Nick Carr on May 19, 2016 0 Comments History of Double IPA’s The forerunner to both the American IPA and its descendant the double IPA was the British pale ale. Starting in the 1780’s — and possible before — this beer was exported to India and other places. Over time a new sort of beer emerged, one with higher hops and enough of a tie to the British India colonies to garner the name India Pale Ale around 1835. This ancestor was America’s genesis spark that spawned a line of brewing creativity finding new expression even today. One of those expressions has been Double IPA. Double IPA, also called Imperial IPA and IIPA, is a higher alcohol, hoppier version of the American IPA. Its history is short, stretching back only 22 years, but it was the first major innovation in America’s “great IPA experiment;” an experiment which has gone on to methodically redefine how an IPA can be built. The first double IPA seems to have been brewed by Vinnie Cilurzo back in June of 1994 for the now closed Blind Pig Brewery of Temecula, California. This was followed two years later buy Rogue releasing I2PA in 1996 and Stone followed two years later with their 2nd Anniversary IPA in 1998. It first appeared under its own category at the Great American Beer Festival in 2003. Today a brewery really isn’t considered hop-head worthy if it hasn’t at least brewed a special release Double IPA and many commercial breweries have an example of the style seasonally, if not year round. Style Profile & Characteristics The guidelines for the Double IPA beer style are set by the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) Style Committee. The below details are a summary of what a Double IPA should represent. Quick Characteristics Color Range: 6–14 SRM Original Gravity: 1.065–1.085 Final Gravity: 1.008–1.018 IBU Range: 60–120 ABV Range: 7.5–10% Aroma: Intense hoppy aromas with citrus, piney and floral notes; Little malty aromas present, but will be sweet if noticeable; Fruity esters possible, but minimal; Alcohol aromas possible, but low. Flavor: Strong hoppiness with citrus, piney, floral or fruity flavors; Hop bitterness will be extremely high; Restrained maltiness with possible caramel or toasty notes; Fruitiness is acceptable; Clean & light alcohol flavors are possible; Finish will be dry & bitter. Appearance: Ranges from straw gold to bronze orange; Foam head will be persistent with white or off-white hue; Clarity will be good, possible haze if dry-hopped. Mouthfeel: Carbonation will be medium or medium-high; Smooth texture with medium-light to medium body; No harsh astringency; Minimal alcohol warming is fine. Serving & Storage Temperature: 48-50°F Shelf Life: 2-3 months Suggested Glass: IPA Glass, Snifter or Tulip Food Pairings: Seafood, Eggs, Bacon, Sausage, Salads, Creamy cheeses, Light and creamy fruit desserts Appearance: A fairly pale beer ranging from straw gold to a more bronzy orange. Clarity will depend on whether, and to what extent, dry hopping was done. Many are very clear, others having gone through dry hopping and minimal, if any filtration will be hazy. A white to off-white head will form with moderately good retention. Aroma: Hop aromas characteristically have the qualities American and New World hops are known for; floral, citrus, stone fruit, pine/resin, tropical fruit, berry, and melon. These aromas can be quite intense. If the beer is dry hopped, which many are, further gassy/resin-like qualities can be prominent. Malt will be an afterthought, but can come through as a slightly sweet character. Some may appear fruitier due to added fruit esters piggybacking on the hops, but generally the fermentation will minimize these esters. A slight alcohol nose is often recognizable, but should remain low. Mouthfeel: Medium to Med-high carbonation pushing a med-light to medium body. Texture should be smooth with no harsh astringency coming from the hops. Some alcohol warming is okay, but should remain minimal. Taste: Presents a strong and varied hop flavor with likely qualities being that of American and New World hops; i.e. floral, citrus, stone fruit, spicy, pine/resin, tropical fruit, berry, and melon. Hop bitterness can be extremely high. Malts, if noticeable, will be restrained and will be of a clean grainy character with possible signs of caramel or toasty flavors possible. Some fruitiness, along the lines of low to medium, is acceptable. Dry to medium dry finish with bitterness riding long into the finish, though not coming through as harsh even in the aftertaste. Some light clean alcohol flavors are acceptable, but should not run hot. May also be slightly sulfury, though it’s not common. Oaky flavors do not have a place in this style. Pairing: Double IPA is just a stronger friend to the same foods IPA pairs well with. Any flavors robust and complex will work wonders. Pairs well with spicy dishes; think Indian, Mexican, and Cajun cooking. Roasted and grilled meats and fatty fish like salmon dance well. At the same time don’t be afraid to throw a burger or roast beef sandwich loaded with toppings at this beer. Cheeses to look for would be of the stinky moldy ilk; Stilton, other blues, and Linburger. Dessert should be something rich, thick, and inviting; Carrot cake with tons of icing, cheese cake, or crème brulée. Serving: For best presentation and greatest appreciation, a double IPA should be served at 48-54°F in an IPA glass, snifter, or tulip. They are best stored at refrigerator temperatures and enjoyed within 2 to 3 months. *Reference: The 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines Award-Winning Examples of the Style Hop JuJu Imperial IPA from Fat Head’s Brewing Company (Middleburg Heights, OH)Great American Beer Festival Winner, Gold, 2015. Available: Seasonal. Eazy Duz It IIPA from Laurelwood Public House & Brewery (Portland, OR)Great American Beer Festival Winner, Silver, 2015. Available: Seasonal. Teahupo’o from Breakwater Brewing Company (Oceanside, CA)Great American Beer Festival Winner, Bronze, 2015. Available: Rotating. Creeper from Columbus Brewing Company (Columbus, OH)Great American Beer Festival Winner, Gold, 2014. Available: Unknown. Hop 15 from Port Brewing Company (San Marcos, CA)Great American Beer Festival Winner, Silver, 2014. World Beer Cup Winner, Bronze, 2014. Available: Seasonal. Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company (Santa Rosa, CA)Great American Beer Festival Winner, Bronze, 2014. Available: Year Round. 2 x 4 from Melvin Brewing Company (Jackson, WY)World Beer Cup Winner, Gold, 2014. Available: Year Round. Astillero from Cerveceria Agua Mala (Ensenada, Mexico)World Beer Cup Winner, Silver, 2014. Available: Year Round. More Popular Double IPAs to Try Ruination 2.0 from Stone Brewing Company (Escondido, CA) Heady Topper from The Alchemist (Waterbury, VT) Green Flash West Coast IPA from Green Flash Brewing (San Diego, CA) Hoptimum from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (Chico, CA) 120 Minute IPA from Dogfish Head Brewing Company (Milton, DE) Double Jack from Firestone Walker Brewing Company (Paso Robles, CA) Hopothermia from Alaskan Brewing Company (Juneau, AK) Rebel Rouser from Samuel Adams Brewing Company (Boston, MA) Myrcenary from Odell Brewing Company (Fort Collins, CO) Cafe Racer 15 from Bear Republic Brewing (Healdsburg, CA) Tips for Brewing a Double IPA Because a double IPA is described as a stronger, hoppier version of an American IPA the homebrewer might be inclined to make a bigger IPA, in most cases, this will not get you to the right place. A bigger grain bill almost always means sweeter and heavier, which is not what you want in your double IPA. Though bigger than the normal IPA, doubles don’t lose much in the way of drinkability. They stay light to medium bodied; relatively drying and crisp in the finish. No matter how high you’re starting gravity you want the beer to finish in the 1.008 – 1.018 range. Click Here to Buy a Double IPA Kit Grain Bill: Start with a base of quality pale or domestic 2-row malt or if looking for something with a little more of a background signature try Maris Otter pale malt. This base will make up 85 to 90 percent of your grain bill. The best examples of Double IPA keep the specialty malts pretty lean and light. Most avoid roasted and highly kilned malts altogether. A bit of crystal malt is often used to bring hints of caramel. Use the lighter colored crystal if you’re making the more popular crisper rendition and darker colored crystal if you want to add a slightly heavier, coating mouthfeel. Keep the crystal under 10 percent. Vienna, Munich, Wheat, and acidulated malt may also have a place in small quantities. Flaked wheat is often used to help head retention. For both all-grain and extract brewers add around 10% dextrose (corn sugar) or another simple sugar. These are completely fermentable, allowing you to up the gravity and thus the alcohol while keeping it dry and lighter bodied. Extract brewers have many good quality pale malt extracts to choose from. There are also double IPA kits or you can even buy a regular IPA kit plus some extra extract and go at it that way. Mashing: To get the most fermentable wort possible you want your mash to be low and slow. At least 90 minutes, possibly 120 minutes. The temperature should be the lower end of the brewer’s window, around 148°F to 152°F, which will create more fermentables and keep the beer’s body light. Hops: Here, you go big or go home. This style’s main feature is a massive and very aggressive hop character. Think a bitterness to starting gravity ratio (IBU/OG) of over 3.0! Hop varieties for this style are pretty wide open and mixing and matching is common. There are a couple things to keep in mind. First, high alpha acid, though not the be all and end all of a qualifying hop, does hold some importance here. You want at least one or two varieties with high alpha acid so you can build high IBUs. You also want a harmonious hop profile. Not all hops play well together and it’s a good idea to stay within one or two of the main flavor categories (evergreen, citrusy, floral, herbal, spicy, grassy/earthy, fruity). The standard double IPA is often built around the evergreen and citrus attributes common to American hops. Columbus, Centennial, Chinook, Cascade, Amarillo, Simcoe, and CTZ are all good choices here. Other hops making inroads include Citra, Warrior, Mosaic, and Nelson Sauvin. As to the timing of additions and quantities the bare minimum is three (early, middle, late) with overall boil usage running between 1/2 to 1 pound of hops. Then you dry hop the beer. Whether you want to break up your hops into further additions is completely up to you. Often times the last addition (aroma) is at least as large as the first addition (bittering), if not larger. Keep in mind that the more hops you use the more vegetal matter will be in your brew pot and the smaller your final volume of beer will be. You may even want to scale your recipe up by one gallon to ensure you hit your target volume. Dry hopping can be done in multiple additions also. Actually more and more brewers seem to be favoring multiple smaller hop additions every few days over a single large addition. Yeast: The yeast you choose should be a well attenuating strain with a clean neutral character. Some good options are White Labs California Ale (WLP001) or Wyeast American Ale (1056). On the dry side, your best bet is probably Fermentis Safale US-05. If looking for slightly more body you might go with White Labs California Ale V (WLP051) or Wyeast Northwest Ale (1332). You can also use many English strains, but avoid the ones that produce a lot of esters. Your yeast is going to have a harder job to do with this beer so be sure to cast plenty of clean healthy yeast. If using liquid yeast make a larger starter than you might normally. If using dry yeast, make sure you rehydrate properly and cast at least 2 packages. If you’re a brewer that reuses yeast across batches — and I think everyone should when they can — don’t try to reuse this yeast. It’s going to be worn out and both the higher alcohol and higher hopping negatively affect yeast viability. Better to start with new yeast in this case. Fermentation: Fermentation temperature should be kept between 66° and 68°F to avoid diacetyl and other unwanted flavors prone to appearing at higher temperatures. As the fermentation slows you can ramp the temperature up slowly allowing it to finish out at 70°F. This will allow better and more complete attenuation. Of course being able to do this will depend on what sort of temperature control you have. If you don’t have precise control it is better to leave it down in the high 60s than take the chance of the temperature popping up too high. Also, I strongly suggest using a blow-off tube instead of a regular air lock. A blow-off tube is just a length of tubing. One end takes the place of the airlock while the other is submerged in some sort of sanitizer. This fermentation can go nuts especially at peak kräusen, which can plug a regular airlock. A blow-off tube gives it a wider path of escape. Another thing to consider comes after bottling or kegging. Unlike barleywine, imperial stouts, or old ales; IPAs of any sort don’t tend to get better with time. Remember hops don’t age well. They will mellow and slowly disappear over time. The massive amount of hops used makes the double IPA beer style best enjoyed within the first one or two months of brewing. At the same time the higher alcohol might need a bit of time to round its harsh edges. Try your new beer often and pinpoint that balance threshold between mellowed alcohol and hop brightness. Cheers!