Monday, January 30, 2012

What’s next, Purple IPA?

imageIndia Pale Ale (IPA), double IPA, black IPA, and now WHITE IPA.  Really, White IPA?!  We just tapped our White IPA today.  But what IS a White IPA? Well, I guess some education and description is probably called for. 

If you see the pdf I’ve created here is the IPA pie of styles that is in my head.  I added an “other” category because I’m sure somebody will tell me Rye IPA or Strawberry IPA should be on my list…  We’ve come along way from the first English IPA which is a style that relatively new in terms of beer styles. image

In the early 1800’s the beers that were being sent to English colonies that resided in India were not making it.  They had a long, rough ship trip and they didn’t taste that good after heating, cooling, and sloshing around.   So to help the beers survive the trip the brewers bumped up the alcohol and increased the hops.  This helped.  Eventually when some of the colonies or armies came back to England they demanded hoppier beers. (sound familiar?)

The style nearly died as the majority of UK beers are session beers which are lighter in body, alcohol and had to lower theimage hops to balance.  Americans picked up the slack.  We like to go extreme with most styles and such was the case for American IPA, double IPA’s and such.  You’ll also note two nearly identical “American IPA” categories on the list.  I’m trying to educate, but will most likely offend some others (the 2nd class has specifications that I made up hypothesising the perception).  There seems to be a disconnect from the BJCP styles (beer judge certification program) and IPA’s that are being produced and consumed in the US.   We’ve gradually have shifted towards bigger and hoppier and the styles haven’t kept up.  The Great American Beer Fest (GABF) uses similar but NOT the BJCP styles and therefore might explain why a 40IBU image (international bittering units) beer would likely NEVER win at the GABF.  Although the Himalayan IPA we produce is calculated to be 70IBUs, it will measure under that some but still in the upper range for a BJCP style IPA.  If a person from San Diego comes in to try it they tell me that it isn’t an IPA and is really a Pale Ale.  It’s happened several times.  San Diego has stolen the West Coast IPA title from Seattle-Portland in my opinion, I’d rather see “Classic American-style IPA” and “West-coast” and “East-coast” actually make their way into the BJCP guidelines because it is like comparing cow’s milk to goat’s milk.  Big Difference.

Which brings us back around to colored IPA’s.  Washington wants to claim the rights for inventing the Black IPA even though they found documentation that Greg Noonan from the Vermont Pub and Brewery had brewed one about 16 years ago.  Regardless, it finally has become an official style but the name still comes under Cascadian Dark Ale, Black IPA, American-Style Black Ale, etc.  Maybe we should call it a Black Noonan Ale instead?

image Somebody thought to create a hybrid inspired by a hybrid mixed with a Belgian for good measure.  A White IPA is not an official style yet.  I think homebrewers thought that if you can make a Black IPA, why not a white one?   A White Ale or Witbier is a style of beer that comes from Belgian that is a Wheat (wit) beer with spices (usually coriander and orange peel).  It was originally called “white” because it is unfiltered and the light makes it very opaque and more pale than yellow.  So a White IPA is a bigger, hoppier version of a witbier.  The only commercial style that I know is available is a collaboration between Boulevard and Deschutes Brewing.

The Yak and Yeti White IPA description from brewer Adam Draeger:

Our White IPA is 6.4% ABV and calculated 63 IBU’s.  The Czech Saaz hops are usually used for aroma so I used a lot to get the bitterness to this level, as a result, this beer is Really Saazy!  You can also taste a good amount of coriander but I think the orange peel has been hid slightly by both of these spicy characters.

Something creatively new for the new year,


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