Since it was last discussed here, my stance on this “style” has softened a bit. I have found it useful to view it as more of a Pilsner which used the wrong hops and was fermented with an ale yeast.
On one of the last brew sessions of 2014, I was after a hint of malt character in a pale beer; no crystal malt, because this isn’t, after all, to be confused with an American pale ale; and very well-attenuated but still with a bit of mouthfeel, and not overbearingly hop-acid heartburny.
In a word: crushable.
Utterly Groundbreaking (Last Year) Session IPA
Target OG: 1.044
- 94% MCI stout malt
- 6% Weyermann CaraFoam
- 148°F for 75′
- 170°F for 10′
- Centennial (whole, 10% aa) at 60′ to 31 IBU
- blend of Centennial, Columbus, and Simcoe (whole, pellet, whole, respectively) at a combined rate of 12 grams per gallon, 20′ hop stand after shutdown
- Chill to 68°F, O2 and pitch with Wyeast 1217 West Coast IPA
- After 15 days, SG was 1.009 – hit with finings, and …
- Transfer to kegs & crash cool to 35F
Short and sweet ingredient bill, simple brew day, fast turnaround …
As the picture faithfully shows, it’s a pale git. It looks like a light lager (or even cider if you ignore the foam), but it smells like dried lemon and pine needles. Those elements from the hops show up in the flavor as well, with some darker, deeper notes of musty herbs. The hop character isn’t too bright and brash, the bitterness makes a graceful exit, and I’m fairly pleased with the balance.
It is certainly very well-attenuated, but not totally scoured out, thanks to a bit of slickness from the CaraFoam. The stout malt gave great extract (as usual) and helped make for a very light color – and my notes from brew day comment on a great cold break, too – but its flavor is slight … which I realize isn’t the point of my misguided Pils, but next time I think I might incorporate a bit of Maris Otter or Golden Promise for a fractionally higher amount of malt flavor. But overall, I will consider ground utterly broken.
How about you, reader? Any good session IPA lately, your own or storebought?