This is one of those beers you can smell across the room.
If you remember our brew day report, you’ll recall we swung way low of our temperature marks during the mash thanks in large part to a schizophrenic probe thermometer. What was supposed to be a 153°F mash ended up a 127°F protein rest followed by a clumsy but mostly effective step mash to get us back into the 150s and ultimately into the 160s for sparging.
Given that, we expected a dry beer, and we got it. The goal was to create an amber ale with a fairly substantial malt backbone (vienna studded with pale chocolate and crystal 120°L) to stand up against a whole hell of a lot of hops. The exceptional dryness really puts the malt in the back seat, although the complexity’s lurking in there. Let’s see how we did.
Vibrant copper. It’s cleared up nicely in the keg these past couple of weeks.
It’s all Chinook and Columbus. Galaxy doesn’t stand much chance of pushing past these two hops, so you get earthy pepper, deep resin, and a touch of grapefruit. Those who aren’t big fans of Chinook might say this beer smells like onions and garlic (as one did the other day), but it really works for me. I’d like to build a bit more of a floral base on this, something deep and pungent (Simcoe?), but i’m happy with the result.
Again, Chinook and Columbus. Galaxy provides a slightly sweet tropical note deep in the resin and grapefruit, but it’s minor. Vienna makes for a nice base malt in a beer like this, and it does provide a generous base from which these hops can leap, but I don’t really get much sense of the pale chocolate or crystal 120°L malts. Again, it’s probably due to the odd mash. I’d like a more complex malt profile, but then i’d probably end up wanting a more strident hop bill on top of that. Oh, perfectionism...
We said it up front. This is a dry, dry beer. The final gravity was roughly 1.004, so the beer goes down fast and crisp. It’s all about the hops, which linger without much body to push them off your tongue. Granted, this is an IPA, so that’s not at all out of character.
Overall i’m pleased with this one. I think a normal mash schedule would provide the missing body this beer needs, and i’d also be interested in swapping out Galaxy hops for a pile of whole-leaf Simcoe. The three hops we used did play well together, although Galaxy mostly stayed in the background. We'll brew this one again.