Recommendation: Aim for 20% to 40% of the total IBUs from late hop additions.
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American IPAs are usually a slight bit darker than American pale ales. Crystal malt and Munich malt are commonly used specialty malts. Steele (2012) recommends using no more than 10% crystal malt and notes a recent trend towards less crystal malt. Zainasheff (2011) also recommends 0 to 10% crystal malt, with lower percentages used for darker crystal malts. Other specialty malt possibilites include small amounts of Vienna, Victory, or Biscuit malt for increasing malt complexity to offset crystal malt sweetness. Tiny amounts (<= 1%) of dark malts can be used for red coloring rather than using crystal malts. It is important to keep malt character in the background to avoid overwhelming the hops. A single step mash of 148 to 153F is sufficient, with the lower temperatures in this range producing a more fermentable wort.
Common hop choices for American IPAs are the C-hops: Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, and Columbus. Steele (2012) also recommends Citra, Simcoe, Amarillo, and Sterling. Some American hops are described as "dank" (a resinous, herbal, earthy quality), such as Columbus (also siblings Tomahawk/Zeus), Simcoe, Chinook, Centennial, and other high-alpha American hops.
American IPAs usually have two or more late hop additions that are 25% to 40% of the total IBUs. A good strategy is to use neutral, high-alpha hops for bittering and then use hops noted for flavor or aroma characteristics at the end of the boil. Try to emphasize late hop character by processes that promote flavor extraction. These processes include hops added during the whirlpool and hop stands (steeping after the boil for 15 to 60 minutes). Dry hopping in the fermenter is also a common part of many recipes.
A few examples of hop bills:
The brewing water can have a significant degree of sulfates from gypsum (calcium sulfate) to emphasize a crisp hop bitterness. Many of the recipes in Steele's IPA book are between 100 to 300 ppm of calcicum or sulfates. Be careful to not overdo the minerals.
Use a clean, neutral yeast in order to allow the hop qualities to stand out. The standard yeast is American Ale, such as White Labs WLP001, Wyeast 1056, or Fermentis US-05.
The American IPA style has changed significantly over the last few decades to become more bitter and have greater hop character. Early commercial examples, such as Ballantine's IPA (62 IBUs) Anchor's Liberty Ale (40+ IBUs), were bold by the standards of the 1990s (Steele, 2012). Liberty Ale helped to define the style by using only Cascade hops, which imparted a distinctly American character. A review of 1990s IPA recipes recommends 85 to 95% (by weight) English pale ale malt, 1-2% caramel malt (40 to 80L), 5-10% Munich malt, and 1-4% carpils or dextrin malt (Brockington, 1996). The recommended hops were Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, and Columbus for 40 to over 50 IBUs (Brockington, 1996).
Modern IPAs tend to have a bolder hop character than those of 20 years ago. The style guidelines suggest 40 to 70 IBUS, but many beers tend to be bigger than the low end of this range. The "west coast" types may approach 100 IBUs (Zainasheff, 2011). IBUs values of 55 to 70 seem to be the standard in the best examples of this style. A wider range of distinctly American hops are available. Hops with fruity qualities, such as Citra and Galaxy, have recently become more popular.
Brockington, D. (1996, September/October). The evolution of contemporary brewing of IPA. BrewingTechniques, 38 - 51.
Colby, C. (2007, May-June). USA India pale ale. BYO magazine, 34 - 39.
Dellinger, D. (2015, March-April). Award-winning American IPA. BYO magazine, 40 - 48.
Steele, M. (2012). IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes, and the Evolution of India Pale Ale, Brewer's Publications, 223 to 225.
Zainasheff, J. (2011, September). American IPA: A haven for hops. BYO magazine, 19-23
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