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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > A balanced IPA
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:23 AM   #1
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Default A balanced IPA

Hey gang,

I am not a traditional hop head... learning to enjoy them however. Looking to brew an IPA that is well balanced, meaning hoppy but not bitter. A buddy of mine brewed a Pale Ale with Columbus that turned out in the 60 IBU range and quite frankly it's pretty bitter IMO.

So I guess my question is, where do I get started with a recipe. I have BeerSmith so I can adjust as necessary.

Toy4Rick

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Old 09-10-2012, 12:29 AM   #2
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An IPA by definition is not balanced. It focuses on the hop character.

May I suggest Biermuncher's Centennial Blonde, simply double the hops additions for more hop character, it still won't be an IPA, but may be exactly what you're after.

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Old 09-10-2012, 12:50 AM   #3
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I find Bell's two hearted ale to actually be a quite balanced IPA. Eshat'z recipe is amazing, and truly a near perfect copy.

A balanced IPA is one where the underlying base beer is not lost or drowned out by the hops. There's a lot of crappy IPAs out there, and they're crappy because there's only a single note in it, just the hops. But in a truly balanced IPA like Bell's, there's still a strong malt character, but being done so in a way not to make a heavy beer. Still very quaffable.

That's a problem I've found with a lot of folks, they think you can take any base beer and just dump a bunch of hops in it, and call it an IPA. That's why there's a lot of thin and waterry, yet in your face hop bombs out there.

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Old 09-10-2012, 12:59 AM   #4
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I second the Bells 2 Hearted notion. I also love hop flavor/aroma, but I don't like crazy bitter beers. I have brewed Northern Brewer's "Dead Ringer" (a Bells clone) all grain kit before and it is fantastic! I actually just ordered another kit today.

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Old 09-10-2012, 01:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhoyda View Post
An IPA by definition is not balanced. It focuses on the hop character.
While many of the modern American versions of IPA have morphed into hop delivery systems if you look to historical IPA styles made with richly flavored malt and low-alpha hops it doesn't have to be that way. An IPA can be both very bitter and hoppy but still balanced it just depends on what you want to do.
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Old 09-10-2012, 02:53 AM   #6
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I'd make it about 6.5-7% ABV to give it a strong malt backbone. Bitter it to 55-60 IBUs and only get 20 of those from the 60 minute addition. Hop-burst for the other 35-40 IBUs with 20 minute and under additions. Or...just hop-burst for all the IBUs.

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Old 09-10-2012, 03:10 AM   #7
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IPAs are my favorite style, but I'm not into heavily "bitter" either. I like hops aroma and flavor and a strong malt backbone but still a beer that finishes crisp and dry.

Do you have any commercial IPAs that you like, so we can give you recipe suggestions?

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Old 09-10-2012, 03:23 AM   #8
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Glad I found this thread - not trying to hijack , but this goes along with exactly what I was about to post about. I too am still working into the higher IBU beers. Recently I sampled a buddy's IPA that was delicious. It had a very wort-like sweetness to it that finished with the hops wonderfully. Crawling the forums, it appears this is because the IPA was still "young", and hadn't fully matured in its flavor yet. I have tried it twice more (many weeks apart) and the taste has indeed evolved to a truer IPA taste. I would like to try to do a recipe that could maintain this sort of sweetness throughout. So it appears from previous advise that an IPA recipe is not the way to go, but rather a different type of recipe with additional hops?

On a another note, I recently tried some deschute's Chainbreaker IPA. Anyone have some similar recipes for this?

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Old 09-10-2012, 01:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jscottAT4 View Post
Glad I found this thread - not trying to hijack , but this goes along with exactly what I was about to post about. I too am still working into the higher IBU beers. Recently I sampled a buddy's IPA that was delicious. It had a very wort-like sweetness to it that finished with the hops wonderfully. Crawling the forums, it appears this is because the IPA was still "young", and hadn't fully matured in its flavor yet. I have tried it twice more (many weeks apart) and the taste has indeed evolved to a truer IPA taste. I would like to try to do a recipe that could maintain this sort of sweetness throughout. So it appears from previous advise that an IPA recipe is not the way to go, but rather a different type of recipe with additional hops?

On a another note, I recently tried some deschute's Chainbreaker IPA. Anyone have some similar recipes for this?
We don't have Deshute's beer around here, so I have never had it.

I drink almost all of my IPAs really young, although they aren't bad later. The hops aroma and flavor fades fast, so a young IPA is the best IPA.
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Old 09-10-2012, 02:29 PM   #10
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A balanced IPA = An oxymoron

The problem is the recipe as a whole does not work; it's not about "balance" of flavor for this style. It's about the beauty of unbalance. Unfortunately, many homebrewers fail at perfecting unbalance. You can't brew an excellent 1.052 OG IPA with 15% crystal and 60 IBUs, 45 of which were attained at the boil start. I suggest shifting 90% the hop focus to later in the boil and the dryhop. And know your hops! Columbus can be quite abrasive for a single hop IPA. Something like Amarillo or Cascade are more pleasant. I like some abrasiveness sometimes though, which is why blending many of these American Pacific Northwest hop varieties can usually produce something great.

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