles will be better. 

I didn't get as far as the Punk IPA as I was feeling a bit mellow by now and I'd already had few good sessions that week. It's still sitting in the cupboard though so its time will come soon ...


  1. I'm desperate to try the DFH (60, 90 and especially 120!), shame you didn't think much of it? I love the Goose Island but I much prefer the Stone IPA. And Punk just rocks!

  2. Yeah, I'd really been looking forward to the 60 minute IPA so it was a real disapointment. Goose Island's definitely my favourite, Compared to Stone and Punk it seems fruitier rather than just bitter. I did once see an American website describe Goose Island as an English style IPA so maybe I'm just not ready for the full on American experience yet. Perhaps I need more practice!

  3. I've noticed that Dogfish Head 60 minute can have a kind of cheesy flavour to it. I'm told this can come from hops past their prime. Dunno. I was in Buffalo a couple of weekend ago, at a bar called Coles, and they actually warned me off the 120. Just too much, they said. Sugar in a glass. It was also really, really expensive.
    We get Southern Tier's products brought in to Ontario. Do you ever get that stuff? Their IPA I find crisper and more enjoyable that the Dogfish 60.