Doctor Duvel

I'm like a sommelier, but for beer.

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Location: Upstate New York, United States

Favorite Beers: Orval, Samuel Smith, Duvel, Hennepin, Oude Gueze, Chimay, Dogfish Head, Anchor Steam, and anything made by Trappist monks.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Another IPA

I guess I'm obsessed with IPA. Once I figured out a few things early on, it has come to seem difficult to make a bad one. They mature quickly; they keg well; a lot of people seem to like 'em; some of my favorite visitors always clamor for them. What's to stop you from making tons, eh?

My latest is an all-Columbus IPA, part of the afore-mentioned Varietal Hop Project, named "Rest-in-Peace First Hydrometer I.P.A." For the Columbus version, I bottled instead of kegging, and I let the IBU's go up a tiny bit, swinging the malt composition just a bit darker. I normally favor a really bright-tasting, straw-colored IPA (think Smuttynose), but for this one (thinking loosely of Anderson Valley's Hop Ottin') I let things swing a touch darker, upping the carastan and Munich a little bit. When working with Cascade or Centennial, I stuck more to the brighter, lighter incranation. The result, in this case, was about 74 IBU; OG 1065; FG 1011. The FG surprised me a bit. Most of my other IPA's have finished around 1014-16. I had intended to stay in that area, but the U.S. 56 must've gotten excited for some reason. Well, the yeast makes the beer, so I had best not complain.

The color is a coppery gold. Head is pretty solid. Nose is emphatically citrusy, with vivid pine-resiny tones just underneath. The body is bone dry with a sharp, palate-clinging hoppiness. As it warms up the nose gets really gorgeous and highly complex. Seeing as how it sat on 1.5 oz of whole-flower Columbus for 19-20 days, it damn well oughta be. In addition to the dry hop, I hit it with 2.5 oz at shut-off, operating on my theory that sizable late additions provide a deeper, earthier base for the more perfumey, floral qualities that dry-hopping produces. This is a pretty damned good beer. Tomorrow, I'll dry hop the all-Chinook IPA (built on a very similar base); soon, I must order some more hops to continue the project. Simcoe and Amarillo are the next order of busines, I think.


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