Wednesday 15 February 2012

Of Hops and Hummingbirds

Following almost two weeks of dry-hopping, our Magnitude IPA (which we've now started calling Darkside IPA, as we evidently have the attention spans of hummingbirds) was ready to be kegged, and soon thereafter, sampled. The transfer to the keg was in itself eventful. Not paying close enough attention, I stuck the end of the racking cane into the hoppy turb layer at the bottom of the carboy, drawing a good amount of hop detritus (green goo) into the transfer tube before I could correct the error. The first little bit flowed okay... but then the detritus plugged the tube. Drew bravely attempted to unplug the line by manual siphoning - think of someone siphoning gas from a car, then replace the car with a carboy full of beer, and you get the idea - and was nearly rewarded with a mouthful of hoppy green goo. While somewhat disappointed that the most comedic (at least from my standpoint) outcome didn't play out, the rest of the transfer went smoothly, and we proceeded to cool the keg overnight and carbonate the IPA the following day.

Turb strata at the bottom of the carboy... as seen by Predator.

Of course, cleaning the carboy afterward was necessary... and kind of gnarly.

Goo riddance. 

Then came time for the initial tasting. The Magnitude poured a beautiful (but we might be biased) amber, with a substantial and persistent head. The hop aroma was bang-on what we'd hoped for using four ounces of Cascade to dry hop - predominantly citrus with minor notes of pine resin. There was some bite up front from the Amarillo, but we were surprised by how well the maltiness stood up to it, as our theoretical IBUs (International Bittering Units) were pretty high. The taste then transitioned to citrus, with a biscuit finish. This was our first brew using Victory malt, and so we hadn't really encountered this kind of cookie/biscuit flavour before, but it was kind of nice. The body was a bit heavy, but not unpleasant.

Can you guess which was the first one poured from the keg?

Overall, we're pretty happy with how the Magnitude IPA turned out, and it gives us a great foundation upon which to further develop our recipe. Personally, I'd like to make it more of a hop bomb up front, but still retain some of that nice biscuit flavour. With all of the possible combinations of grains and hops, it makes you wonder how any of the established breweries ever decide upon a 'final' recipe; but I guess figuring that out it is all part of the fun.

(Sorry for the Doogie Howser ending. It just kind of happened.)


  1. I always liked how Doogie would stop typing at the end of a line, to allow the camera to pan down to the beginning of the next. Almost like he knew he was being filmed!

    Worst. Comment. Ever.

  2. I love biscuits and use Cascade all the time when doing my dishes.

  3. Shawn: Totally forgot about the pause at the end of each line! I only remember the life lessons learned and awesome music.

  4. Bucks: Thanks for sharing... I think. I thought you loved frozen pizzas?