I’ll tip my hand right away: this is the beer that convinced us to be more aggressive when treating our brewing water.
The goal was to brew a brassy, tropical double IPA that was pale straw in color and jammed with fruit-forward hops---the kind of beer that basically screams summer. We got a good bit of the way there but fell clearly short aromatically. The recipe was appropriate, as were the brewing techniques, so we were left to wonder if something as simple and vital as water chemistry was holding us back.
Our standard brewing water is split evenly between the house’s bicarbonate-heavy well water and reverse-osmosis water that we buy at the store, and our water adjustments skew conservative. For some styles, this works perfectly well, but our hoppy beers have missed the mark the last few times, so clearly it’s time for a change.
Pale straw with some hop haze. A white, two-finger head that lingers in large part because of the wheat in the grain bill.
Pleasing notes of Simcoe and Citra with that fruity, grassy, rounded Mosaic character in the background. It’s the right aroma, but there’s not nearly enough of it for a double IPA. The aroma is muted, as it’s been in some of the straight-ahead IPAs we’ve brewed this year. This is the sort of beer you should be able to smell across a room. Clearly our hops aren’t bursting, even after double dry hopping, so work is needed.
And yet the flavor’s there. It’s a juicy fruit bomb full of pineapple, mango, and grapefruit with a pleasing but not overwhelming bitterness. No notable flaws aside from a possible chlorinic hint deep in there. Adding a proper aroma to this will enhance the flavor even more.
Rounded and fleshed out by wheat, and yet still dry. Carbonation is about right.
A tasty beer for sure, but I can’t help but be disappointed because of the flaccid aromatics. We’re absolutely using appropriate hop quantities, so it’s likely a matter of water chemistry holding us back. For future hop-forward beers, we’re going to more aggressively treat our water with gypsum, CaCl, and salt to see if they give the hops the extra snap they’re missing. Once we dial in the water additions, we’ll give this beer another shot.