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Rye IPA take 2

Rebrewed my rye IPA recipe with a couple tweaks. It’s in the primary now and will head to secondary and dry hopping once the active ferment slows.

It was originally an attempt to clone Founders’ “Red’s RyePA” which I first brewed early in 2012. It won me a 2nd place in Specialty category and moved on for consideration in best of show for the 1st Merrimac Valley Homebrew Club’s competition in the Spring.

After much online research, I found a post from someone from within Founders who had given feed back to another person trying to figure out the recipe. A good amount of Carapils, some medium crystal, dark crystal, and aromatic. Rye about 15% total grain. They advertise it as heavily hopped with Amarillo, which is very popular (though hard to get) hop for flavor and aroma hopping, providing orange/citrus notes. Founders also lists “4 different belgian malts”.

I replaced the belgian malts with equivalents I could get locally, went around 15% on the malted rye. the 1st batch was very balanced, not overly bitter despite the large amount of hops used. Late in the boil hop additions contribute less to bitterness and more to flavor and aroma. My beer, while very tasty, was not a clone of the Founders beer. But, what I did find was that I didn’t care. My beer was well received by friends who like hoppy beers, and it scored well in competition. I did something right.

So now it’s time to rebrew. But I can’t help but tweak the recipe. I added a 1/2 lb more rye (from 2.0 to 2.5 lbs). Other than that, the grain bill remained the same. So this will add maybe 0.3% in ABV and hopefully give me more of that slight spicy dryness to the finish.

The hops: rather than using JUST Amarillo hops in the late additions, I decided to mix in some Columbus too. Columbus gives more of an resiny, dank flavor and aroma. Hopefully this will provide a more complex hop profile to the beer. I also changed the bittering hops from Northern Brewer to Chinook. Bittering hops, added early in the boil, provide a beer’s bitterness, but typically very little to flavor and aroma. So I don’t see this having a big effect.

Also used some gypsum in the boil to hopefully help the bitterness be a bit more pronounced. I did not do this in the first batch. I found in my early batches that the bitterness I expected (from the calculations in my brewing software) was typically lacking. Gypsum in the boil is known to help provide a more pronounced bitterness.

So it’s wait and see now. Unlike the 1st batch, in which I dry hopped with 2 oz of Amarillo, I will split the dry hops up between Amarillo and Columbus as I did with the flavor and aroma additions in the boil. If all goes to plan I expect to transfer to the secondary and dry hops this weekend, and bottle the following weekend. Allow a few weeks to carbonate and condition, and then I’ll be taste-testing.

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