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Old 12-09-2009, 04:47 AM   #1
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Default Hoppy beer, india pale..etc...bottle conditioning time?

I have been closely monitoring the progress of a cascade, columbus, northern brewer hopped india pale that I spiked with 2# of unpastuerized honey from a farm in MN. OG was 1.065, FG was 1.011. 7%+ ABV, simple grain bill 9 pounds two row, 8 oz caramel 60. columbus for bittering at 60 and 45, and cascade at 30 and 10 with an ounce of northern brewer for dry hop. I added the honey at flameout.

After 3 weeks in the bottle this beer was basically just bitter, with a slight hop aroma and a fiery alcohol note. After 2 months in the bottle this beer has blossomed into one of my favorite IPA's. I get a pronounced citrus and foloral honey flavor with this amazing floral aroma from the honey and NB dry hop. THe alcohol is now only evident at the very end of the swallow. It also seems like over time the carbonation has gotten to be more silky or smaller bubbles if that makes sense.

It seems like every week it gets better. My question is, what have you all noticed as far as the life cycle of your IPA's in the bottle? I was under the impression that the hop aroma/flavor was especially volotile and diminished over a period of time. I am finding that this IPA, my first....just keeps getting better. Make me wonder if I should wait a month or two before tasting my others?


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Old 12-09-2009, 02:11 PM   #2
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I certainly haven't been as lucky with my first IPA. Mine seems to be getting worse and worse. I'm going to open another around Christmas to see if anything has changed, but even after over a month and a half bottled, it still sucks. I'm leaning toward some sort of infection due to some other unusual characteristics (my first if so).


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Old 12-09-2009, 03:00 PM   #3
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That honey addition at flameout really does some crazy stuff to the taste, doesn't it? I brewed an extract honey amber in June using about the same amount of honey at flameout. (not an IPA) Just tried it the other day. It was ok for sipping; but when I took a gulp, I got an alcohol kind of taste to it too. I think it's just the honey. But it's good!
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Old 12-09-2009, 05:50 PM   #4
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For me its always depended on the IPA. Smaller ones seem better fresh, the bigger ones I actually think usually benefit from a couple months in the bottle. 7+ abv is pretty big.

Personally I'm eager to play with some late hop additions to see if maybe I'm just over bittering that the age is helping with or if just more booze means it needs a little more time to be less green.
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:50 PM   #5
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I have a really big, really complex IPA in secondary right now, and even though it is on the dry hop, I am considering leaving in secondary, with the dry hop for a month. To let things mellow and smooth. Maybe this is also more important for bigger beers.

The honey at flameout can sure give you a nice kick, but it's the aroma of the honey and hops together that I am really enjoying. I am considering another IPA with orange blossom honey at flameout, and then simcoe, summit, amarillo and cascade hops.......accentuate the citrus.


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