For our first pilot batch, we are brewing an American IPA. This is the prototype for our Tall Pines IPA so I am tweaking a very simple base recipe that I created earlier this year. This recipe is a SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hop) beer that I am attempting to ever so slightly adjust to improve certain qualities.
The base recipe for this beer was taken from a SMaSH recipe I brewed in February 2015 using only Rahr Premium Pilsner Malt, Citra Pellet Hops, WyYeast American Ale 1056, and NYC tap water.
Knowing that the Pilsner malt would result in a light, crackery body, I shot for a relatively high mash temp (~155 degF) to give the beer more body. I was a little heavy handed with my early hop additions, as I did make the mistake (see below) of doing both a First Wort addition AND a Bittering addition at the beginning of the 90-minute boil. Because I was using 100% Pilsner malt, I did a 90-minute boil to avoid DMS-precursors.
The resulting beer was absolutely delicious. It more bitter than I would have liked for the first few days or so, as the bittering hop addition easily overpowered the very light bodied Pilsner back-bone, but that bitterness did tame over time, resulting in a light-bodied, well balanced Citra-bomb of an IPA.
For Tall Pines IPA, I wanted to add just a touch more malt flavor to the beer without adding too much body, as I still really enjoy an IPA that is deceivingly light in body. I also wanted to make sure that the beer wasn’t too bitter right off the bat like the last batch was.
In order to achieve this, I replaced a small amount of the the base Pilsner malt with some Belgian Munich malt. I am not a huge fan of Crystal or Caramel malts as I find that they are easy to over-used (and commonly are), so I thought that the Munich would add just a hint of color and biscuity flavor to the beer, but would still result in a clean, light body.
As for the hop addition changes, I stuck with my First Wort addition as it definitely gave me a well-rounded hop flavor. However, in order to decrease the sharp, bitter finish that I had seen in the SMaSH IPA, I both delayed and minimized the early bittering addition. Part of me thought to get rid of it entirely, but I guess we will see...