Evergreen Imperial IPA



I think this DIPA from last Summer was the first time I really came up with a good IPA recipe. I skipped all the specialty grains and just added a bit of wheat extract for head retention. I added some corn sugar during fermentation to dry it out. Most importantly, I loaded up three ounces of dank hops in the last ten minutes of the boil and another three ounces in dry hop.

This was a dank, resinous, pine-forward ale with face puckering bitterness and enough alcohol to give the impression of balancing sweetness, despite it finishing extremely dry, which in turn kept it drinkable and cleaned up after itself. That was for the first month or so that I was drinking them, at least.

Then the batch gave up its first bottle bomb. Three more followed and the rest were just so over carbonated that half the beer would be lost upon opening a bottle.

An FG 1.010 with no visible activity in over a week should have been very safe to bottle this beer. The 10.6% ABV made me nervous about whether the third generation Nottingham yeast would be up to the task of carbonating this beast, though. As a result, I decided to add a packet of CBC-1 priming yeast.

I had never before and haven’t since used this yeast. I read up before and decided that I could just rehydrate it and add at bottling time. In the future, especially when using a yeast I’m not familiar with, I would add the bottle conditioning yeast a few days before bottling. If it kick starts fermentation, that could mean bottle bombs. If it doesn’t, then it will still be in there and ready to go to work on the priming sugar when you do bottle. More research has told me that the full packet of yeast was probably over pitching for a five gallon batch. Whatever happened, I’ve never had this issue before. It was very weird because I swear it happened overnight, well over a month after bottling. All at once, every bottle was extremely over carbonated.

Even after the gusher problem, this beer still smelled and tasted fantastic. I got into a routine of having a bottle every other Saturday after my midnight to noon shift. After working twelve hours overnight, I’d come home, put a frozen pizza in the oven and crack the cap half off a bottle of this in the sink. Then I’d go take a shower and when I was done, my pizza and beer were both ready to go spend some time with me on the couch before heading to bed.

Sure, by that point it was almost gritty with yeast and still extremely over carbonated… but it really did taste good.

Fruit Spectrum, the IPA I made this Summer and just bottled, is other side of the IPA coin. That beer has all the tropical and stone fruit tinted hops in one place. This one featured mainly piny hops, thus the names. I love the new Southern Hemisphere hops that are the stars of Fruit Spectrum, but for North American hops, the dank hops are my favorite. I also think that they work better in huge double IPAs.

IMG_20130619_163426Chinook, the only hop I used in both IPAs is, along with Centennial, THE classic IPA hop. Yes, Cascades were in a lot the early American IPAs and they still are, but to me, they define the American Pale Ale, as perfected by Sierra Nevada. You can just add more of them to make an IPA, but those have never been my favorite examples of the style. Chinook has some of the grapefruit flavor of Cascade hops, but is much heavier on pine. It is also one of the most powerful hops, in my experience. Chinook is one of the only hops that I’ve added only as a bittering hop early in the boil and still found that I could taste a bit of their distinct flavor in the finished beer.

Simcoe was the hot new hop for a few years and is still very popular, despite all of the new competition from Australia and New Zealand. This hop again shows some grapefruit and is dominated by pine, but it also has some unique fruitiness. Some complain about its “catty” and “piss” characteristics, but I haven’t experienced this when using the hops personally. I have heard that it is one of the hops that commercial brewers make extra sure to check out before buying as some crops do have these problems while others are delicious.

Columbus hops, which sometimes go by other names, are pure, dank, pine. I don’t find that they have the diverse and complex characteristics of some of the other hops, it is just all evergreens. That is not a bad thing when they’re mixed with other varieties. As I learned with Evidence, though, a single hop beer is probably not the best way to go with these hops. The other names the go by are Tomahawk and Zeus, or CTZ. From what I understand, all of these hops are identical strains, but they come from different farms. The slightly different weather, soil and farming practices cause them to have some distinct differences. I’ve only ever used Columbus, so I can’t really comment on how true that is. And you thought only wine was concerned with terrior?

Citra is the one hop variety that I used here which might cause some people to question my recipe. Yes, it is known for tropical fruit flavors along with, of course, citrus. I find that it does have some pine notes, though. I really think it comes through as a mirror image of Simcoe. They both of a very similar set of characteristics, but Simcoe leans more on the pine and Citra leans more on the fruit. As a result, I think they compliment each other very well.

With the hops out of the way, I’ll post the rest of the recipe below. This was a partial mash, BIAB batch. One more note, though. This was fermented with third generation Nottingham yeast. There was a short period of time when I was washing my yeast. For this batch, it worked out well as the yeast was very fresh and fermented vigorously, taking the beer to a very low finishing gravity. Later, I began having some issues with yeast washing and have decided that it isn’t really worth the time, but I’ll write about that another time.


Evergreen Imperial IPA
Style: Double IPA
Brew Date: June 2, 2013
Serve Date: July, 2013
OG: 1.090
Expected FG: 1.009
Approximate ABV: 10.6%
IBUs: 158 (calculated, I’m sure its not actually nearly that high)

7 lb American Pale Malt
7 lb Light LME
1 lb Wheat DME
1 lb Corn Sugar (added three days into primary fermentation)

1 oz Chinook @ 60 min
1 oz Columbus @ 60 min
1 oz Citra @ 60 min
1 oz Chinook @ 20 min
1 oz Citra @ 15 min
1 oz Simcoe @ 10 min
2 oz Columbus @ Flameout
1 oz each Citra, Simcoe and Columbus dry hopped for 7 days

Nottingham for primary, CBC-1 for bottle conditioning

Mashed at 152º for an hour, spent ten days in primary in a carboy, then racked to a bucket for secondary for the ease of dry hopping with all whole flower hops.


One thought on “Evergreen Imperial IPA

  1. Pingback: Evergreen Imperial IPA Tasting Notes | Non-Existent Brewing

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