|I may not have used all these hops if I tried to come up with my own IPA recipe.|
Kits are a good way for a brewer to try new ingredients and to step out of his/her comfort zone. Last winter I brewed Northern Brewer's Kiwi Express as a way to learn about New Zealand hops. This summer I brewed Speckled Heifer to supplement the Spotted Cow we brought back from Wisconsin. In my latest order I bought the Australian Sparkling Ale kit to brew with Pride of Ringwood hops for the first time. In the future I want to brew one of Beer & Wine Hobby's Mystic Brewing kits.
When working on The Substance Ale clone I mentioned how I was equal parts intimidated and uninterested in brewing IPAs. A couple weeks before I had the idea to clone it, I took advantage of Northern Brewer's 20% off sale to purchase the Plinian Legacy kit along with my grain mill and wort chiller. At that time I had just brewed a Red IPA that was OK, but was missing something. I knew I had a lot more to learn about brewing a great IPA.
I am too lazy to to troll Beer Advocate to find somebody to trade #beermail with, so I haven't had a chance to try Pliny the Elder. Brewing a clone of one of the best IPAs in the world seemed like a good way to learn more about brewing IPAs. In the process I'll have five gallons of a close approximation of a world-class beer. Most of my recent brews have been either session or regular strength in terms of alcohol level; it will be nice to have a big beers in the house. Sometimes at the end of the night it's nice to kick back with a big IPA or imperial stout as a way to cap off a drinking session.
|This was my first time using a hop shot. Instead of actual hops, the shot contains hop extract.|
I waited to brew this for similar reasons I waited to brew The Substance. I used the WLP001 cultured from the original yeast starter. I actual pitched some extra yeast from the original starter into a new starter so I had enough healthy cells for this, the Pumpkin Wheat, and the Ballantine IPA clone. I then saved yeast from that second starter I can save and pitch in a third starter when I need to use the yeast again in the future. From reading the comments in Brulosopher's post, I can keep the yeast in the fridge for several months.
I brewed this at the same time as the Essex Pale Ale. When I added the late extract I put the lid back on the kettle to bring the wort back to a boil. While I transferred the pale ale wort to the fermenter, I had a boil over on the stove. As I cleaned up I forgot the hop addition at flameout. I noticed while the wort was cooling, and threw the hops in as soon as I noticed. I didn't strain out the hops when pouring the wort into the fermenter to try and compensate. If that helps extract any additional hop aroma it is a win, even if I lose a little bitterness by not adding the hops when the wort was still at a near boiling temperature.
I plan to do more research and experimentation with different hop varieties before attempting my own IPA recipe again. What I have learned from this and The Substance is the importance of blending different hops to come up with a truly unique and complex flavor. That involves using new hops I haven't used before, lots of test batches, and basically trial and error.