Cold IPA - It Just Works Clone

>> Sunday, February 19, 2023

Today I'm brewing an experimental beer, a "Cold IPA". This is an emerging style that is still being defined, even in the commercial market. From the commercial examples I've tried, I would describe the style as hop-forward with firm bitterness and with a very clean and crisp fermentation profile. Grain bills are usually highly fermentable and closer to something you'd use for a crisp lager, employing things like flaked rice and steering clear of any crystal malts. 

You may ask yourself, what's the difference between a Cold IPA and an IPL (India Pale Lager). The answer is open to interpretation, but IMO I'd say the grain bill of an IPL is usually closer to that of an American IPA, whereas the grain bill of a Cold IPA is closer to that of an American Lager. So you could probably say an IPL is an IPA fermented with lager yeast (and slightly dialed down hop character to keep it balanced). A Cold IPA is closer to an American Lager with hopping rates on par with an American IPA and fermented with lager yeast or on the cold side of an ale yeast's range. Clear as mud? 

This beer is based on Green Cheek Beer Co.'s It Just Works and the commercial version is brewed with ale yeast. Here's the recipe as I'm brewing it today:

Target OG 1.059
Target FG: 1.007
IBU: 100+
AVB: 7.0

7.025# Weyermann Barke Pilsner Malt
3.0625# Flaked Rice
7.3ml HopShot (75 min) 
28g Pahto (HBC 682) (75 min)
4.66g BCAA
Yeast nutrient
37g Amarillo (Whirlpool)
1 Dropper of ALDC (Dry hop)
119g Ekuanot (Dry hop)
79g Mosaic (Dry hop)
40g Amarillo (Dry hop)
15ml Biofine at packaging - I've actually had better results lately with gelatin (my Biofine might be expired)

Mash at 148F, 90 min boil, chill to 64F then raise to 66F over two days and hold at 66F for an additional 2-3 days. 

On day 4-5, transfer to a purged vessel with dry hops and ALDC and hold at 68F until fermentation is complete. For my setup, I plan to use a purged keg with a dry hop screen fitted over the pickup tube and a spunding valve to regulate CO2 pressure. The ALDC isn't required, but it is intended to reduce diacetyl production when dry hopping. This will be my first time giving it a try.

Water Profile

Target Water Profile
 72.3  18.8  52  150.8  153.8 

I'm shooting for 150ppm each of Chloride and Sulfate for a 1:1 Chloride/Sulfate ratio, To 10 gallons of RO water, add:
  • 5.2g Gypsum
  • 5.0g Pickling salt
  • 7.2g Epsom salt
  • 5.6g Calcium chloride
Brewing Notes
No real issues other than I didn't realize my kettle ball valve was open when I was filling the kettle. As such, I probably lost about 4 oz of first runnings wort. Even with the target gravity exactly despite losing a little bit of wort on the garage floor. Clarity on this wort was amazing before adding the hops. As expected, the color is very light due to the pilsner and flaked rice grain bill.

Session Readings
Beginning mash pH  5.27
Ending mash pH  5.39 
1st running gravity  19.9 (1.080) 
Pre-Boil gravity  11.6 (1.045) 
Pre-Boil pH  5.40 
Post-Boil gravity  15 (1.059)
Post-Boil pH  5.32

Update 2/25/2023
I’m transferring to a keg today and adding the ALDC and dry hops. Technically day 5 was yesterday, but fermentation was a little slow to start, so I think I’m still within the 4-5 day window specified in the recipe. I realized my dry hop dip tube filter is in use, so I’m using the floating dip tube assembly that came with my Kegmenter instead. I’m planning on dry hopping for a maximum of 6 days.

Update 4/13/2023
I forgot to post an update when I kegged this beer. I really dig the way it turned out. It's very drinkable, especially for ~7%. Hop flavor and aroma are on par with a modern American IPA. Bitterness is definitely firm, but not harsh, so I'm really digging the water profile. All transfers were done closed into purged vessels so as to minimize O2 exposure. The hop character has held up really well. 
The only hiccup I had was with the floating dip tube. It clogged, so I probably lost half a gallon of beer in the keg (secondary). Next time I'll try the dip tube screen and see if it works better. Also, I tried using gelatin rather than Biofine and clarity is decent, but not great compared to most of my lagers. Next time I'll probably go with Biofine and see how it does.