For anyone who didn’t read my previous blog on why I’m giving up on making IPA’s for a while, I currently have a lot of IPA to work my way through, including a Belgian, a British and a 9.5% Double. Today I’m writing my tasting notes for the Belgian style, brewed on the 30th of May and kegged on the 21st of June.
The recipe for this batch was;
OG: 1.063 FG: 1.014 ABV: 6.4%
Maris Otter 5kg
Wheat Malt 0.5kg
Vienna Malt 0.5kg
Munich Malt 0.3kg
Caramunich Malt 0.2kg
Centennial 54g @ 60 mins
Centennial 54g @ 0 mins
Chinook 54g @ 0 mins
Motueka 54g @ 0 mins
Motueka 80g @ Dry Hop
Amarillo 80g @ Dry Hop
Other than protafloc at 10 minutes from the end of the boil, this beer wasn’t fined. It was transferred to a secondary fermenter however after the dry hops had been in for three days (because I wasn’t ready for kegging but didn’t want to leave the hops in for too long!)
With the malt bill I went for my usual maris otter and wheat with a little bit of Munich and Vienna for complexity and some CaraMunich for extra body.
I was also playing around with the theory that using classic American ‘C’ hop varieties to provide a backbone of pine and citrus would improve the fruit character of motueka by giving it something contrasting to play off.
Belgian IPA Tasting Notes
The initial aroma is soft fruit, citrus and grassiness. A small amount of banana and pear ester comes through and a touch of wheat/grainy aroma. The hop aroma isn’t as powerful as I’d been hoping for but it is still pleasant and floral.
A dull and hazy copper colour, the head is large and retains well. Despite the haziness, the head makes it look quite appetising. If I’d have taken the time to clarify/cold crash I’d have been really happy with the way this looks.
A little bit of spiciness and big citrus/grapefruit flavour combine well with a high level of hop bitterness, accentuated by the spiciness of the yeast. Finishes very dry and bitter. Some light pear flavour underneath the hop fruit flavours. I would lower the bittering addition next time and up the dry hopping rate.
This beer is sticky on the palate but not cloying, the large head and prickly carbonation help it fill the mouth well.
I’m happy with the yeast character, it’s spicy and has thrown off some nice, recognisably Belgian esters. The beer finishes nice and dry and the haze was avoidable (but I’m not entering this in any competitions so it’s just for me!) but doesn’t ruin the enjoyment.
I think I went a little too complex with the hop profile, the end result is a little muddy and nothing really shines through. There is a nice fruit flavour but nothing distinctive, I think going forward I would drop the Chinook and Amarillo and I’m not sure in this instance the ‘C’ hops have helped the Motueka shine through. The spicy character of the yeast has made the perceived bitterness higher so if I re-brewed I would drop the bittering addition a little.
A perfectly pleasant IPA overall though and one I will enjoy working my way through!