Friday, June 26, 2015

C Hops, Drink Hops

My father's favorite beers tend to gravitate toward a few common characteristics: fairly hoppy, fairly bitter, citrusy, lightly piney, with a moderate level of caramel malt backbone to keep it all in line.  In other words: the classic American IPA.  His favorite beers include Evolution's Lot #3 which is loaded with C hops and some Amarillo.  It's been a while since I've brewed a more classic American IPA and I decided to get something on tap for the summer that my Dad would be proud of.  Loaded with C hops and with just a bit of light caramel malt and oats this beer is intended to be hop forward, fairly bitter, and super citrusy, without all the exotic/tropical/fruity characters the newfangled hops bring to the table.  With my StarTropics IPA on tap this should be a welcome alternative.  I'm also aiming to make this beer super dry and crisp by mashing at just 149F, which should also offer an alternative (and advantage) over the under attenuated, overly malty StarTropics IPA currently on tap.

I managed to break my hydrometer the day of kegging, so I didn't get an FG for this beer. It was kegged with 1 oz of each of the C hops used in the recipe and has now been on tap about a month.

Appearance - pale gold, a touch lighter than the standard IPA though not extremely so. Somewhat hazy (likely from the keg hops) with a small but persistent white head.

Smell- the smell is by far my favorite par of this beer with a huge citrusy nose evoking lemon, lime, and resin with a little bit of dank, earthy and herbal mixed in. I get just a little stone fruit, though others have really pointed this out.

Taste- upfront there is some citrus but this is quickly brushed aside in favor of the dank, pine, and bitterness that last through a smooth but highly bitter finish. Again, I don't get much fruitiness though others have mentioned apricot and peach (without even knowing the yeast was Conan).

Mouthfeel- dry and moderately carbonated. The dryness likely adds to the bitterness and extent that the piney characteristics of the beer dominate.

Overall- this is a beer that I have a hard time with. It isn't all that similar to most commercial IPAs and is flawed in the one note, overly dominant hop character. Yet some people who have tried it have had nothing but good things to say and I occasionally find myself craving it (maybe if only for the amazing smell). I've also had very mixed feedback on how to improve it: more complex/less fermentative malt bill, less bitterness, less Columbus/Chinook hops. I think maybe a combination of all of the above with an increase in oats (or use of golden naked instead of quick oats), and a slight reduction in the Chinook and Columbus to let the Cascade and Centennial citrus character show more, would really make this beer exciting. As is, it's a passable but far from exciting IPA, that drinks fine on this hot rainy day.

No comments:

Post a Comment