Monday, January 03, 2011

Office Hours: Imperial India Pale Ale, a.k.a. Double IPA ... a.k.a. San Diego Pale Ale?

Tonight at 6:30 p.m. we gather in Prost to inaugurate a New Year with a style guaranteed to produce a crowd of hopheads: San Diego Pale Ale.


Well, read through the syllabus below and you'll find an article, albeit from 2006, suggesting that "Double IPA" should be renamed for its roots in Southern California. What follows is everything I plan on bringing tonight, so those planning on attending can print it if desired. I'd like to once again thank Todd Suyemasa for opening his cellar to broaden the scope of our tasting.


OFFICE HOURS for Monday, Jan. 3, 2011

***BJCP Category 14 — India Pale Ale, continued

14C. Imperial IPA

Aroma: A prominent to intense hop aroma that can be derived from American, English and/or noble varieties (although a citrusy hop character is almost always present).

Appearance: Color ranges from golden amber to medium reddish copper; some versions can have an orange-ish tint.

Flavor: Hop flavor is strong and complex, and can reflect the use of American, English and/or noble hop varieties. High to absurdly high hop bitterness, although the malt backbone will generally support the strong hop character.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium-light to medium body.

Overall Impression: An intensely hoppy, very strong pale ale without the big maltiness and/or deeper malt flavors of an American barleywine. Strongly hopped, but clean, lacking harshness, and a tribute to historical IPAs. Drinkability is an important characteristic; this should not be a heavy, sipping beer.

Comments: Bigger than either an English or American IPA in both alcohol strength and overall hop level (bittering and finish). Less malty, lower body, less rich and a greater overall hop intensity than an American Barleywine. Typically not as high in gravity/alcohol as a barleywine, since high alcohol and malt tend to limit drinkability. A showcase for hops.

History: A recent American innovation reflecting the trend of American craft brewers “pushing the envelope” to satisfy the need of hop aficionados for increasingly intense products. The adjective “Imperial” is arbitrary and simply implies a stronger version of an IPA; “double,” “extra,” “extreme,” or any other variety of adjectives would be equally valid.

Ingredients: Pale ale malt (well-modified and suitable for single-temperature infusion mashing); can use a complex variety of hops (English, American, noble). American yeast that can give a clean or slightly fruity profile.

Vital Statistics:
OG: 1.070 – 1.090
FG: 1.010 – 1.020
IBUs: 60 – 120
SRM: 8 – 15
ABV: 7.5 – 10%

Commercial Examples: Three Floyd’s Dreadnaught, Bell’s Hop Slam, Stone Ruination IPA, Great Divide Hercules Double IPA, Rogue I2PA, Dogfish Head 90-minute IPA, Victory Hop Wallop



Lagunitas Sonoma Farmhouse Hop Stoopid (ABV 8%), Petaluma, CA
For those mornings when you have to cut right to the chase, this is the one. Sure to blast through just about anything still lingering from the night before, this mouthful of Hops and huge rich Malt has a guarantee built right into the name! IBU 102

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA (ABV 9%), Milton, DE
90 Minute IPA was our first continually-hopped beer, which is a method of hopping that allows for a pungent, but not crushing hop flavor. Since introducing the world to the continual-hopping method with our 90 Minute IPA, we've since released a continually-hopped 60 Minute IPA\, 120 Minute IPA and even a 75 Minute IPA (a cask-conditioned blend of 60 & 90 Minute IPAs). In addition to the continual-hopping 90 Minute IPA recieves during the boil, we also utilize our 'Me So Hoppy' device to dry-hop the beer
during conditioning. 90 IBU.

Great Divide Hercules Double IPA (ABV 10%), Denver, CO
Hoppier, maltier and with more alcohol than a standard IPA, Hercules Double IPA definitely is not for the faint of heart. Hercules Double IPA is, however, an elixir fit for the gods. A brash but creamy wonder, Hercules pours a deep orange-coppery color, forming substantial lace in the glass. Hercules Double IPA delivers a huge amount of piney, floral, and citrusy hop aroma and flavor from start to finish. A hefty backbone of nutty, toffee-like malt character balances Hercules’ aggressive, punchy hop profile. 85 International Bittering Units (IBUs).

Southern Tier Gemini (10.5% ABV ), Lakewood, NY
High in the winter sky, two parallel stick figures are visible & known as “the twins,” or the constellation Gemini. The astronauts of the 1960s flew as teams of two in a program named after the celestial pairing. At Southern Tier, we have our own fraternal twins, Hoppe & Unearthly. Blended together & placed in this vessel, the mission of our Gemini is to travel high & take passengers on a journey far into the heavens.
10.5% abv • 5.8ÂșL * 22° Plato
Malts - Two Row pale malt, Malted white wheat, Cara-pils malt, Red wheat.
Kettle hops - Columbus, Chinook, Cascade;
Aroma hops - Amarillo;
Hop back - Styrian Goldings;
Dry hops - Amarillo, Cascade, Centenial, Chinook & Columbus.


Stone Ruination IPA (ABV 7.7%), Escondido, CA
So called because of the immediate ruinous effect on your palate. 100+ IBUs. Bracingly bitter. Thick, pungent hop aroma. We would say that no hops were injured in the brewing of this beer, but that would be a massive lie. In fact, the words "Stone Ruination IPA" are what older hop vines use to cause little hop vines to quiver with fright and lose sleep at night . We at Stone honor the brutal massacre of countless hops with this "Liquid poem to the glory of the hop!" Paganism at its best! Hops: Columbus and Centennial

Alpine Beer Company Pure Hoppiness (ABV 8%), Alpine, CA
A West Coast Double IPA So mega-hopped it will take you to hop heaven. We’ve used hops in the boil, more hops in the giant hopback, and added to that, an incredible amount of dry-hopping for that cutting-edge “hop bite.” Once you’ve tasted this unique beer, all others pale in comparison. 1.072 OG Classified IBU

Green Flash Imperial IPA (ABV 9.4%), Vista, CA
San Diego-style IPA, as it has come to be known by many, is a super-hoppy, high gravity, yet highly quaffable ale. Green Flash Imperial IPA is created in this new tradition, with intense hop flavors and aromas from a unique blend of Summit and Nugget hops. IBU 101

Port Brewing Hop 15 (ABV 10%), San Marcos, CA
First brewed in 2002 to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the original Pizza Port location in Solana Beach, we searched high and low and combined 15 of our favorite hops which were added every 15 minutes to the boil. Somewhat darker than other Double IPA style beers, our beer oozes the hop goodness of pine needles, freshly squeezed citrus and ground spices which are only moderately tempered by a sweet malt finish. Thankfully, for all of us hopheads, we have decided to brew this beer more than once a year. Look for Hop 15 to make appearances from time to time when space permits us to brew this, one of our favorite ales. O.G.: 1.086 F.G. : 1.014; Hops - 15 different varieties; Malt - Two Row and English Light Crystal


Some believe bitter brew should be renamed to reflect San Diego roots, by Peter Rowe (March 8, 2006; San Diego Union-Tribune)

Garrett Oliver gets around. The brewmaster at New York City's Brooklyn Brewery, Oliver is familiar with the beers of Belgium, Great Britain, Germany and Southern California.

In San Diego, he's especially fond of the so-called double India Pale Ale. Loves the beer.
Hates the name.

“Since the style they call 'double IPA' originated in the San Diego area,” Oliver argued, “shouldn't it be called San Diego Pale Ale?”

Marc Jilg, founder of Craftsman Brewing Co. in Pasadena, seconded the motion. “Historically,” Jilg said, “you could make a compelling argument that San Diego originated the double IPA.”

The double IPA, though, is not quite a native. Vinnie Cilurzo is credited with creating the style in 1994, when he was running Blind Pig Brewery in Temecula. Blind Pig IPA set the bar high and bitter – the recipe called for four varieties of malts, but the intensely aromatic and bitter hops were the star. Ditto, his Inaugural Ale.

Brewers measure a beer's bitterness with IBUs, or International Bittering Units.

Budweiser scores 12 IBUs. Your average IPA, about 60. Blind Pig IPA? An eye-watering 92. Blind Pig Inaugural Ale? A staggering 120.

In 1995, Cilurzo unleashed these hop monsters on the Great American Beer Festival. The Blind Pig Brewery folded in 1998. Inaugural Ale, which reappeared for a few years as Anniversary Ale, is only remembered by diehard Blind Piglets. But the Blind Pig IPA has attained cult status, and its descendants have won official recognition. Today, there is an “Imperial or Double India Pale Ale” category at both the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup.

So why should a beer style that originated in Temecula and now enjoys global recognition as double IPA be re-named San Diego Pale Ale?

For several reasons:

1. The existing name doesn't make sense.

“The idea of a 'double IPA' is patently silly,” Oliver said.
India Pale Ales were developed in the late 18th and early 19th centuries as a way to keep beers fresh on the long voyage from London to Calcutta. By adding generous amounts of two preservatives – alcohol and hops – brewers could make pale ale that would survive the four-month journey in drinkable fashion.

If, that is, it passed muster with Calcutta's “beer assessor.”

The IPA, then, “was one of the most tightly defined beer styles in history,” Oliver noted.
By that tight definition, these beers are not IPAs, single or double.

2. Our drinkers love this style.

San Diegans are notoriously passionate about hops. Our best beer bars – among them O'Brien's, the Liar's Club and Wit's End – are top-heavy with hop-heavy offerings.
“If you drink hoppy beers every day,” said Jilg, “your definition of hoppiness needs to be recalibrated up a bit.”

3. Our brewers love this style, too.

You can find double IPAs in other parts of the country – Dogfish Head makes the 120 Minute IPA, with a mammoth 120 IBUs, in Milton, Del. But climb into a car in Milton and drive 30 minutes. You will not find a half dozen local brewers making versions of this beer.

You will in San Diego, where almost every brewery produces a version of double IPA.
A version with a distinct flavor. “They stand out among other IPAs from damn near anywhere else in the world,” said Pat McIlhenny, the founder of Alpine Beer Company.

4. In San Diego, this is the signature beer.

Or so insists a New Yorker.

“When we brought our golden, very hoppy 8 percent pale ale, Blast, to the Great American Beer Festival, we put up tasting notes that called it a San Diego Pale Ale,” Garrett Oliver said.

“Our West Coast brethren seemed to enjoy Blast, but they still seem oddly meek about claiming their bragging rights.”

No comments: