Attempting a Traditional IPA

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Well-Known Member
Feb 8, 2010
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Gainesville, Fl
I am attempting to convert a recipe from a late 1800s book that details the brewing of an India Ale/India Pale Ale and am having some trouble with finishing it. This is a long read so if you want, skip down to the part in bold for the part I need help with.

First, there is no volume given but the author gives various gravities through the text, stating that the average gravity is "68 for export and 62 for home trade." He also states that only "the finest pale malt" is used. It should not be crushed too fine.

So to start, for 5 gallons assuming 75% efficiency:

11.5lbs Marris Otter

For hops he mentions two sets of numbers, brewers from Burton tend to use 20-22lbs per quarter while most others use 16-18lbs per quarter. He specifically mentions that all the brewers prefer the hops from East Kent, by this I am assuming he means EKG.

One quarter is 256 lbs and usually refers solely to grain and not to the wait of the wort. We are using 4.5% perfect of a quarter for this recipe which gives us anywhere from 11.5oz of hops total to 16 ounces of hops total.

On to the mashing. The text states that your run off wort after the mash should be between 145-150 degrees. The mash itself should take place 100 to 120 minutes.

Sparge at 180-190 degrees.

Run half the volume off in to the boil kettle and close the valves. (The author notes to make sure the grain is still covered with liquor.)

Assuming we are going all out and shooting for the 22lbs/quarter for this beer the hop additions are as follows.

The first boil is 70 minutes in length.

First addition: 6lbs/quarter or 4.38oz @ 70 minutes
Second addition: 8lbs/quarter or 5.81oz @ 50 minutes

This is drained in to a hop back to allow wort to drain from the hops while the second boil is going.

The second boil is 120 minutes with the remaining 8lbs/quarter (5.81oz) for the entire 2 hours of the boil.

After the second boil is done, pour it over the spent hops from the first boil. The hops from the second boil can then be pressed and drained in to the wort of have wort continuously run over them to extract the flavors.

Fermentation should take place at about 70 degrees and attenuated down to about 20 to 24. This particular recipe should hopefully end around 17.

------------------------- Ideas needed here down ------------------------

At this point is where it gets a bit tricky to REALLY convert to modern day brewing. After about 24 hours in the fermenter, before fermentation is complete, the beer was racked in to a cask. Once it has reached terminal gravity more wort was added in to this to start a second fermentation, likely to carbonate as the author says it will complete in 14-20 days. After this period the beer is racked in to a hogshead with a pound of hops added to it. The author notes that the hops can be re-hydrated by "mashing" them at 100 for about 20 minutes and adding the liquid and hops to the wort.

At this point the hogsheads would be loaded on to a ship and sent to India.

Now, wanting to keep this as authentic as possible how should I go about doing this part. I'm thinking I should just keep it in one fermenter until it reaches terminal gravity and then bottle it with a bit of unfermented wort. This would add allow it to condition in the bottles and add some hop flavor but would be difficult to measure accurately.

Any other ideas?


Well-Known Member
Sep 26, 2007
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A suggestion, lower the amount of hops. Remember back then their hops weren't vaccum packed and stored in a freezer, so the alpha acids were likely much lower than they are today. How much? I'm not sure, but that sounds like an awful lot of hops (especially if you aren't planning to age the beer on a warm ship for a couple months before drinking).

I would also raise the mash temp a bit, malt back then wasn't as well modified, a long low mash will give you a much drier beer than 1.017. A lower attenuating yeast like London ESB will also help to retain some sweetness.

Good luck, sounds like an interesting project to me.

For the carbonation look into "krausening" which is still the standard way that German beers are carbonated. You can either freeze a measured amount of wort to add back, or just do the lazy way and make some wort with malt extract for priming.