Monday, March 31, 2008

Big A IPA - 2008 Edition

It’s Big A IPA time of year again and the fearless brewers at Smuttynose have thrown both caution into wind and a vast amount of their ever dwindling supply of hops into the kettle (and fermentor, and bright tank) for your (and our) lupulinic enjoyment. This was our first beer which required a different approach because of the current hop shortage. 

Typically we would contact our supplier and see what interesting hops were available, usually looking at varieties we hadn’t used before, and make the Big A recipe from that starting point. The twist this year was to see what we had enough supply of in our ’07 contract and then build the beer around those hops. I think we’ve succeeded, though I’ll let ya’ll be the judge of our efforts. For our hopping regime we went with Cascade and Nuggets in the boiling addition. Centennials were added every 5 minutes for the last 30 minutes of the boil. We added Crystals into the whirlpool. Dry hopping was done in both the fermentor after primary fermentation and the bright tank. We used a mixture of Chinook, Nuggets, and Sterlings in the fermentors and whole leaf Centennials in the bright tank. 

Hopefully we won’t have to use this kitchen sink approach too many more times, though it’s certainly an interesting creative exercise as well as a unique insight into what Tod Mott must go through on a fairly regular basis at the Portsmouth Brewery.