I’m overdue for a homebrew post. Long overdue, actually. I’ve currently got a honey basil ale fermenting – my ninth solo homebrew – there are a bunch I’m slowly working through sitting in my closet. I’ve got well over 100 bottles waiting to be had (#HomebrewProblems) varying from a few final bottles of my honey double IPA to a chocolate-vanilla porter.
This week I’m starting in earnest to drink my latest India pale ale – a single-hop Cascade IPA. I used only Cascade hops for this batch, six ounces in total. I brewed the beer with four ounces and dry-hopped with two for 10 days. It was the first recipe I made up myself, although IPAs tend to be easier to create, I suppose. I referenced Ray Daniels’ Designing Great Beers for the hop count. According to him, just over three ounces is an award-winning amount of hops to use for the entire recipe.
This week I paired it with a (vegetarian) bacon cheeseburger. I think it would also go well with any dish made or topped with bleu cheese. I also have a strong opinion that IPAs pair wonderfully with uber-cheap, store-brand, dry chocolate chip cookies. Just sayin’.
If you’re familiar with Cascade, you’ll have an idea of what this beer offers. As a good, American hop, Cascade is a bit floral, but mostly citrus-like smell and flavor. To me, it can also be a little sweet if used in high amounts. I think my beer almost gets to that point, but not quite.
The Cascade smell is VERY pronounced on the nose thanks to the two ounces of leaf hops I used, but the taste is a bit more subdued. My thought is it could be because the alpha acid amount was just over 5 percent, which is about middling for Cascade. It gives the IPA a nice bitterness, but because the smell of hops is so heavy – something I like – it might be harder to get the hop flavor from the beer.
All of this isn’t a bad thing, exactly. I rather like the beer and I think aside from the smell, it might be a good IPA starter beer. Then again, my palette is a bit different than those who don’t like IPAs. I used an online calculator to determine the IBU amount, which was 60. Most brewers consider around 100 to be around the highest you can go.
I also pulled a bottle of an English pale ale, which is probably the most balanced, easy drinking beer I’ve made. It’s one that I think anyone can drink and enjoy. Hooray me!
What I like about this beer is its balance – the hops are pretty mild and the malt bill evens everything out nicely. It’s a good non-beer lover beer, but I’ve also gotten positive reviews from fellow homebrewers on it. Hooray me!
On the bright side, I’ve just returned from a trip to my local beer store where I splurged and picked up a couple new brews, as if I needed any more. Tonight I’m cracking open a 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon and I’m stashing a Widmer Brothers Kill Devil brown ale.