Author Topic: Is a good, low ABV IPA possible?  (Read 4621 times)

Offline richardt

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Re: Is a good, low ABV IPA possible?
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2010, 02:43:30 PM »
I'm not getting in the debate of descriptive versus proscriptive when it comes to the BJCP style parameters.

If it is good beer, it is good beer.  Plain and simple.

But getting back to the original question:  is it possible to brew a good "session strength" IPA?

I believe it can be done.  Though I've not yet done it myself.

Look at the thread about award-winning milds for some tips:  essentially aromatic(or melanoidin) malt and toasted oats provide enough malt structure to balance the hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma.

I commend you for finding a session strength APA or IPA--we should have those, too!

DUI laws being what they are, over the limit is "over the limit".  I'd love to frequent my local brewpub more often, but transportation is an issue (can't walk home).  The big beers end up being consumed at home. 

ABV does not equal FLAVOR.  I hope you discover the secret recipe, and, like Vinnie C, you post the recipe for the rest of us!


« Last Edit: June 27, 2010, 08:46:30 PM by richardt »

Offline majorvices

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Re: Is a good, low ABV IPA possible?
« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2010, 06:22:23 PM »
Quote
ABV does not equal FAVOR.  I hope you discover the secret recipe, and, like Vinnie C, you post the recipe for the rest of us!

I couldn't disagree more. If thats the case I guess there would be a good non-alcoholic beer out there (there's not). Alcohol is integral to the flavor of beer, as is the percentage of malt, which is directly related to the ABV of a beer. I agree with al the sentiments that you should be able to "find your own beer", and even call it what you want. But alcohol is imperative to an IPA. It may be a great beer. But a low ABV beer won't ever be an IPA.
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Offline hokerer

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Re: Is a good, low ABV IPA possible?
« Reply #17 on: June 27, 2010, 07:15:01 PM »
Quote
ABV does not equal FAVOR.  I hope you discover the secret recipe, and, like Vinnie C, you post the recipe for the rest of us!

I couldn't disagree more. If thats the case I guess there would be a good non-alcoholic beer out there (there's not). Alcohol is integral to the flavor of beer, as is the percentage of malt, which is directly related to the ABV of a beer. I agree with al the sentiments that you should be able to "find your own beer", and even call it what you want. But alcohol is imperative to an IPA. It may be a great beer. But a low ABV beer won't ever be an IPA.

Hmmm, quite the leap of logic there.  Even if ABV does equal flavor, there's nothing that says more flavor is better.  There are plenty of session level beers out there with the perfect amount of flavor (I agree they're not IPAs but neither are they your "reducto ad absurdium" non-alcoholics either).
Joe

Offline majorvices

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Re: Is a good, low ABV IPA possible?
« Reply #18 on: June 27, 2010, 08:11:59 PM »
Quote
ABV does not equal FAVOR.  I hope you discover the secret recipe, and, like Vinnie C, you post the recipe for the rest of us!

I couldn't disagree more. If thats the case I guess there would be a good non-alcoholic beer out there (there's not). Alcohol is integral to the flavor of beer, as is the percentage of malt, which is directly related to the ABV of a beer. I agree with al the sentiments that you should be able to "find your own beer", and even call it what you want. But alcohol is imperative to an IPA. It may be a great beer. But a low ABV beer won't ever be an IPA.

Hmmm, quite the leap of logic there.  Even if ABV does equal flavor, there's nothing that says more flavor is better.  There are plenty of session level beers out there with the perfect amount of flavor (I agree they're not IPAs but neither are they your "reducto ad absurdium" non-alcoholics either).

I don't see how it is a "leap of logic" at all. If anything the leap of logic is making the assumption that I am saying higher ABV is better. I certainly never said that.

I think this is just a big misunderstanding, either on my part or ya'lls. I'm not disagreeing that the idea for the beer in question is possible or not. I'm just agreeing with Dave's initial statement - technically it sounds like what the OP wants is a pale ale. IMO that would fit the bill.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2010, 12:30:06 AM by majorvices »
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Offline denny

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Re: Is a good, low ABV IPA possible?
« Reply #19 on: June 28, 2010, 08:42:51 AM »
I firmly agree with Keith here, and it's a matter of using an accurate description to meet expectations.  If I ordered and IPA and got a 1.040ish beer, I'd feel that I had been deceived.  It's kinda like calling a pig a poodle...you can certainly do that, but you won't be getting your meaning across to other people.  As was said earlier, forget about descriptive terminology at all and just brew the beer you want to have.  But don't call a pig beer a poodle beer.
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Offline richardt

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Re: Is a good, low ABV IPA possible?
« Reply #20 on: June 28, 2010, 09:10:44 AM »
Good points by everyone.  My local brewpub will list the beer's style and the ABV.  The brewer does a great job of exploring styles and putting interesting twists on old favorites.  The descriptions are fair and honest, and we're told what the ABV is, so there's no deception of the public going on there.  Admittedly, a lot of the beers are higher ABV 5-6% and higher.  If I were to make a long evening of it, I'd like to have a flavorful "session strength" APA or IPA available.  Just call it that (and list the ABV).  It sounds better than "pigoodle," anyway.
 
I like Fred's recipe.  I just might brew that one soon.


Offline bonjour

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Re: Is a good, low ABV IPA possible?
« Reply #21 on: June 28, 2010, 09:53:07 AM »
let me know how it works for you.

Fred
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Everything under 1.100 is a 'session' beer ;)

Offline linenoiz

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Re: Is a good, low ABV IPA possible?
« Reply #22 on: June 28, 2010, 12:02:37 PM »
We have a local brewery around here by the name of Desert Edge. They make a beer that they call a Utah Pale Ale. Hopped up like an IPA, but low gravity to comply with Utah liquor laws (anything served in a keg can't be over 4.0% ABV). It's quite good, and stands up to the high hops very well.

High ABV is not a prerequisite for good beer. If it was, Utah wouldn't have any breweries.

Offline bluesman

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Re: Is a good, low ABV IPA possible?
« Reply #23 on: June 28, 2010, 12:39:18 PM »
I think a hybrid APA is in order. An APA with more IBU's than style dictates. At the very least an APA with the highest level of hops that the style will support might also fit the bill. An APA has 30-45 IBU and an IPA has 40-70 IBU's by style. An APA with 45 IBU's and a healthy dose of flavor/aroma/dry hops would come close to an IPA hop profile as per the BJCP style guidelines.
Ron Price

Offline bonjour

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Re: Is a good, low ABV IPA possible?
« Reply #24 on: June 28, 2010, 01:00:43 PM »
to document a new style/substyle we would need to establish that it exists and is being brewed by homebrewers.  Entering in CAT 23 in national contests is one way.  and we need some classic and available examples.

given that we would need to present a fully qualified style write-up (template is available on the BJCP website).
Fred Bonjour
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Everything under 1.100 is a 'session' beer ;)

Offline beer_crafter

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Re: Is a good, low ABV IPA possible?
« Reply #25 on: June 28, 2010, 02:09:15 PM »
The answer in my opinion is YES--- an "XPA" is essentially a low ABV beer with the character of an IPA.

I do not think an APA is what the original poster is looking for.  Most APAs are balanced, with caramel flavors, where the hops are prominent but not necesarily the sole focus of the beer.

If I were to attempt this, I would basically shoot for an OG:IBU ratio of 1:1.  I would skip the middle, flavor hops (because I feel that they will skew the IBU rating, perhaps unpredictably), use a lot of flameout hops, and a lot of dry hops. 

I would also use a decent amount of crystal malt, 8% or so. 

I would experiment with both American and British style yeasts.  I find that sometimes the esters in a London or British ale yeast will bring out more of the hop aroma in a beer. 

Offline richt

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Re: Is a good, low ABV IPA possible?
« Reply #26 on: June 29, 2010, 08:40:39 AM »
I usually have a super hoppy APA on tap at my house.  One way I go about brewing it is using all Munich malt for a nice malty backbone that makes it seem bigger than the 1.040-1.050 beer but still finishes dry, then add around 20-30 IBUs of a clean bittering hop at 60 minutes, then pile on the hops at 10 and flameout, and more in the keg.  For a 10 gallon batch I use between 8-12 ounces of hops in the boil.  I've entered variations of this beer as an APA and both times it didn't score well, but next time I might enter as an IPA or Specialty, or I might just drink it myself.  A hophead's session beer!
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Offline dirk_mclargehuge

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Re: Is a good, low ABV IPA possible?
« Reply #27 on: June 29, 2010, 09:33:37 AM »
This is a little strong for what you were after, but was originaly called Pliny Light, now Tasty APA by Mike McDole.
From Fred's site.  You might spend some time looking around there.

http://beerdujour.com/Recipes/Tasty%20APA.html
I second this motion.  I've brewed this about 6 times and it reminds me a  lot of Pliny.  Unfortunately it only lasts a week!  :'(

Offline richardt

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Re: Is a good, low ABV IPA possible?
« Reply #28 on: June 29, 2010, 10:01:28 AM »
Has anyone tried brewing a "pale" beer that is malty>bitter yet possesses significant hop flavor and aroma? 
I'm thinking American fruity/citrusy hops.

Offline markaberrant

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Re: Is a good, low ABV IPA possible?
« Reply #29 on: June 29, 2010, 12:52:14 PM »
Just wanted to add that I have toyed with the idea for awhile of putting together a recipe for an american-style hoppy beer around 1.040.  I had always thought I would refer to it as an "American Bitter," or even an "IPA Light."  I still want it to be hop focussed, I don't want the heavier malt character of a mild or even pale ale.