IPA: Checking the Doubles--Planning Simcoe/Santiam
Excellent heads on both. Pliny the Room-Mate is very pale; Star Chamber is a deep, glowing orange. The nose on the Pliny is screamingly loud, with a vivid Columbusiness that drifts in two directions--an almost strawberry-like fruitiness and a very intense pine character. Despite its greater age (10 months?) the Chamber still has a relatively declamatory nose; it's not as bright but it is more complex, with much more resin than fruit--and much more spice as well.
I can't help comparing faux Pliny to real Pliny (I had one a week ago). Mine compares very favorably in hop character and aromatics; its weak spot is a slight hole in the palate. Pliny has this weird viscosity that's kind of awesome. If I were to brew a beer similar to this recipe again, I would mash it 4 degrees higher and try to get a little more meat on its bones. U.S. 56 is an awfully attenuative yeast, especially when re-pitching.
The Chamber, on the other hand, has a stunning depth of malt. It is the more perfect beer of the two. In this, its twilight, the palate is beginning to develop a barley-wine-esque fatness. I think it peaked at about 6 months of age. You can certainly age DIPA's but I really think they are best when they still have a cleaner, drier feeling, younger malt character. I'll brew this again without alteration when I get around to it, and will feel freer to drink them young.
On a totally unrelated note, the varietal hop project has come to at least a brief halt. I've no more hops that I think are appropriate. I could do an all-Newport or all-Santiam IPA, but I seriously doubt either hop has the requisite back-bone. Instead, I'm going to give Simcoe/Santiam a try. Amarillo/Crystal with Chinook bittering is another concept I had, but I'll let that one wait. I don't have a ton of Simcoe--just enough to do most of the bittering, with an ounce left for dry-hopping. In between, it'll be all Santiam. Just punched it up in ProMash. Oughta be good.
Batch 100, baby.