Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black Friday Black IPA

I built this recipe last Black Friday and I told myself that I would brew it this year. I had some other beers lined up but I stuck to my plan and brewed this beer yesterday morning. I would so much rather wake up early and brew a beer than fight with others for "deals". I guess I have different priorities.

I first tried a black IPA about 4-5 years ago when Pizza Port brewed one for the now closed Liar's Club anniversary. The beer was called Black Lie and if you close dyour eyes when you took a sip you probably thought your where drinking a standard IPA with a faint roast. I really enjoyed that beer and have always said if I was to brew an Black/Cascadian IPA this is what I would model it after.

I built the recipe much like a traditional IPA, then I added carafa II to give a faint but noticeable roast but not a roastiness that would overpower the hops. I originally wanted to use Warrior hops as bittering, and a combo of Cascade and Centennial for the flavor and aroma additions. Well I didn't plan very well and all the good flavor and aroma hops are becoming very hard to track down at any of the LHBS here in San Diego, even online suppliers are out of many of the best aroma flavor varietals. I had to make some modifications base don what was available and what I had on hand. I went with Warrior as the bittering charge, and blends of Cascade and Nelson for flavor and aroma. When I was running the beer off it has this awesome cinnamon aroma, not sure why but it was really nice.

I also learned a valuable lesson about measuring grain. My buddy was able to get a 50lb. sack of milled 2-row. I used it for the first time on this recipe. I measured out the 10 lbs. I needed and proceeded as usual. When I took my hydrometer reading my OG was way high and I couldn't figure out where I went wrong. As the boil went on I realized that I was weighing milled malt and not unmilled malt as usual, so I was getting a bunch more grain (sugars) with each pound. My beer was supposed to come in around 6.5% and I will now get something closer to 8.5-9%. So I guess it is more of a Double Black IPA. Now I know for future batches using the rest of the milled 2-row.

Ingredients: 2-Row, Honey Malt, Carafa II, Crystal 40, Warrior @ 60, Cascade & Nelson @ 30, Nelson @ 20, Nelson @5, Cascade at 0, US-05.


  1. Mass is mass, and ten pounds of grain is always ten pounds of grain. Now, if you were measuring by volume, then you'd expect to get more grain per unit volume (1 quart of milled grains has more mass than 1 quart of unmilled grain). Was the grain stratified into a layer of husks and a layer of sugars? It's possible you measured out from the "better" half.

  2. I was also trying to think of how the weight could be off. The only thing I could think of was that the milled grain absorbs more water from the air than un-milled grain.

    Or you did get more of the starchy insides than husks.

    Or could the different milling change your efficiency that much.

  3. I did a similar Black IPA about a year ago except I used Midnight Wheat. It was great; hope yours turns out well. Nice blog.

  4. Pester, I agree that mass is mass, but I did measure by volume, but I did 4 spot checks weighing out the grain.

    Jeffrey- I think it may have to do with the fact that it was milled at a commercial brewery and not a homebrew store. Although the mill at the homebrew store was what Ballast Point used to use.

    Kyle- What is midnight wheat? A dark wheat malt? I haven't yet made the jump to milling myself, so my grain choice is dependent on what they have at my LHBS. Glad you like the blog