This post is one in a series of making small adjustments to a single recipe in order to improve it, learn more about the impact each ingredient has on the finished product, and the art of recipe creation. The rest of the comparison tastings in this series can be found here.
Going into this tasting, I wondered how much of a difference there would be outside of the hop character of these red IPAs. Aside from the age of Iteration 5, I knew that the only difference in the grain bill was 3 oz. of C120. Certainly these beers would be more similar than the beers last tasting I did with Iterations 4 & 7. With a 17 point difference in OG, and the resultant 2% difference in ABV, these beers were quite different in a way that I probably should have expected but didn’t.
The recipes for each beer are as follows:
Iteration 5 poured with a moderate white head that dissipated rapidly. It had an orange/amber hue. Iteration 7 poured with a decent off-white/tan head that had moderate retention and was distinctly redder in color than the other beer.
Iteration 5 had an aroma of orange, floral and plum. Iteration 7 smelled of cherry, plum, apricot/pear, and a hint of orange. The aroma of this beer was much richer and had more depth than Iteration 5, despite the grain bill being the exact same, except for an additional 3 oz. of C120 in Iteration 7.
Iteration 5 tasted of cherry with a hint of cracker and floral notes as well. Iteration 7 was, again, richer in depth with notes of plum, black cherry, orange rind, and apricot.
Iteration 5’s malt flavors were comparatively lacking next to Iteration 7. This cannot be accounted for in the additional 3 oz. of C120 alone; certainly, the difference in OG played a large role in how different these beers are. Although the richness of Iteration 7 is absolutely delightful, I have to imagine it’s covering up the hop aroma and flavor some. I could combat that by adding more hops; however, I do not believe that the intensity of these flavors would ever be complimented by the greater hop aroma and flavors I desire. I’ve mentioned before that I intend to lower the OG (and subsequently, the ABV) closer to what it was in Iteration 6 (1.066 and 7.3%, respectively). Not only should this return this beer to a standard-strength IPA instead of a double, but it should mitigate the manner in which the malt character is overpowering the hop character.
If you haven’t already, check out the plans for next year and let me know what you think using the survey.