Given the rise of Black IPA’s (or whatever your preferred name is) popularity, we decided it was time to brew one ourselves. Those who read our previous post on Black IPAs can get a pretty good sense of what we like in a Black IPA. There are a lot of interesting takes on the style since it’s only starting to emerge into relative popularity (or is it? WARNING: history ahead!), but the ones we’ve always disliked were those that used dark malts just for coloring. What’s the point?
So without further ado, here’s our Black IPA recipe. Following that we have a breakdown of how this turned out (here’s a preview: it’s pretty damn good). Adjust the recipe as needed for your system/efficiency/hops/etc.
The Wealth of Darkness
Batch Size: 5 US gallons
Estimated OG: 1.060 (we were a bit lower than this, though)
Target finishing gravity: about 1.009
Boil time: 60 minutes
10 lbs Pale 2-row (85.11%)
1 lb Crystal 40 (8.51%)
8 oz Midnight Wheat (4.26%)
4 oz Chocolate Malt (2.13%)
2 oz Columbus (14.60 AA) at 15min
1 oz Nugget (12.20 AA) at 15min
1 oz Columbus (14.60 AA) at flameout
1 oz Nugget (12.20 AA) at flameout
1 oz Columbus (14.60 AA) for dryhop last 7 days of primary
1 oz Nugget (12.20 AA) for dryhop last 7 days of primary
Yeast: Safale US-05
Mash: 60 minute mash at 153 degrees F
Fermentation: 3 weeks at 68 degrees F
Bottling: We carbonated to 2.8 volumes of CO2. It was ready to go after 2.5-3 weeks in the bottle at room temperature.
Now, you probably noticed we used Midnight Wheat in this beer, which is a seasonal malt from Briess (9/13/11 EDIT: This malt is now available year round! Go get some!) . If you are able to get your hands on some of this stuff; do it! It’s an awesome malt. Your local homebrew shop might be able to order some in from their supplier from last year’s malting, and at the time of writing this articles there was still Midnight Wheat available at several popular online shops. If you don’t want to go through the trouble of obtaining it, you can substitute in a darker Carafa for a similar flavor, or even a few ounces of Chocolate Wheat with Carafa. This year’s crop of Midnight Wheat will be getting released by Briess around July.
Appearance – Well, as you can see, it’s black! Ended up as a rather clear beer, as well. Head retention wasn’t out of this world, but it poured a nice creamy, off-white head. It’s a tasty looking beverage.
Smell – This beer really shines in aroma. It has a great balance of the malt character with the hops. The Nugget and Columbus play together really well. It’s a very clean hop aroma with herbal and light citrus notes. This is balanced well (but not covered up at all) by a solid dark malt backbone. Some chocolate and roasty notes are clearly evident. Overall the aroma plays off of everything really well.
Taste – The bitterness is nice and clean; not harsh in any way. The hop character is herbal and a little grassy. The citrus notes from the nose carry over into the taste some, but not really a whole lot. The malt character is interesting and complex. With a sip, it starts off just tasting like a normal American IPA, but then the dark malts start to come through. Some chocolate, light coffee, and a surprisingly nice smokiness play well into the finish. Aftertaste is clean hop character with a little bit of dryness from the malts. The malt character and hop character compliment each other nicely.
Overall – This beer is really solid, and there’s nothing we automatically thought of that we would want to change. It’s very drinkable, and you’ll want to serve it somewhat warmer than fridge temperature so all of the character can come out. We’ve tried a lot of commercial Black IPAs in recent history, and this one definitely ranks up there. Very happy with how it turned out.
Questions? Comments? Criticisms? Let us know below! We hope you give this recipe a try and if you do, let us know how it turns out!