India Pale Ale or IPA is a style of beer within the broader category of pale ale. It was first brewed in England in the 19th century. The first known use of the expression “India pale ale” comes from an advertisement in the Liverpool Mercury newspaper published January 30, 1835. Before January 1835, and for some time after this date, this style of beer was referred to as “pale ale as prepared for India”, “India Ale”, “pale India ale” or “pale export India ale”.
Demand for the export style of pale ale, which had become known as “India Pale Ale,” developed in England around 1840 and India Pale Ale became a popular product in England. Some brewers dropped the term “India” in the late 19th century, but records indicated that these “pale ales” retained the features of earlier IPA. American, Australian, and Canadian brewers manufactured beer with the label IPA before 1900, and records suggest that these beers were similar to English IPA of the era.
The rumor I had heard growing up was that IPAs were so fortified with extra malt and hops as to prevent spoiliage on the long voyage from England to British India (as both alcohol and hops inhibit bacteria and fungus), but this claim is not substantiated by Wikipedia. From the Wikipedia bibliography:
No, Hodgson didn’t “invent” India Pale Ale, and 18th century brewers before Hodgson were making beers that could survive a journey to India, and further.
Regardless, I still prefer to introduce new IPA drinkers to the more interesting myth.
My trip to the LHBS was impulsive and un-planned, and I hadn’t devoted any consideration to my recipe before showing up to buy everything. (I was actually living a couple hundred miles away from this particular homebrew supplies shop at the time.) Fortunately, Red Salamander keeps a mini-library in-house, and I found a suitable IPA recipe in their copy of Brewing Classic Styles.
Page 186 describes a recipe for Hoppiness Is An IPA, an American IPA. I took photos on my phone of the recipe, pasted together at right, and sought out the ingredients in the store. However, not all was in stock – so Mitch at Red Salamander improvised some substitutes for me to purchase. (I also had to adjust portions later to accommodate a 5-gallon batch versus the original 6-gallon recipe.)
The improvised recipe is as follows:
- 6 lbs. Pale LME (Liquid Malt Extract)
- 1 lbs. Pale DME (Dried Malt Extract)
- 1.00 lbs. Crystal-20
- 0.25 lbs. Crystal-40
- 0.50 lbs. Munich
- 1 oz. German Magnum @ 60 minutes (~13 AA)
- 1 oz. Centennial @ 10 minutes (~9 AA)
- 1 oz. Simcoe @ 5 minutes (~12 AA)
- 1 oz. Amarillo @ knock-out (~9 AA)
- Safale US-05 Dry Ale Yeast
Brewing the wort (Evening of January 28, 2012)
Below, you can see some photos of the wort. This IPA was a partial-grain, which means a portion of the sugar was steeped from grain. The rest of the sugar is from liquid and dried malt extract, which means some industrial operation already steeped the malted barley for me. (Using malt extract is basically a labor-saving choice.) Other recipes call for all grain, and are aptly classified as all-grain recipes.
Primary & secondary fermentation (Three Weeks)
The one mishap from brew night was that I did not sufficiently cool the wort before pitching the yeast and beginning fermentation.
Apparently, the range of temperatures between cooking the wort (a ~220°F boil) and ideal fermentation (~70°F) invite all manner of contaminants that can affect the taste of the resultant beer. These could be undesirable chemical compounds that only form at the warmer temperatures and/or bacteria that likewise thrive in warmer solutions. While I did dutifully set my wort in a snow-bank to chill it off, I completely forgot to take any temperature reading before pitching the yeast… and inadvertently pitched my yeast into a hot wort. (I suppose that the brew pot quickly melted the adjacent snow and then had a ring of air to insulate it; in the future I’ll keep compressing the snow onto the edges of the pot.)
It was a half-hour after pitching the yeast that I remembered to take a temperature reading, and the wort was yet 95°F. This made me very concerned at the time, but now I know everything turned out amazingly well, and so I won’t dwell on it… RDWHAHB.
I kept the carboy covered in a blanket for most of the fermentation period to prevent UV radiation from skunking the beer.
Bottling night (February 17)
Bottling occurred without a hitch. The yield was 47 12-oz bottles and another ~24 ounces of flat beer that I drank through-out the night.
And by my own judgment, I have a very tasty homebrew. One friend complimented my IPA for being truer to the style and not overly hoppy as many homebrews are apt to be.
Next time I am up north, I’ll take a good photo of the finished product to share here. I have so far had the (good) problem of drinking my beer in lieu of being thoughtful and taking pictures of it.
My journal notes from the batch are provided below. The first few pages are a step-by-step description of the recipe and brewing process, where I figured out everything for the first time before even beginning the cook. Instructions, basically.
Given the change-up in ingredients, and also given my alterations (read: mishaps) in the brewing, I’ve taken to calling this particular homebrew Hopportunity IPA.