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.

15 comments:

Mutual Fund Guru said...

Is the Maibock in stores yet? I just found the Imperial Stout last week by asking specifically for it at Gary's in Portsmouth.

rustifer said...

Can you tell me when the Big A is going to ship? I buy at Halftime in Poughkeepsie and I do not want to miss this year's batch. Great beer, as always!
Rustifer

Anonymous said...

Saw the Maibock in stores for the first time today. Another great beer from my fav brewery.

RHP said...

The greatest beer in New England in my opinion. I can't wait to get my hands on this year's release!

dqueue said...

Sipping some right now. Fragrant! Delicious! A treat, as always.

Mutual Fund Guru said...

Where did you find it dqueue?

RHP said...

Finally got some! I found some bottles at Whole Foods in Portland today...HOORAY! I'll need to go back and stock up...

Mutual Fund Guru said...

Peter - Are you guys doing the Baltic Porter again next year?

Peter Egelston said...

Good afternoon,

Dave & Greg have not set their 2009 Big Beer Series schedule yet, though they are working on it as we speak. Given the enthusiastic reception the Baltic Porter received, it will be seriously considered, but each year, as the BB Series expands to include more styles, scheduling becomes more challenging.

What are your favorite Big Beer editions, and which ones would you like to see in the 09 Series?

P-

Mutual Fund Guru said...

Baltic Porter and Imperial Stout were by far my favorites. Since Portsmouth Lager is going away, is there some sort of variation or high-end lager you could try out for the BB series? Maybe a Schwarzbier/Black lager?

Tony K said...

The Baltic Porter is my favorite beer of all time. The Imperial Stout is right behind it. Everyone I have mentioned these beers to has raved about them. Those are two MUSTS in the Big Beer Series. I hope they perpetually remain in the lineup. I would love to see some bourbon barrel aged versions of these beers (or any suitable style for that matter) make their way into the series as well. This year's Big A IPA is amazing. That needs to stay as well. I also think it would be cool to see an attempt at a Traditional Ale or Old Ale.

My .02,
Tony

Scott said...

Baltic Porter and Imperial Stout were superior, I also add the Scotch Style Ale- a top notch brew!

Mutual Fund Guru said...

After trying the Harpoon Red Rye Ale, I think you guys could definitely have some fun with it and make a pretty killer big beer.

Mutual Fund Guru said...

Peter - Congratulations on the new spot in Hampton. I know I can't wait! Any plans for banquet facilities, maybe large enough for a wedding reception of ~100?

Trigger Hoppy said...

Is the Wheat Wine in stores yet? I see the S'muttonator currently around but no Wheat Wine.