Proposed Style Guidelines. Cascadian Dark Ale

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david_42

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This just in, via the Oregon Brew Crew Feb. '10 newsletter.

Aroma: prominent NW hop aromas: citrus, pine, resinous, sweet malt, hints of roast, toast, chocolate malt, and/or Carafa back-up the hops. Dry hopped character is often present. No diacetyl, esters generally range from low to none.

Appearance: Deep brown to black with ruby highlights. Head varies from white to tan/khaki

Flavor: A balance between piney, citrus-like and spicy NW hop flavor, bitterness, caramel malt, and roast, chocolate, or Carafa-type malts. Roast character ranges from subtle to medium. Black malt is acceptable at low levels, but should not be astringent. Intense ashy, burnt character is not appropriate. Caramel malt as a secondary flavor is acceptable but the finish should be dry. Diacetyl should not be present. Emphasis should be on hop flavor.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium, hop bitterness and tannins from roast malts combine to create a dry mouthfeel. Resinous character from high levels of dry hopping may create a tongue coating sensation.

Overall Impression: A highly-hopped, medium-bodied dark ale, similar in many ways to a strong version of American IPA, except that it incorporates dark malts and signature NW hop varieties, often in conjunction with fruity esters. Bitterness and body is much closer to an IPA balance than a strong ale or American stout. Finish is a nuanced interplay of hop and roast bitterness to create a dry quenching impression.

History: A style that came to prominence on the Northwest Coast of North America in the early
21st Century. Northwest hops play key flavor roles, balanced with malt, roast malts give color and flavor, but body should be reminiscent of an IPA, not heavy like a porter or stout. The style celebrates the hops of the Pacific Northwest, but is commonly brewed in other regions.

Comments: Some brewers prefer to cold steep the dark grains to achieve a very dark beer without the tannin contribution of adding the grains to the mash. The use of Sinnamar to enhance color is common. The interaction of dark, roasted malts and grains with NW hop character creates a unique spicy flavor component described as minty, or rosemary like.

Ingredients: Pale or pilsner malt, some mid-range caramel malt in a supporting role, Carfa type
malts, both regular and debittered, small amounts of chocolate malt, roast barley, and black patent malts can also be used. Northwest American hop varieties, or hops with similar characteristics (eg New Zealand), for flavor and aroma additions. Heavy dry-hopping is common.

IBUs 60-90+
Color: 40+ SRM
OG: 1.060-1.075 (15-18 P)
FG: 1.008-1.016 (2-4 P)
Abv 6.0-7.75%

Classic Examples: Rogue Brewer, Phllips Black Toque, Hopworks Secession CDA, Barley Brown’s Turmoil, Widmer W’10 Pitch Black IPA, Lucky Lab Black Sheep, Three Creeks 8 Second IBA, Block 15 Benton Brigade, Stone 11th Anniversary (Sublimely Self-Righteous) Ale, Walking Man Big Black Homo, Rogue Black Brutal, Laughing Dog Dogzilla, Southern Tier Iniquity
 

Beerbeque

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This sounds just like a beer I brewed very recently but at the time I didn't know what to call it. I just made up the recipe because it sounded good and it definitely is a winner now that it is finished. My recipe was:
10# two row
12 oz crystal 60
6oz choc.
2oz black patent
1.25oz Cent 90min
2.0oz Cent 5min
1.0 Cas flameout
US-05
Tastybrew.com calculator says:
O.G. 61
IBU 72
SRM 20
I love the name-Cascadian dark ale!
 

Beezer94

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I like dark hoppy beers, but not food coloring. If I could buy every single product I ever use, minus any added coloring, I would in a heartbeat.

"Cold steep" dark grains for color minus flavor, sinamar, etc. is really a joke. So take your award winning IPA and add dark food coloring and surprise you have an award winning "Cascadian Dark Ale" which also should just be Dark American IPA.

Also I don't understand the 'Flavor' description
A balance between (hops & malts)... Emphasis should be on hop flavor.
If there's an emphasis on something, doesn't that unbalance the other things?
 

bosco_NJ

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Never seen such a beer in NY. Is this what is also sometimes called a Black IPA?
Look for Southern Tier Iniquity. Southern Tier Brewing is in Lakewood, NY. Also if you get Victory Brewing near you look for Yakima Twilight. And yes they would be be called by some as Black IPA's.
 

FlyGuy

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Mmmmm.... Phillips Black Toque. Love that beer!

Also I don't understand the 'Flavor' description
If there's an emphasis on something, doesn't that unbalance the other things?
And you are right -- that flavour description is terribly worded. I think they mean a balance of flavours, although hop flavour should be most prominant. Presumably the beer should also be well balanced with respect to hop BITTERNESS and dryness from the roast malt and the malt sweetness. They don't actually say this, but of the two commercial examples I have tasted in the style examples that would seem to be true.
 
OP
david_42

david_42

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CDA is an attempt to get away from confusing and contradictory terms like Black IPA, IDA, IBA, etc. I expect to see some refinement of the wording. I believe for near-term BJCP competitions, they'll want these entered in 23, but labeled as a CDA.
 

jjp36

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I'd also add Victory Yakima Twilight to the list of examples. Delicious beer.
 

DrDirt

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I find it amusing that the OREGON brewers place such a repeated emphasis on the use of NW hops in the guideline. I count 8 such references. Maybe we should just cut to the chase and require that the beer be brewed in the northwest.
 

Jipper

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This is almost funny, but I'm sure they are for real. It's a flash in the pan trend that really has no place, IMO. Does everything we brew have to be forced into a style? An IPA with carafa II is not an IPA per guidelines. So if I brew a Pilsner with Cascade and Willamette, should I get to write my own style guidelines around it?
 

the_bird

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I don't like that it's called "Cascadian"; you just know that if you brew one with all-Amarillo, some judge somewhere is going to give you 20 points, tops.

Still an "emerging" style, but definately one that I've been interested in exploring.
 

bmbigda

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+1 on cold steeping the dark grains, I did this and cold not have been happier with the results. Another option is to use Carafa III (de-husked carafa I).

-1 on using Dogzilla as an example. Tastes like a hopped up dry stout and is not indicative of the "style".

+1,000 on making this official. I love it so much, especially on a cold night in New England.
 

bmbigda

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I like dark hoppy beers, but not food coloring. If I could buy every single product I ever use, minus any added coloring, I would in a heartbeat.

"Cold steep" dark grains for color minus flavor, sinamar, etc. is really a joke. So take your award winning IPA and add dark food coloring and surprise you have an award winning "Cascadian Dark Ale" which also should just be Dark American IPA.

Also I don't understand the 'Flavor' description
If there's an emphasis on something, doesn't that unbalance the other things?

I agree that it seems like a cop out to get color without flavor, but that's really not the case. If it were I'd hate it just as much as you do. Try it and you'll be pleasantly surprised to see that it doesn't avoid flavors, just changes them. You get a different roasty/chocolate taste than you'd expect in a stout. It's more refreshing, I'm not sure how else to describe it.
 

Arneba28

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I made a beer similar to this "style". just called it a hoppy american brown. didnt really care for it much. This type of beer doesnt need its own style....american brown is already there right?.. but i have had yakima twighlight and its a great beer. but its own catagory?
 

Beezer94

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I agree that it seems like a cop out to get color without flavor, but that's really not the case. If it were I'd hate it just as much as you do. Try it and you'll be pleasantly surprised to see that it doesn't avoid flavors, just changes them. You get a different roasty/chocolate taste than you'd expect in a stout. It's more refreshing, I'm not sure how else to describe it.
I think Yakima Twilight is delicious. I love hops and it's got a great amount of malt taste & aroma. I am not opposed to the "style" of beer, I just think the proposed guidelines need work. And a lot of the "Black IPA," or whatever you want to call it, recipes I have seen are an IPA + 3-4 oz of some very dark grain to add little to no taste.

I love that continually evolving "styles" of beer are pushing the envelope. Yakima Twilight is the only one in the "style" I have tried, and like I said it's great, but it has flavor to match the color. Really most of the style guidelines do not mean much, except if I am looking to try a new beer. I like when a case of beer is marked with the specific style so that I can decide if I want to try it on a whim. And for that reason I like the idea of more specific styles or sub-styles as long as it can set itself apart by more than looks.

I look forward to drinking more of whatever we want to call these types of beer! :mug:
 

mkling

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I think there is a place for something similar to this, though I really dislike the label "Cascadian Dark Ale".

There are 3 types of beer listed under the American Ale category in the BJCP largely based on color:

1) American Pale Ale
2) American Amber Ale
3) American Brown Ale

The thing is, craft & homebrewed beers are all becoming hoppier and hoppier. This has worked fine because the super hoppy APA can fall into the American IPA category. But there is not super hoppy Amber or Brown category (and with the American Brown category going up to 35 SRM it covers pretty close to black, too). Some of my very favorite commercial & homebrewed beers fall out of the style guidelines but in predictable ways that necessitate some new BJCP category, I think. (For example Bear Republic's Red Rocket Ale is an awesome "India" Amber -- too hoppy to fit the BJCP American Amber. Same for Terrapin's India Brown Ale -- too hoppy to fit BJCP American Brown.) 5 or 6 years ago there wasn't an Imperial IPA category, but once a style seemed to develop, they needed to create a category for it. I think we've hit that point with both Amber & Brown hoppy beers. Personally, since we've all gotten used to the "India" moniker on beers & know what it means, I personally would like "India Amber Ale" (Or India Red Ale) and "India Brown Ale" but I would be open to other labels. I just think it is time -- there are so many of these out there these days.
 

bmbigda

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I think Yakima Twilight is delicious. I love hops and it's got a great amount of malt taste & aroma. I am not opposed to the "style" of beer, I just think the proposed guidelines need work. And a lot of the "Black IPA," or whatever you want to call it, recipes I have seen are an IPA + 3-4 oz of some very dark grain to add little to no taste.

I love that continually evolving "styles" of beer are pushing the envelope. Yakima Twilight is the only one in the "style" I have tried, and like I said it's great, but it has flavor to match the color. Really most of the style guidelines do not mean much, except if I am looking to try a new beer. I like when a case of beer is marked with the specific style so that I can decide if I want to try it on a whim. And for that reason I like the idea of more specific styles or sub-styles as long as it can set itself apart by more than looks.

I look forward to drinking more of whatever we want to call these types of beer! :mug:

Yea you'll have to try to get your hands on the Stone Sublimely Self Righteous. I could give two ****s about style guidelines, I just know that if this becomes one, more craft brewers will make them...and I think they're delicious.
 

carnevoodoo

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Pretentious name, pretentious description. Turns me off from the whole style, even though I've had some great beers that would apparently fall into this category. Pass on the name, get someone less... biased to write the description.
 

remilard

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Yeah, I can pretty much guarantee you all that "this ale celebrates the wonders of Pacific Northwest hops" stuff won't make any published guideline, so why write it now?

I think the big problem I have is that if you do this style you should include strong hoppy brown ales in the same style. The problem there is those have been around a lot longer and aren't from the NW.

And really, 40+ SRM?
 

EMPyre

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Meh... Its cool to see some attempt at recognition for a style that is distictly regional in origin, and I love the focus on the PNW hops. But the fact is 75% of the US hop crop is grown in the Yakima valley, so any dark hoppy beer could technically fall into this catagory.

I do think it interesting that many of those opposed to this are from outside the region. I'm curious how much exposure they have to the beer we drink and brew and how our Cascadian beer culture differs from theirs. I know I certainly wouldn't feel confident slighting a stylistic guideline based on beers from the midwest or east coast. Just sayin'.
 

carnevoodoo

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Meh... Its cool to see some attempt at recognition for a style that is distictly regional in origin, and I love the focus on the PNW hops. But the fact is 75% of the US hop crop is grown in the Yakima valley, so any dark hoppy beer could technically fall into this catagory.

I do think it interesting that many of those opposed to this are from outside the region. I'm curious how much exposure they have to the beer we drink and brew and how our Cascadian beer culture differs from theirs. I know I certainly wouldn't feel confident slighting a stylistic guideline based on beers from the midwest or east coast. Just sayin'.
I'm not opposed to the introduction of new styles at all. I generally think that style guidelines are limited and pushing boundaries can only make for more interesting beers. However, lots of these beers are not being make to celebrate the Nrothwest or whatever. The best Black IPA I've had was one from Port Brewing in Carlsbad, CA. They were making it to celebrate the anniversary of a bar, and certainly not to jerk off the Northwest.

I am certainly aware of the culture and the amazing amount of beer that comes from the area. Being the proper climate to grow hops definitely helps, and the culture has definitely made it a great area for beer. However, the name is so over the top. The first thing people who see it will say is, "Where the **** is Cascadia?"

I know it is less "correct", but I still think the style name "Black IPA" makes a lot more sense. You could still talk about American hops in the descriptor, you could still give it the same properties, but you'd confuse a lot less people.

There was a push to rename the IIPA to "San Diego Pale Ale". As much as it amuses me being from San Diego and all, I have to say it is really unnecessary and while the Imperial at the beginning of that name is nonsensical in historic terms (of that particular style), we still all get it.
 

remilard

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I'm from Portland and I don't like it.

For one thing, IPAs with roasted grains (the big American brown ales) have been around for a long time and did not originate in the PNW. The switch from chocolate malt to carafa special which made the beer darker with less roasty flavor was a PNW twist but if you want to give credit for dark IPAs to a particular region, give it to Texas.
 

EMPyre

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The best Black IPA I've had was one from Port Brewing in Carlsbad, CA.
I'd argue that much (if not all of) California could be considered geographically part of 'Cascadia'. The mountains that define the region run from Central British Columbia to Northern California, and some could argue to Mexico. Its this region that has shaped a lot of micrbeer culture and this homage is fitting to some extent. However like I metioned previously, with 75% of hops grown in Central Washington for the US markets can you really argue that there are "Northwest" hops? I get it though, Cascade is certainly a regional varietal both in name and heritage. But again what is the linage of that variety? Hops strains come and go, and if they are nearly all being grown out west, well..

I guess maybe calling it an American Dark Western Ale or something could be more fitting. But I think the idea is really to give a distinction to the regional trend of darker color and copious amounts of Cascade...
 

cheezydemon3

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What about American Dark Ale?
No, no, we should actually go back and re-name anything labeled as "american" to give props to whichever hood it was thunk up in.

I find it amusing that the OREGON brewers place such a repeated emphasis on the use of NW hops in the guideline. I count 8 such references. Maybe we should just cut to the chase and require that the beer be brewed in the northwest.
Right, so we can just brew the same recipe with English or German hops and make up our own name.
 

carnevoodoo

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I'm going to be the first to brew an Imperial Stout with only citra hops and fermented in a red wine barrel. It'll be called the Gregory Street stout and it will be terrible. I just want my own geographical style.
 

EMPyre

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Wow, such hate. Honestly isn't this just the recognition of a common trend in brewer culture currently? If you do something different and it catches on and after a decade its pretty common and has legitmate commercial production what's wrong with classifying it? So maybe it is a happy handy to the PNW crowd, but honestly, this is what's happening up here. This beer is a style and damn near every pico, micro, and quasi macro craft brewer is doing something that fits this style in the region.

Besides the BJCP has plenty of other 'regional' catagories, how about: 12C Baltic Porter, 6A Cream Ale, 6C Kolsch to name but a few...
 

Edcculus

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Besides the BJCP has plenty of other 'regional' catagories, how about: 12C Baltic Porter, 6A Cream Ale, 6C Kolsch to name but a few...
Those are historical styles. They didn't make up a BJCP style for themselves.

Unfortunately, as global and connected as the world is today, its going to be really hard to name regional beers anymore. As soon as someone in California brews a beer, someone in NY can brew the exact same thing a week later.
 

Thakog

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I much prefer the name Cascadian Dark Ale to Black IPA. I'm not an IPA fan, and I avoided this style for a long time because I assumed I wouldn't like it either. I was wrong, and I've really been enjoying the beer- but if it wasn't labeled as an IPA, I would have been enjoying it for even longer! Clearly my loss for not being adventurous.

As for geography and pretentiousness, other beers have been there first. You've heard the story of how IPAs came to be known as such, right? Heck, what about naming a beer after an occupation? (Porter) Keep it CDA.
 

carnevoodoo

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I much prefer the name Cascadian Dark Ale to Black IPA. I'm not an IPA fan, and I avoided this style for a long time because I assumed I wouldn't like it either. I was wrong, and I've really been enjoying the beer- but if it wasn't labeled as an IPA, I would have been enjoying it for even longer! Clearly my loss for not being adventurous.

As for geography and pretentiousness, other beers have been there first. You've heard the story of how IPAs came to be known as such, right? Heck, what about naming a beer after an occupation? (Porter) Keep it CDA.
Keep it CDA? There's a disconnect there. Maybe being from WA, you've been hearing that for years or something, but everyone else in the country seems to call them black IPAs. This name issue is very recent in the minds of the rest of the nation.
 

Thakog

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Those are historical styles. They didn't make up a BJCP style for themselves.

Unfortunately, as global and connected as the world is today, its going to be really hard to name regional beers anymore. As soon as someone in California brews a beer, someone in NY can brew the exact same thing a week later.
Different regions still have difference tastes collectively. I went to school about 30 minutes south of the Canadian border. I was always surprised at the difference of styles when I would visit Canada. Honey lagers, while not on the BJCP guidelines, are very popular in BC, but I can't think of a single brewery in Washington or Portland that does one. (I'm sure there are a few- post them so I can visit!)

The PNW and Cascade region have a penchant for hoppy beers, hence it's popularity up here. Just because you can make it, doesn't mean that you will if the general populace isn't interested in the style. Otherwise I would have been drinking baltic porters on my honeymoon in Mexico.
 

Thakog

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Keep it CDA? There's a disconnect there. Maybe being from WA, you've been hearing that for years or something, but everyone else in the country seems to call them black IPAs. This name issue is very recent in the minds of the rest of the nation.
Maybe "keep it CDA" was a poor choice of words. However, if the the northwest was the place to popularize it, then I don't see anything wrong with alluding to that in the name of the style.
 

remilard

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Keep it CDA? There's a disconnect there. Maybe being from WA, you've been hearing that for years or something, but everyone else in the country seems to call them black IPAs. This name issue is very recent in the minds of the rest of the nation.
My recollection, having lived in Portland until about 2.5 years ago, is that they were called black IPAs in the PNW until very recently.
 

carnevoodoo

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Also:

"Garrett Oliver, brewmaster of Brooklyn Brewery has suggested that the style be dubbed San Diego Pale Ale. He was referring specifically to the Double IPA, but I think it applies equally well to the lower octane brews (maybe the higher alcohol beers in the style should be called San Diego Strong Ales). Some examples of the style that we really like include:

Alpine Duet and Pure Hoppiness and O'Brien's IPA
Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
Port Brewing's Wipeout IPA
Green Flash West Coast IPA
Stone Ruination"

Which I think is pretentious bull****, too. Just call it an IIPA. Or a black IPA.
 

Thakog

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Some still are called black IPAs. I just finished a Widmer "Pitch Black IPA." I fail to see why that means that they BJCP category has to be "Black IPA" instead of Cascadian Dark Ale.
 

carnevoodoo

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Some still are called black IPAs. I just finished a Widmer "Pitch Black IPA." I fail to see why that means that they BJCP category has to be "Black IPA" instead of Cascadian Dark Ale.
Why does it HAVE to be Cascadian Dark Ale? Why does it matter so much? People like thinking they're special, that's why.
 
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