Over the past 3 months I have been playing around a lot with my hoppy beers. My goal has been a "softer" and "fuller" beer with lots of hop flavor and aroma. Long story short...... I have been brewing some IPA's I really love, and others do as well. The Chloride/Sulfate levels I have been having the most success with are approximately 130 Chloride to 65 sulfate (approx.). I have loved the outcomes of these beers. This is a "cut and paste" from a thread on HBT where I posted one of my favorite IPA/APA's ...... This has become the go-to template for most of my APA/IPA type beers:
Recent things that I have been happy with:
*12-15% flaked grains in grain bill
*2:1 Chloride to sulfate. Been going about 130:65ppm for recent beers
*Using some canning salt to get my Na up from 0 to 30 or so
*Using some of my high bicarbonate water (20-40%)
*pH's of my best versions have all been what I would consider high.... with mash/boil kettle (preboil) around 5.45 or even a touch higher. This seems to be pushing the high end of pH to me....but, I like the results better than 5.2-5.3 I don't know why this would be..... but it is.
*Lower carbonation.... not flat, but not biting.
*Primary dry hop plus a second, short dry hop in a hopping keg, under CO2 and jump to serving keg after 48 hours. I use this method and it works awesome - http://www.bear-flavored.com/2014/09/how-i-dry-hop-my-ipas-with-no-oxygen.html
(This dry hopping strategy has been AWESOME. I highly recommend it)
Recipe for the citra beer in picture below:
(6.5 gallon batch at end of boil - gets me 5 into keg eventually)
41% Rahr 2 Row
41% Maris Otter
8% Flaked Oats
4% Flaked Barley
2% Flaked Wheat
3% Crystal 20
.75 oz. Warrior (60)
3 oz. Citra Flameout
Start to chill and shut off chiller with wort at 160-170
3oz. Citra Hopstand for 30-40 minutes, occasional stirring/swirling
Chill the rest of the way and let settle out for another 20-30 minutes
3oz. Dryhop in primary somewhere around day 5-7 for about 5 days.
Transfer to purged keg with dryhopping set up (in link above) with 3 more ounces of citra in the keg. Jump it to serving keg 2 days later.
I have been using Conan but other yeasts would work well I am sure.
Start ferment at 62 and let free rise to 66-68 for the first 4 days. Then move fermenter to where ambient is 68-70 for duration.
Using in mash and sparge water-
Gypsum .2 gr/gallon
CaCl .6 gr/gallon
Epsom .1 gr/gallon
Canning salt .2 gr/gallon
RO= 60%, Tap = 40% (your water may vary - mine is HIGH bicarbonate in the 260 range)
Ca = 96
Mg = 12
Na = 28
Sulfate = 67
Chloride = 135
Bicarbonate = 128
Lactic Acid in mash and sparge = .5ml/gallon
Mash pH = 5.45
pre boil = 5.47
Post boil = 5.30
At any rate, that is my latest (and favorite so far) of the ones I have been brewing. Two others on finishing dry hop and getting carbed. Fairly similar though as I have been really pleased with this general process lately.
Some of the things in this recipe obviously seem to go counter to brewing light colored IPA type beers..... low sulfate, high chloride, Bicarbonate water, pH's pushing the higher ranges...... but this strategy has bee producing the best IPA's I have ever brewed.... batch after batch (15-20 APA/IPA's over the past 3-4 months).
I was inspired down this road with various vermont/east coast hoppy beers as well as some others (treehouse, tired hands, etc.)