If you like fruit complexity, this beer is awesome. It is definitely an American IPA (perhaps even a low-end IIPA), though some argument can be made by a blind taster for an APA if he or she didn't know the vitals (OG=1.075, FG=1.012, IBU= 53.4, SRM=7, ABV=8.2). OMG, is it sneaky! Just like a tripel. Just the way I'd like it to be!
Aromas and flavors of apricot, citrus, grapefruit, lychee, and tangerine against a medium malt backbone that does not overpower. It supports the clean yet enamel-coating bitterness which lingers well into the finish. How can all three hop features be present yet complementary and perfectly balanced by the malt character?! YUMMY! I'm my own worst critic, but this is very enjoyable! If you're a SN Pale Ale or SN Torpedo Extra IPA fan--you'll love this!
There's no hot character or "fusels" in the aroma or flavor. (I used my newly bought Ranco fermentation controls that I wired myself). I'm a believer: You gotta control the fermentation temps! Only clean EtOH, and it isn't really that detectable in the aroma (again, sneaky!). [thanks, MajorVices and Fred Bonjour--I know you guys really harped on this point in several other posts].
I did keep the mash temps lower (150-152 F, the entire time), rather than 154F. Good advice there, guys. I love sweets, but, you're right, I like the medium-dryness of the finish in this beer.
I did not change the grain bill.
I kept the melanoiden. And the crystals (20L and 40 L). And the CaraPils.
And, I'm glad I did. My bias is towards malty. But, ths beer still leans hoppy. Oh, yeah. This beer is not "too malty," nor does it have "too much caramel" in my opinion.
I did tweak the hop additions. Bluesman, I took your advice. I changed the 15 minute additions to 10 minutes, and the 5 minute additions to 0 to +1 minute post knockout/IC initiation.
During SG readings, I'd sample the beer--I decided NOT to dry hop. There already was plenty of hop flavor and aroma and it seemed perfectly balanced already.
Due to the busy family schedule, I just kept the beer in primary for two weeks before kegging and bottling. It was done fermenting long before then, but I just didn't have the time.
Food pairing: My mother makes a great "Russian Chicken" recipe utilizing Russian dressing and apricot preserves as glaze for baked chicken. I have visions of Russian Chicken breasts atop beds of rice accompanied by this beer. MMMM....good! [Cap, please help me out here!]