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Old 05-23-2011, 05:55 AM   #1
bjl110
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Default Hoppy dark beer?

I'm a noob to brewing, but not to drinkin . However, I have found maybe only a handful of IPA style hoppy (or maybe a little less hoppy) darker beers (save CDAs). Similarly I don't see many recipes for them here. Is there a particular reason for this? Is it hard to make the heavier malts and hops blend well or something?

If I were to try to make a hoppy dark beer is it as easy as dry hoping a good recipe? Could I still use hops with high AAUs?

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BTW: This site rocks! You all have been invaluable to me. I'm sure that I'll further annoy you with many questions.



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Old 05-23-2011, 06:14 AM   #2
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Some Russian Imperial Stouts approach 100 IBUs, but the lack of flavor or aroma hops in those recipes is pretty universal. I made an oatmeal stout once that had a lot of Cascade hop character in the flavor and aroma, and it was quite pleasant, but unfortunately that was all but gone by the time the beer itself fuly matured.
Also, the characteristic sweet nuttiness of many darker grains does not generally lend itself to certain flavor and aroma hops (most of the time resinous, citrusy, or piney hops are to be avoided). There is also a pre-existing bitterness from many darker roasted grains that fulfills some of the job taken by hops in other styles.
Dark beers with a strong hop presence are certainly possible, but not easy, in part due to the slightly longer ageing times and the nature of many darker malts and grains IMO.



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Old 05-23-2011, 01:03 PM   #3
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There are commercial examples.. Sweetwater Happy Ending is basically an imperial stout that is dry hopped.

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Old 05-23-2011, 01:06 PM   #4
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Good answer!

Primarily, it's to do with complexity. It's pretty easy to brew a hoppy IPA: Mash some pale malt, add hops to taste, ferment. It's simple.

When you start adding more ingredients, the complexity rises, and the more complex a thing/process is, the greater the possibility it's going to go wrong. There's a reason why K.I.S.S. is an axiom.

One of the complexities which make hoppy dark beers difficult is flavor and perceived bitterness. The darker roasted grains have a bitterness all their own, and a very pronounced flavor. It takes a lot of tweaking to emerge with a recipe that's worthwhile.

Complex flavor is a difficult target to hit. The more flavor constituents present in the food being tasted, the greater the chance it'll all go wrong.

What sort of analogy can I make here? Hmmm...

It's like paint. If you take two or three colors, carefully choose the amounts to blend, you get another color. It's pretty easy to get purple from a bit of blue and a bit of red.

What do you get when you mix seven or eight colors? A sort of icky greyish brown. No matter how carefully you choose the starting colors or the amounts thereof, you get icky greyish brown.

Taste works the same way - if too many flavors collide, it's just "meh" at best and "yuk!" at worst. That's why beers like Imperial Stout tend to avoid flavor hops - added to obviously perceptible levels - and instead rely on the roasted malts for flavor. Hell, it's hard enough getting the roasted malts figured out! Adding [i]another]/i] flavor, and suddenly you're spinning too many plates.

That's why many CDA recipes use a debittered black malt like Carafa for color: There's no flavor contribution, it's just color.

You could just take a strong Porter recipe (OG ~1.065) and dry-hop the bejeebers out of it. But that's risky; you don't want much more than a hint of roast-malt flavor in CDA, and you don't want Crystal-malt characteristics at all. Plus it needs to finish dry. I'd rather brew a grist consisting of pale malt and add some Carafa II or III (or probably Sinamar). In fact, I'd brew my standard 19th-century IPA recipe (all pale malt), add enough Sinamar to make it black, and use Cascades instead of Goldings. That's it.

Check out the BYO article on the style.

One of the reasons why you're not seeing many recipes is that it's a relatively new style. Give it time.

Cheers!

Bob

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Old 05-23-2011, 01:42 PM   #5
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http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f66/hoppy-american-amber-malty-american-pale-ale-145402/

This is a very nice, very hoppy amber ale. I am about to bottle some time this week. I did sneak a small amount to take a gravity reading and it's good.
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Old 05-23-2011, 01:51 PM   #6
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Here is one of my favorite recipes. I was sad when the last one was gone. I will be brewing this again toward the end of the summer.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f69/heavenly-scourge-black-iipa-141308/

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Old 05-23-2011, 02:04 PM   #7
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Bob said it really well. Darker beers are driven strongly by the malt profile, as opposed to an IPA that is driven by hops, or a Belgian that is driven by yeast (IMHO).

You would want to go with debittered or lightly roasted grains to get that dark tone, while keeping the body flavor itself not too heavy/harsh, else the hops will get lost or just blend it poorly. As Bob said, your flavor with just turn into a Grey.

Why don't you see many recipes? Even though we are a creative bunch, the "Dark Ale with strong hops notes" doesn't really fall into a real BJCP category, or at least not any that I am familiar with, though I am far from an expert. Thus we tend to not run into beers like this, and therefore don't have a source of reference, able to taste a brew and go "Oooooh, I see what they did there, now I am going to try it!"

If/When you brew up this concept, post the recipe if you have made it up yourself, or just let us know in general how it turns out! Could inspire others to pursue this blend of styles.

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Old 05-23-2011, 03:14 PM   #8
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Do a search for India Black Ale or American Black Ale.....these are considered "emerging" styles that basically have IPA/Pale Ale hop bitterness and aroma, but dehusked black malts, so it gets a black COLOR without all of the smoked flavor that would mask the hop taste and smell in a Porter/Stout. Stone’s Sublimely Self Righteous Ale is a commercial example if you want to track one down.

Here's a sample recipie:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f69/india-black-ale-152611/

If you can lager, you can do the same thing (dehusked black malt) to make black lagers, like Sam Adams Black Lager or Shiner's Black Lager. The Shiner's is very tasty, if you want to check that one out as well.

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Old 05-23-2011, 03:17 PM   #9
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Thank you all for your advice/recipes. I knew there had to be a reason that I didn't see many, I just wasn't sure what it was. This line of thinking was indeed inspired by Yooper's Malty Pale/Hoppy Amber recipe. When I get comfortable enough with the process I think this is the first experiment that I will probably start. Right now I'm leaning towards using a brown ale since they don't seem to be as roasty (in general...I know many are). I'm going to start looking for a lighter roast dry brown recipe and mod it from there. Maybe try for an I"B"A?



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