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
Efficiency: 70%
Estimated OG: 1.060 (we were a bit lower than this, though)
Target finishing gravity: about 1.009
IBUs: 69
Boil time: 60 minutes

Grain Bill
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%)

Boil/Hops
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!

26 Responses to “Brewing a Black IPA: Homebrew Recipe”

  1. New Brewer

    No 60 minute bittering hops on this brew?

  2. Shane

    Nope, no 60min addition for this one. The amount of later hops bring the IBUs up to an appropriate level, while allowing the addition of a lot of hops to get a good aroma and flavor. “Hop bursting” is a preferred method we like to use for our APAs and IPAs.

  3. Brian

    Nice, I’ll be trying this next weekend. I’ve been looking for a good CDA recipe, all I found that was appealing was the Stone SSA recipes, which are just 2-row with some C60 and Carafa III. I was going to do that, but I met somebody who had his own recipe on tap and it was very nice. I asked him about it, he said “there’s some coffee in there, and some chocolate.” I didn’t really press him, but I figured I could figure it out from there. With the Crystal 40 in this recipe, plus the chocolate and the midnight wheat (which I’m unfamiliar with, but I’ll check the old LHBS) I think this might be right up my alley.

  4. Kathleen Hotmer

    Hey there,

    Just used your recipe for Black IPA. Had a couple of questions regarding fermentation time and adding the hops for dry hopping. You say that you fermented for 3 weeks. Did you do all of this in one fermenter or did you switch to a secondary fermenter at some point? And if so did you add the hops into the primary fermenter for the last seven days and then filter before moving into the secondary fermenter?

    Thank you,
    Kathleen

  5. Matt

    Quick Question. Is it possible to get emailed the brewing procedure for this beer. I am looking at this recipe as a present to my father. He is very new to brewing and I am not sure that the brewing procedure (temps, times, ingredient addition) is uniform with all beers brewed. I would really appreciate it.

    Thanks!

    Matt

  6. Peter

    Hey sounds like a great brew! I have been living in VT for the last 4 years where this style was initially created in 1990 (so I’m told). Lately I have really been enjoying the Otter Creek IPA, if you haven’t tried it, I highly suggest you do. But your remark about there being some pleasant smokey notes got me thinking. about maybe putting some smoked malt into a IBA recipe. I would love to hear your thoughts. I am brewing a smoked stout right now with cherry wood smoked malt and I am extremely excited. Thanks for the help and the recipe!

    Peter

  7. Brian Kent

    Matt:

    I’ll email you the procedure I used, I think I got everything about right for this recipe. Very step-by-step, as my notes always are. :) Email me at (my full name as shown) at gmail dot com.

  8. Shane

    Kathleen:

    Sorry I’m so late in replying to this! As I posted up on the blog a little while back, I’ve had to put this blog on a temporary hold, and I just got around to checking comments.

    We fermented for the full 3 weeks in primary, with the dry hops being added for the last week in primary. No secondary on this, we bottled after the 3 weeks in primary.

  9. Shane

    Peter:

    I could see smoked malt definitely working in a beer like this (and, to be honest, I like smoked malt in just about any dark style of beer).

  10. Brian

    Update on this: Just cracked my first of these after 3 weeks in primary and 2 weeks in the bottle. Turned out great! Nice malt body and good hop balance. It’s not overly hoppy like most of my favorite IPAs, but that’s not really the style we’re after with this either. A great brew to have in the rotation, I think – much better than just an IPA with some dark roast added for color, this really has some depth to it. Thanks, guys!

  11. Clayton

    Followed this black ipa recipe pretty closely during my most recent brew. However I am a partial extract brewer (no room or money for all grain). My recipe was as follows.

    7 lbs light dried malt extract
    1/2 lb roasted wheat 500L
    1/2 lb chocolate malt 350L
    1 lb crystal 40L

    White labs 007 English dry ale yeast with 62 hour starter
    Steeped specialty grains for 35 minutes starting at 149F and slowly rising temperature to 160F during the 35 minutes.
    Dissolved DME and proceeded with hop varieties and additions as scheduled above.
    Finished product was definately black however the bursting technique added nice sharpness to the grain bill. With your eyes closed one would never notice the typically standard aromas of the chocolate malt. Nose is hoppy. Wheat aides in the head retention which is fairly white in color. Using a yeast starter for this beer is advised there is alot going on and the bigger and faster the fermentation the better, I’m a big fan of white labs 007 English dry ale. always very smooth and never interferes with grain bill in my past ipas. Another suggested yeast would be white labs California ale or California V. This beer was kegged and given medium to high level of carbonation. The beer was enjoyed by wife coworkers and friends.

  12. Shane

    Sounds like a winner! Thanks for checking out the recipe.

  13. Steve Edholm

    Bottling this now. I let it dry hop for 3 extra days as i couldn’t bottle on time. So far i could easily drink this flat. It is fantastic. Cant wait for the finished product. Will have to do this again and mess with it, but thanks for posting this, up with my faves i have brewed

  14. Shane

    We’re glad that you enjoy it!! Let us know how future tinkering goes.

  15. James

    I think you guys are on to something with this grain bill. I brewed this 3 or 4 weeks ago, and kegged it a few days ago. Had the first beer last night, and it was delicious! The only changes I made were with dry-hopping…I’m a little burnt out on columbus and nugget for dry-hopping, as the last few beers I’ve made used them for this purpose. So I went with an oz of Willamette and Cascade instead. The up front hop character is nice and smooth, and like you mention, the finishing chocolate taste that you get at the end of the sip is really great. Thanks!

  16. pigandhorse

    thinking about trying this one out..i wonder what it would take to make this one a double black ipa.. we are looking to do this one but want to make it more of a west coast style very hoppy black ipa..we will be tweeking this sightly and we will let you know how it turns out!

  17. pigandhorse

    We tweaked this one a bit. Used Carafa III instead of Midnight Wheat. Kept the Columbus and Nugget at 15 but added Amarillo and Citra at the flameout. We will be dry hopping with Columbus and Northern Brewer.

  18. Lisa

    Could I also get your step-by-step procedures? Looks like a great recipe!

  19. Shane

    That sounds great! Please let us know how it turns out in the end.

  20. Shane

    Absolutely! I’ll send you an email soon.

  21. Marcos de Paula

    Could I also get the step-by-step procedure? I’m from Brazil and I liked a lot your recipe! Maybe I can make some here too.

  22. Mac

    Hi. Looks great. Plz e-mail me the notes. Trying this one later this month. Thx

  23. Jim

    Great recipe. I brewed 10 gallon batch, Half with Dry English Ale yeast and half with California Ale yeast.

    I’m thinking about adding some additional hops to the keg for the Dry English version.

  24. slackerlack

    I won 1st place with this recipe in a competition last month in the Black IPA/Dark American Pale Ale category. I keep this beer on tap in my house now at all times. Thank you guys for the recipe.

  25. Martin

    Hi! A friend and I are planning to brew your recipe, but as we are living in Denmark, malts are a little different. We have a few pale malts available. One is a standard, and two others are “Pearl pale malt” and “Tipple pale malt”. Here, I guess we are going with the regular pale malt of 6.5 EBC.

    Regarding the Crystal, I assume the “40″ refers to the Lovibond, so this is about 80 EBC (according to Papazians formula EBC = 2 x Lovibond). My real question is regarding the chocolate malt: what did you use here? I have a range of chocolate malts available from my supplier!

    Looking forward to it and thank you for the recipe!

  26. Jay

    I was just searching around and found this recipe. I have a plan to do something like this, with the smoked malt as one of the comments suggested. I’m thinking adding 1 pound of the smoked to the mash, and swap the midnight for Carafa. I specifically want to have a bit of the roasty flavor from that malt in there.
    Hopping will be mostly Chinook and Simcoe – I want the piney hops, not the fruity, citrus ones.

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