Tuesday, 9 August 2011

IPA?? Not pale, not that bitter....still tasty, mind

There has been a bit of a debate about what actually constitutes an IPA. Surely, they need to be hoppy, golden, strong? Well, if there is a Dark IPA available, am I worried about this beer as being described as such.

Well, yes....kind of. Four weeks from bottling it was time to uncork this Amarillo IPA. Firstly, it looked nice an coppery, not golden. Untick. Secondly, it only came out as touch over 4.5%. Untick. And hoppy? Kind of, but not mouth puckeringly so! Untick.

So, is this really what it says on the label? Well, after a month, it has cleared quite well, without finings other than Irish Moss:

I completely buggered the priming up, and this is a bit flat, which does detract from the enjoyment of what isn't a bad beer. Yes, it is fully of punchy Amarillo hops; nose-wise and palate-wise they are there. I just expected a bit more 'Ooomph'. Maybe, getting the mash right next time up, might give me a bit more body and hop? What with that, and the lack of 'fizz', it's a bit easy to drink.

I just don't see the need for the caramber malt in this; it seems to make the beer sweeter, when actually the balance should be the other way round (IMO). On chilling, some of this sweeter malt goes, which perhaps is the way it was designed to be drunk.

It actually improves down the glass; not a 'warming' issue, almost like it starts to 'breathe' a bit. Anyway, not convincced this is an IPA...you can't just call it that if it has citrusy flavours!!

What it has made me think of is making this beer again, but with pale malt alone, and adding some nice spicy Goldings in the boil, and Amarillo post boil for that great aroma hit. Mmm, sounds good. Need also to sort out this bloody mash temperature, and think I might go for a 40/60/70 mash, or at least something more bottom end to up the strength and let the hops sing over the malt a little more.

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