The goal of this beer was to go back to when I started brewing by using malt extract. In the recipe post I gave some advice on using extract to avoid the all too common “extract or homebrew twang” that can plague many new brewers. Also, time is critically important for me and wanted to explore brewing a beer in under two hours to meet the demands of my hectic schedule. Lastly, I had a glut of hops in the freezer that were getting old and a hop-bursted IPA appeared to be the most efficient method of cleaning out my freezer (the beer has almost a pound of hops).
Appearance: Pours an orange hue with minimal head and lacing. Honestly, I was expecting more and I’m disappointed with the lack of foam on this beer. Interestingly, I forgot to add any kettle finings, but that did not impact the clarity of the beer after lagering for a month. The beer is slightly hazy due to polyphenols extracted from the hops.
Smell: Further disappointment with a muted hop aroma. With 14 ounces of hops (leaf and pellets) added after 15 minutes, I was expecting more. There is some weak citrus and pine from the simcoe. Malt aroma peaks through followed by a minty herbal aroma.
Taste: Smooth bitterness and subdued hop character. Malt extract comes through nicely as a biscuit and dough-like flavor. No extract twang here. Extremely clean yeast profile from WLP 090 (San Diego Super Yeast) with minimal esters and no diacetyl. Unfortunately, the hop character lacks depth. Typical american type flavors of citrus, passionfruit, and mango, but a woodsy, vegetal, and earth-like flavor dominates. Mouthfeel and carbonation is average.
Overall: Not a bad beer, but misses my goal as an hop-forward IPA. More of a pale ale. I would have to blame the age of my hops and the exposure to oxygen. They were just too old and the hop oils and alpha acids were no doubt reduced or oxidized during aging. However, my dry hopping charges were freshly bought leaf hops. This was my first time throwing whole cones into my primary and 2 ounces barely fit into my 6.5 gallon better bottle. Some of the hop cones never even touched the wort and did not have an impact on te beer. Next time, I will dry hop with leaf hops in a weighed down hopsack in the keg. The malt character was the best part of the brew, however. Clean and mellow pale malt character that was just as good as an all grain batch. As for the yeast, WLP 090 is now my goto yeast rather than Chico ale strain. The yeast has good attenuation (1.064 – 1.012, 80% apparent attenuation) and flocculates better than Chico.