Ben Dean-Titterrell

Politics and beer. Travel content coming soon…

Tag: IPA

1001 Beers: 16. Thornbridge Jaipur

Bottle.jpg

Thornbridge Jaipur IPA

From: England

Brewed by: Thornbridge

First brewed: 2005

ABV: 5.9%

Obtained from: Beerhawk

I’ve had a Thornbridge beer before for this blog, and I’m afraid it was not a success. I think more than anything else it was the style wot lost it; I’ve never been a stout fan. But I’ve read good things about Thornbridge as a brewery, so in a style that’s much more to my taste, I’m expecting good things.

We’re off to a good start colour-wise. That’s a lovely bright yellow. I love to see beers with a nice bright colour and this really ticks that box. There’s a haziness there too. I honestly sit on the fence on the haze/no haze debate. I think it works in Jaipur’s favour here though. In short: it’s a lovely looking beer.

Cap

You get citrus everywhere with this one, and the first place you get it is in the aroma. It’s lovely and fresh, smelling of lemons and oranges. When we get onto flavour I taste even stronger citrussy notes. It’s razor sharp and only gets sharper the further back on the tongue it goes. I like a sharp note to a beer but this was a little sharper than what I’d have in a perfect world.

All in all, this is a top quality beer. It’s got plenty of flavour to it, it’s very well made, and the citrusy notes make it a very refreshing IPA. No less than four stars.

4 out of 5

1001 Beers: 14. Goose Island IPA

Goose Island IPA

Goose Island IPA

From: USA

Brewed by: Goose Island

First brewed: 1993

ABV: 5.9%

Obtained from: Beerhawk

I’d been looking forward to this one for some time. I’d seen and read and heard good things about it. So, it was with a sense of optimism that I went into this, with the abiding memories of my previous tasting from Goose Island positive ones.

The first thing that hits me: citrus. There was a strong citrusy taste that came immediately to my mind. Then came the hoppiness a mere moment later. To my taste, they were both strong and forceful, but they played off each other well. They complimented one another and balanced out nicely.

There was also a sharpness to this beer. From my very limited experienced IPAs can often have less of an edge to them, blunter somewhat they a crisp lager. But this one had a sharpness that I liked. It added to the refreshing nature of the beer.

Bottle CapAnother nice thing about this beer was the colour. It seems almost silly and unimportant but I really believe the colour of a beer adds a lot to how much you enjoy it. The glowing golden colour was a lovely thing to look at. Never underestimate colour in a beer.

This was great. (Though my memories of it, for now, might be somewhat soured by the fact I dropped and broke one of my favourite glasses while drinking it.)

Broken Glass

I could drink pints of this all night long. A certain four.

4 out of 5

1001 Beers: 9. BrewDog Punk IPA

Punk IPA

Punk IPA

From: Scottish

Brewed by: BrewDog

First brewed: 2007

ABV: 5.6%

Obtained from: Beerhawk

When you read of BrewDog you read of a brewery that started with the goal of pushing the boundaries of brewing. They were rebels that didn’t care for established order of things. I care little for mythologising the history of beer and its makers, so I’ll take Punk IPA on its merits.

The hoppiness is rich and far-reaching. The mix of hops is strong and forceful, but not so strong as to be off-putting. The flavours are complex and they give you a lot to think about. I definitely found the hop flavours more prominent than the malt ones; its a personal preference but I think this ranks as a positive aspect to the beer.

Bottle Cap

One of the things I noticed first about this IPA was how fizzy it was. It seems like an odd thing to make note of, but the fizz in this beer was more prominent than many others I’ve tried. It gave each sip a real edge to it. This strong fizz worked well with the tropical fruit flavours that I’m also a big fan of in beers generally.

A strong showing here from Punk IPA. There’s a definite re-drinkability. A well deserved four pints.4 out of 5

Ben’s Brew 2: IPApricot

IPApricot

Beer in glass

Homebrew number two was envisaged as a light, fruity IPA. The fruit I finally settled on was apricot because that’s what caught my eye at the time I went shopping. It was also a first attempt at all grain brewing. Having had a reasonable result with malt extract brewing I decided to go a step further and try using real barley malt and hops. Having bought the ingredients and large metal pot (and gone through the necessary but boring process of sterilising everything), I got to work.

Adding malt 1Adding malt 2

First step is the mashing process. This involves heating the barley malt in water to extract the flavours. I put the malt, about two and a half kilos of it, in a large mesh bag that makes it easy to remove the malt grains after the mashing process is finished. It’s a bit like making a really large cup of tea but with barley malt rather than tea leaves. You heat this all up to about seventy degrees for around three quarters of an hour. I’m making about twenty pints (two and a half gallons) at this point, but you put something closer to four gallons of water in the pot as a lot of liquid boils away by the end of the process.

Wort 1

Once we take the grains out of the pot we’re left with a liquid known as the wort. The wort has to be brought up to a boil. Once this has happened it’s time to add the hops. As this is an IPA there’s going to be a lot of hops in it. When you add the hops to the wort makes a difference to the taste of the final beer. From my limited knowledge of brewing, the basic rule of thumb is: add them earlier to make it bitter, add them later to make it sweet. I added mine in small amounts every fifteen minutes over a period of about an hour or so.

HopsBoiling wortFinished wort

Once we’ve reached this point we’ve completed almost all of the brewing process. All that we have to do now is let it cool to room temperature, siphon it into the fermentation vessel, and add yeast. Adding the apricot comes a little later on as apparently adding it too early int he fermentation process doesn’t always make it taste great. The adding of fruit will come in about a week.

Siphoning

Once the wort has been siphoned and the yeast added the beer has to be put in a place where it can stay at a constant temperature, in my case this was in a kitchen cupboard next to the washing machine. Next thing to do is what takes up most of your time when brewing beer: waiting. After waiting a week I went out and bought ten apricots, sliced them, put them in two muslin bags, and put them in the fermentation vessel.

(At the time I thought slicing them would be enough but after checking the beer a couple of weeks later I changed my mind and decided they needed mashing up so I just picked up the muslin bags and squeezed them.)

Adding apricotApricot in brew

This is the point where things really start to go a bit wrong. After a while more waiting…

 

…and waiting…

 

…and waiting…

 

…and visiting the Houses of Parliament…

…I thought it was ready!

Then I remembered about adding priming sugar, or brewing sugar, or whatever its called. That I didn’t know the name of the thing I knew I forgot about speaks volumes about how badly things go from here. After some hasty reading of what the sugar is and does and when it needs to be added I just put some dextrose sugar that I’d bought into the brew. The sugar is meant to carbonate your beer, but I know that my adding of sugar was wrong because – spoiler alert – its flat as hell. I’m still not sure what I did wrong and what I was meant to do instead but – another spoiler alert – I’m not going to brew again until I actually learn a bit more about the science of brewing.

So I waited another week or so and decided that it was time to bottle the beer up. Things only go downhill from here. It was an odd colour but at this point I was trying to remain optimistic – unlike one friend who said it looked like yogurt. As I later found out, this weird colour was sediment, lots and lots of sediment. There was near a centimeter of it at the bottom of each bottle once I left them to sit for a while.

Bottled beer

The next few steps happened over a couple of weeks but I’ll just run through them nice and quickly.

  • I decided to buy a water filter to get rid of the sediment, it took me ages to find a UK supplier of water filters, when it arrived I realised I only had one piece of PVC tubing.
  • I cut the tubing in half before realising the now two pieces were so short they were unworkable, the tubing was too narrow to fit the in and out fittings on the filter, I made a lot of mess and lost a couple of pints of beer to spillages.
  • I bought new tubing that would fit, the new tubing did fit but wouldn’t stay on the fitting, I couldn’t be bothered to buy new fittings that would solve the problem, I removed the screw top lid of the filter and tried filtering the beer by placing the ends of the tubing in the filter, I caused a tremendous mess and lost half the beer to spillages.
  • I realised the filtering process hadn’t worked and there was still sediment in the beer, I passed caring and just decided it was finished.

So, after all the stress and irritation was over it was time to give my second homebrew a taste. My apricot IPA is – in two words – not great. It’s so incredibly flat that it’s hard to appreciate anything else about it. It is fairly hoppy and the malt flavour is nicely balanced. The apricot is there in the flavour, but preferably it would be a lot more noticable. Its hard to tell from pictures but the colour has turned out alright. In terms of strength it doesn’t pack much of a punch. Using my new hydrometer I got a reading of 4.07% ABV. This beer certainly doesn’t taste disgusting by any means. But, it’s just so flat; it’s basically impossible to get past that fact.

I’ve tried to brute force my way through my ignorance of the brewing process, and that isn’t really working. So I’m going to take a break from homebrewing until I figure out what on earth I’m doing. Until then, I’m off for a beer. Cheers.

1001 Beers: 6. Adnams Ghost Ship

Ghost Ship

Adnams Ghost Ship

From: England

Brewed by: Adnams Brewery

First brewed: 2010

ABV: 4.5%

Obtained from: Tesco (Colchester, Essex)

Adnams Ghost Ship was the first beer I’ve had for this project so far that I’ve drunk with food. I have to say it went wonderfully with the fish and chips I had that evening. This was all thanks to the strong, dominating citrus taste of this IPA. The tastes of lemon and lime were obvious from the first sip and stayed with me the whole way through.

Another thing I noted about this beer was how it was nicely balanced on the palette. It wasn’t too heavy and it wasn’t too light. It reached a lovely middle ground where it could be enjoyed with a full flavour whilst at the same time not being overpowering. Ghost Ship is best had in full, long swigs that fill the mouth with all the intensity of the taste rather than in short, shallow sips.

Bottle Top

I like to close my eyes and envisage the optimal time and place to drink each beer I try. For this one I saw a pint of this in a garden (doesn’t have to be a beer garden) on a warm, balmy summer’s evening as the sun sets.

Scoring this beer was certainly a tricky one. Torn between a three and a four I’ve eventually opted to give Ghost Ship a strong three out of five.

3 out of 5

1001 Beers: 1. 13 Guns

13 Guns

13 Guns

From: England

Brewed by: Thwaites

First brewed: 2011

ABV: 5.5%

Obtained from: Wetherspoons (The LantokayStreet, Somerset)

This English tribute to an American twist on Indian Pale Ale (IPA) packs a serious punch. The flavour of the beer is very intense, you really don’t have to wait a moment to get the full body of the taste. This beer is like when someone gives you a very firm pat on the back, it’s not so intense as to knock you over but you will be a little taken aback.

In terms of the tastes and smells that hit you a few seconds after you take a sip there’s an obvious fruitiness to this American IPA. It feels tangy on the back of the tongue and has sweetness to it that I really enjoyed. The fruitiness stays with you after each sip, lingering on the tongue. This is a beer to savour in the evening somewhere warm and cosy.

A final thing I liked about this may at first seems inconsequential, but I felt it made a difference. The colour. Yeah it sounds silly but this beer had a lovely colour. It had beautiful amber glow when the light hit it and this made the experience ever more enjoyable.

The inaugural beer for this 1001 beers project was a lovely one. Certainly makes it onto the list of better IPA’s I’ve tried. I’d definitely drink 13 Guns again. Out of 5, it gets a 4.

4 out of 5