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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: adama on June 24, 2011, 05:29:51 PM

Title: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: adama on June 24, 2011, 05:29:51 PM
so...I want to attempt my first imperial IPA. The thing is, I don't care for the overly sweet character some beers of this style have. Want to go for a low temp mash to aid in attenuation, but dont want to end up with a watery beer. My thought was to go ahead with the low temp mash and just add a bit of carapils to throw a bit more dextrins into the mix. so basically the idea is to go with a pale malt base with a bit of crystal for color/flavor, and carapils to make up for lost body. How does this sound? Any input would be much appreciated! Thank you
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: denny on June 24, 2011, 05:35:41 PM
IMO, an IIPA needs to have some sugar in it to dry it out.  To me, that's what differentiates it from an AM. BW.
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: adama on June 24, 2011, 05:42:44 PM
would the sugar not also lighten the body as well though?
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: denny on June 24, 2011, 05:44:59 PM
would the sugar not also lighten the body as well though?

Yeah, as it should.  I wouldn't use the carapils at all.  Keep in mind that an all grain beer at that OG is gonna be pretty thick.
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: tschmidlin on June 24, 2011, 05:47:03 PM
Also, if you are trying to minimize the sweet character then I would minimize the crystal too.
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: adama on June 24, 2011, 05:51:15 PM
what if i cut out the crystal all together and go with an all pale malt bill with the addition of some amber beet syrup?
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: tschmidlin on June 24, 2011, 05:57:08 PM
I wouldn't eliminate it entirely, you get flavors from the crystal besides just sweetness.  I keep the crystal malts to about 5% of the grist, and use about 7% sugar for my IIPA.
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: denny on June 24, 2011, 06:00:23 PM
I wouldn't eliminate it entirely, you get flavors from the crystal besides just sweetness.  I keep the crystal malts to about 5% of the grist, and use about 7% sugar for my IIPA.

I'm darn close to those amounts, too.
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: adama on June 24, 2011, 06:06:09 PM
thanks for the info guys, I'll give it a try
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: skyler on June 27, 2011, 05:49:47 AM
I disagree about the need for sugar. I like 98-100% domestic 2-row and 0-2% of whatever specialty malt you like (I like British 65L crystal). I mash at 148-149 for 60 min with no mashout, then I boil for 90 min to get it at the color I like, and I use a huge amount of WLP001 or Pacman or some other very dry American yeast. Always gets it to the 1.010-1.014 range where I like them.
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: majorvices on June 27, 2011, 12:36:39 PM
Throwing my hat in with Denny et al. Sugar is essential for a proper IIPA. I use about 10% in mine and about 5% crystal. You want to dry the beer out and thin the body out with the sugar but you need a small amount of crystal sweetness to balance the hops. I don't enjoy these thick, caramelly IIPAs. A IIPA should be so good that once you drink one you immediately want another.
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: ccarlson on June 27, 2011, 12:59:36 PM
I disagree about the need for sugar. I like 98-100% domestic 2-row and 0-2% of whatever specialty malt you like (I like British 65L crystal). I mash at 148-149 for 60 min with no mashout, then I boil for 90 min to get it at the color I like, and I use a huge amount of WLP001 or Pacman or some other very dry American yeast. Always gets it to the 1.010-1.014 range where I like them.

I agree. With a long mash and at the proper temperature, you don't have to use sugar.
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: denny on June 27, 2011, 03:37:08 PM
I disagree about the need for sugar. I like 98-100% domestic 2-row and 0-2% of whatever specialty malt you like (I like British 65L crystal). I mash at 148-149 for 60 min with no mashout, then I boil for 90 min to get it at the color I like, and I use a huge amount of WLP001 or Pacman or some other very dry American yeast. Always gets it to the 1.010-1.014 range where I like them.

I agree. With a long mash and at the proper temperature, you don't have to use sugar.

No, you don't have to.  But my experience is that it makes a better (and more to style, if you care about that) beer.  without the sugar, my IIPAs end up more like Am. BW.
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: ccarlson on June 27, 2011, 03:52:46 PM
I disagree about the need for sugar. I like 98-100% domestic 2-row and 0-2% of whatever specialty malt you like (I like British 65L crystal). I mash at 148-149 for 60 min with no mashout, then I boil for 90 min to get it at the color I like, and I use a huge amount of WLP001 or Pacman or some other very dry American yeast. Always gets it to the 1.010-1.014 range where I like them.

I agree. With a long mash and at the proper temperature, you don't have to use sugar.

No, you don't have to.  But my experience is that it makes a better (and more to style, if you care about that) beer.  without the sugar, my IIPAs end up more like Am. BW.

I hear you and I've had some turn out that way, but try mashing long and low sometime and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. I'm not a BW fan and this procedure has worked well for me.

Nothing wrong with using sugar, I just enjoy the challenge of doing it without.
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: denny on June 27, 2011, 04:28:22 PM
I hear you and I've had some turn out that way, but try mashing long and low sometime and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. I'm not a BW fan and this procedure has worked well for me.

Nothing wrong with using sugar, I just enjoy the challenge of doing it without.

I've done a 2 hour mash at 147 and I didn't think the results were as good as when I used sugar.  The long low mash lessened the body somewhat, but it still tasted too thick (yeah, I know...how can taste be thick?).
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: ccarlson on June 27, 2011, 04:50:13 PM
I think "thick" is a good description for it. I need some more experience using sugar, because it's probably much more predictable than what I'm doing. While I don't like thick beer, I also don't like hot beer.
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: denny on June 27, 2011, 05:47:51 PM
I think "thick" is a good description for it. I need some more experience using sugar, because it's probably much more predictable than what I'm doing. While I don't like thick beer, I also don't like hot beer.

If you're implying that sugar=heat then you might want to reassess how you're using it and if other techniques might be giving you the heat.  Sugar on its own shouldn't do that.
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: ccarlson on June 27, 2011, 06:06:45 PM
I think "thick" is a good description for it. I need some more experience using sugar, because it's probably much more predictable than what I'm doing. While I don't like thick beer, I also don't like hot beer.

If you're implying that sugar=heat then you might want to reassess how you're using it and if other techniques might be giving you the heat.  Sugar on its own shouldn't do that.

Too much sugar will produce too much alcohol. That's the "heat" I'm referring to. Maybe you only use that term for fusels, which I realize is not what we're talking about.
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: majorvices on June 27, 2011, 06:10:47 PM
Many belgian tripels use as much as 20% sugar as fermentables and I certainly don't consider any of those examples as displaying "too much heat". My own tripel uses 20% of sugar for a 1.075 beer and it is extremely deceptive and quaffable - the abv is hidden very well.
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: denny on June 27, 2011, 06:48:27 PM
Too much sugar will produce too much alcohol. That's the "heat" I'm referring to. Maybe you only use that term for fusels, which I realize is not what we're talking about.

"Too much" might, but "too much" is a relative and subjective assessment.
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: ccarlson on June 27, 2011, 07:52:07 PM
And that's my point, what is too much? I'm looking for a good ROT on % of sugar vs. OG or ???
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: anthony on June 27, 2011, 08:09:10 PM
Much of this style is based on perception anyways... 3F Dreadnaught and Dogfish Head 90m are listed as classic examples and they definitely have fairly high finishing gravities when compared to something like Pliny. I think that while malty character and dryness of finish can separate an American Barleywine from IIPA, that the main differentiation between IIPA and American Barleywine is the character of the bitterness which in IIPA, quoting the guidelines, may be "absurdly high"... the specific character of the specialty malt comes into play as well but I also think there can be a fair amount of overlap between the styles within their respective aging curves.
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: gordonstrong on June 27, 2011, 08:43:42 PM
90 Minute seems different from when it was first put on the list.  It's sweeter now.  Doesn't really taste right.  I'd expect it to drop down on the list in future guidelines.
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: majorvices on June 27, 2011, 09:00:06 PM
I definitely think DFH 90 min is not a good example to the style. In fact, I don't really like that beer much. Like I mentioned in my post above, this is the type of beer that feels like a session beer. Once you have one, you will usually want another. DFH 90 min is not in that camp IMO.

I do agree there may be some crossover, or some people's opinions may differ on the amount of crossover. But too often I have these sweet and "thick" IIPAs that don't remind me of what I expect a IIPA to taste like.
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: anthony on June 27, 2011, 10:37:49 PM
I definitely think DFH 90 min is not a good example to the style. In fact, I don't really like that beer much. Like I mentioned in my post above, this is the type of beer that feels like a session beer. Once you have one, you will usually want another. DFH 90 min is not in that camp IMO.

I do agree there may be some crossover, or some people's opinions may differ on the amount of crossover. But too often I have these sweet and "thick" IIPAs that don't remind me of what I expect a IIPA to taste like.

I don't disagree. I prefer my IIPAs to spotlight hops with none of that pesky malt getting in the way, but here in the midwest, there seems to be a huge regional bias toward these other "lesser"  ;) examples.

I can't begin to count the number of times I've had exchanges with seasoned beer judges who think that Pliny is too dry, not enough malt to back up the hop character it has, etc.
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: denny on June 27, 2011, 10:45:38 PM
And that's my point, what is too much? I'm looking for a good ROT on % of sugar vs. OG or ???

You need to experiment to see what works for your tastes.
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: chumley on June 28, 2011, 12:41:48 AM
What Denny said.

FWIW, I like this malt bill for a 1.080 IIPA, 5 gallon batch:

14 lbs. 2-row
0.75 lbs. caravienne
1.5 lbs, sugar

But, everybody has their own tastes.

I bought a sixer of a IIPA from a local microbrewery that I've never this weekend.  I could tell right off the bat it was all malt....much too sweet, I could only drink one.
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: gordonstrong on June 28, 2011, 06:39:19 PM
Ah.  You must have gotten a UIPA (underattenuated IPA).  They're pretty popular based on the number of people who make them.
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: denny on June 28, 2011, 06:46:04 PM
Ah.  You must have gotten a UIPA (underattenuated IPA).  They're pretty popular based on the number of people who make them.

 ;D
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: redbeerman on June 28, 2011, 11:10:42 PM
Ah.  You must have gotten a UIPA (underattenuated IPA).  They're pretty popular based on the number of people who make them.
;D ;D  I prefer those like Ruination.  Hoppy with a crisp dry finish, but you can still taste the malt.  Pliny is tough to get around here, but I hear there is a place a little over an hour away that has it.  Between Ron and myself, we'll get some one of these days soon.
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: blatz on June 29, 2011, 02:00:01 PM


I can't begin to count the number of times I've had exchanges with seasoned beer judges who think that Pliny is too dry, not enough malt to back up the hop character it has, etc.

and you told them to turn in their judging badges on the spot, right?
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: gordonstrong on June 29, 2011, 03:11:38 PM
Nice.  Badge police here.  Taking you in for questioning.

I think the problem people have with differentiating the styles is that they calibrate on bad examples.  A crappy, underattenuated IIPA will taste a lot like a crappy, underattenuated ABW.  That doesn't mean the styles are the same.  That means if you make them wrong, you can wind up with similar results.

I remember someone telling me that lambics had to have a lot of acetic acid in them because they had one at the Delirium Cafe and it tasted that way. I told them that they went an awful long way to get a bad beer.  Even world class examples can be off if old or mishandled.
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: johnf on June 29, 2011, 03:50:42 PM
90 Minute seems different from when it was first put on the list.  It's sweeter now.  Doesn't really taste right.  I'd expect it to drop down on the list in future guidelines.

+1

I lived in Oregon and drank this 5 years ago. I live in KC now and we don't get it but have spend a lot of time in Delaware the last couple of years and it is not the same. Hard to drink. I still like the 60 minute draught and it is ubiquitous in Wilmington.
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: anthony on June 29, 2011, 08:43:26 PM


I can't begin to count the number of times I've had exchanges with seasoned beer judges who think that Pliny is too dry, not enough malt to back up the hop character it has, etc.

and you told them to turn in their judging badges on the spot, right?

Nah ;-) I just roll my eyes and move on to a different judge to harass about some other style.
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: skyler on July 08, 2011, 06:33:46 PM
I absolutely deplore syrupy, sweet IIPAs. They are too similar to am American Barleywine, and while that style of Barleywine (the hoppier, lower-bodied kind that is similar to some IIPAs) is my favorite kind of Barleywine, I do not consider that an IIPA and I never want more than 8 ounces of it. My IIPA tastes fall within the Pliny camp (though I have lately had a strong preference for "new school" hop profiles).

That being said, while I don't mind using simple sugar in my beers, I don't see the need for it in my IIPA. For me, the dryness is unnecessary since I use little to no crystal and no carapils and I mash very low. For me and my tastebuds, the caramel flavor that crystal adds to a beer just isn't what I am looking for in my IIPA - I like a very clean, neutral malt profile with minimal sweetness and complexity. That being said, I also like my IIPAs around the 100 IBU range (Tinseth, on paper), and at around the 8-8.5% ABV range, which is at the lower end of the gravity range in the BJCP guidelines. I suppose if I was going for a 9-10% ABV IIPA, I would probably add some simple sugar to get it up there.
Title: Re: grain bill for imperial IPA
Post by: dannyjed on July 09, 2011, 12:47:51 AM
The BW I made on New Year's Day tasted a lot like a IIPA after a few months, but now that the hops have mellowed it tastes like ABW(much sweeter).  By the way, I used a pound of sugar.  The first time I crossed two categories with one beer.