Last week we brewed one of our favorite beers that we have brewed here in El Salvador. We brewed another batch of our California IPA.
It is a balance of fresh hoppiness, well rounded mouthfeel and some complex malt flavors. It is coming along pretty well. it has reached its final gravity by day five of fermentation.
The Brew Revolution California IPA takes the ideas of fresh, floral and fragrant hop flavors and aromas and balances it against a more complex malt bill to produce a more roundly balanced but still heavily hopped IPA. It is an American style hop forward India Pale Ale that brings in a little Belgian influence as well. We have brewed this beer the most times by far and we are very near to perfecting the recipe. We have now brewed this same basic beer 7 times while perfecting the recipe for the flavors we want and learning how to make a kick ass hop-forward IPA that is not mouth-frowningly bitter. The water in El Salvador presents many unique challenges. It is both VERY hard and loaded with minerals and temporary hardness. Most people would just give up and use reverse osmosis water and then add back in brewing salts.
Luckily for you we are not most people.
We believe in brewing true to your terroir. We live and brew beer in El Salvador. We want to reflect the terroir and flavors of El Salvador. We are bringing our California and American style craft beer and food concepts and using Belgian beer styles and processes, but primarily Brew Revolution Beer is designed to be an expression of our love for our old home of California, our favorite beer styles from Belgium and our love of our new home of El Salvador. So instead of taking the easy route and using bottled or RO water with zero minerals we took the artisan approach and we are figuring out exactly how to brew kick ass beers that reflect the amazing volcanic mineral content of the water and the unique flavors. Of course we are filtering out all of the chlorine, chloramines, pests and all negative things with dual stage activated charcoal and going down to .05 micron level 4 filters. But we are not stripping the water of its soul and character. We are using that character and adapting our brewing to the water like the master brewers of old. It’s far more work but the results have been pretty fantastic.
What does all this mean for the beer? It means that we have tested the water and found through that and brewing so much beer here that the water has some very unique and excellent properties. it is naturally well suited for India Pale Ales, darker beers like stouts and porters and delivers a fantastic minerally, effervescent crisp flavor palate. Once we learned how to brew WITH the water rather than despite the water we discovered that the apparent bitterness is much higher than the measured bitterness. This has caused us to radically change our original IPA recipe. (all our recipes actually) We had to completely rethink the entire hop addition schedule and process. We rearranged the order of which hops were added when, we tripled the total hop addition schedule and utilized some new hop techniques. The results were really excellent. The last two California IPAs we brewed were the favorite beers by far at the Craft Beer Tasting event we participated in in December here in El Salvador.
So here were the flavor goals for this California IPA:
- Make a true American Style IPA with loads of hop flavors and aromas using a coordinated but complex hop bill
- Focus on a balance of citrus and mineral flavors from the hops
- Use Belgian style candi sugar to bring a bit of caramel notes to the middle and add some color
- Use Belgian special malts to bring a more malty flavor and that special belgian something
- Balance the hop flavors and bitterness with the slightly more caramelly and complex malt flavors
- Deliver a long, pleasant after taste that improves as it goes
- Balance the hop bitterness with the mineral notes of the El Salvador water profile
- Make a clean, tasty IPA that is tropicalized and Salvadorized to rock here
Did we hit those? Well time will tell, it is still only in day 6 of primary fermentation. Tomorrow we dry hop it to give it that sexy boost a awesome IPA needs. Then in another 7 days we package the beer and rest it for another 2 weeks. THEN we finally get to taste it. But the wort sure tastes and smells awesome now!