This is a beer I brewed earlier this year primarily for a HomebrewTalk post about fruited IPAs. The batch was infected and I dumped the entire six gallons. The only silver lining is that I didn’t waste more hops on a second dry hop.
A long time ago Jennie and I set up a Twitter account for our home brewery. Every now and again I get Twitter alerts for that account. One day I received an alert for a tweet with a link to a Beer Advocate thread entitled: “Is West Coast IPA still relevant?”
My answer is yes, of course it is! Some drinkers are so into and obsessed with New England Pale Ales and IPAs that perhaps those drikers feel that West Coast IPAs may no longer relevant. Some are so involved in their beer geekdom that they forget that not every craft beer drinker wants to wait in line at or trade for Tree House or Trillium. The craft beer drinkers that buy beer at a store are still buying plenty of West Coast and Midwest IPAs.
Modern West Coast IPAs from the San Diego area and New England IPAs are more similar than they are different. Neither type of IPA is overly bitter and both are highly aromatic. If you served a San Diego IPA and a Vermont IPA to a blind-folded drinker that hunts “whalez”, that drinker would have a harder time than they would think discerning the difference in flavor between the two. In one blind tasting I actually preferred Port Wipeout IPA, a San Diego IPA that goes for $7 a bomber, to Heady Topper. Beer drinkers in general need to be more aware that they don’t know what they don’t know, and that Beer Advocate, RateBeer, or Untappd ratings are everything.
Digressing to my brew day, I dry-hopped my last New England IPA so aggressively that my three gallon batch only resulted in 24 bottles. As happy as I was with it, the beer went quickly. I needed to make another IPA soon. As much as I wanted to make another New England IPA, I already had most of the hops I needed to make another batch of Broken Fist. When I think of Southern California I think of sunshine. With summer coming, a SoCal-inspired IPA will hit the spot.
I have always hopped Broken Fist a little bit like a New England IPA with a small dry hop addition toward the end of active fermentation. That first dry hop is smaller than I would employ with a New England IPA, but it’s there to boost up the hop flavor.
Beyond the hopping, Broken Fist is more of a conventional West Coast IPA. In my West Coast-inspired IPAs like Broken Fist and The Anti-Chris, I still use water high in sulfates to yield a beer that is dry and accentuates the hop flavor, whereas in my latest New England IPA I flipped convention on it’s head and brewed with water high in chlorides. I use generic US 2-row malt for the most part, and WLP090 San Diego Super yeast to produce a purely hop driven beer. And yes, I use kettle finings in my West Coast IPAs to try and make a beer that is reasonably clear.
I brewed an all-grain, six gallon double batch. I employed the same double boil that I did for the North Shore Brewers Wee Heavy. After primary fermentation, I am going to split the batch. Half of the batch will be dry hopped as normal, while I will add grapefruit peel to the other half. The split batch will be for a post on another website. Citrus IPAs and pale ales aren’t going anywhere, so I may as well try to make one.
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