Tuesday 17 January 2012

Brew day recap: Magnitude 'Hop! Hop!' IPA

Another weekend, another brew day. Keen and caffeine-fuelled, we set about further cutting our teeth on all-grain home brewing with a hoppy IPA. We figured this would be a good chance to try out some different hop addition methods, as our efforts to date had involved primarily adding hops during the boil. We also figured that a hoppy beer would provide a great opportunity to pay tribute to one of our favourite TV characters: the eloquent wordsmith Magnitude from NBC's Community. For the uninitiated, Magnitude is a recurring character whose catchphrase 'Pop! Pop!' makes him a hit at parties, not to mention a cunning debater. Given our penchant for rhymes, the transition from 'Pop! Pop!' to 'Hop! Hop!' was both obvious and (in our minds) outstanding.

For this brew, we wanted to try to up the hop magnitude (sorry), and so conceived a recipe involving hefty doses of Amarillo (added in the initial stages for bittering) and Cascade (added in the later stages for aroma) hops. First, we tried mash hopping with some of the Amarillo, adding the hops in with the grain used to produce the sugary starting liquid, or wort. We thought this could give our beer some extra kick, bitterness-wise, but then (after already doing it) read that you need to add a lot of hops to really make a difference. Still, we weren't too discouraged, as we read that it can still help with 'overall balance and character.' Next, we tried first-wort hopping, in which that same sugary starting liquid is added directly to hops as it's drawn from the grain, rather than adding hops to the liquid later on. Think of it like adding hot water to tea instead of adding tea to hot water; the former method encourages greater infusion throughout the liquid.      

First-wort hopping in progress. This is one of the few instances when a layer of green goo is a good thing.
This was our first experience with Amarillo hops, which we found to have a really nice citrus character. Later on, in the boiling stage (which is initiated after all of the wort has been collected from the grains), we added the Cascade at specific intervals, with the objective of giving our beer a nice, citrus aroma. (Citrus: so hot right now.) In the spirit of experimentation, we're also planning to try dry-hopping, which entails adding more hops later on during fermentation. This may seem either excessive or perfectly reasonable, depending on your opinion, but if we were going to name this beer after Magnitude, we were going to go all-out. 'Hop! Hop!'


  1. Can't wait for the Leonard Malt Liquor or Abed Ale!

  2. Solid suggestions! Malt liquor really suits Leonard...

    I could also go for some Winger Forehead Hefe.