Tasting Notes: Amarillo-Cascade Hefe IPA

A couple of months ago, I had some excess hefeweizen yeast lying around that I had harvested from a recent hefeweizen. I also had a lot of Amarillo and Cascade hops lying around. I knew that I wanted to get another IPA in the pipeline to put on tap, but I also wanted to try something new. This one was a fun one to research as there were only a couple of examples that I could find of this being done – that is, until I found an example of nearly exactly what I had been planning on the Mad Fermentationist.

I think Michael Tonsmeire is the homebrewing equivalent of The Simpsons – You think you have a novel idea, and it turns out that he’s done it!

This has happened for several recipes that I’ve put together, although it’s probably for the best, as I’m sure the extra information has resulted in a better final product than if I had attempted it blindly. My recipe was somewhat different from his. The details of the brew day are in a previous post that you can see here. I wanted to push my beer a bit more into IPA territory and hopped it accordingly.

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What a nice looking beer!

I dry hopped in the keg for a week, carbed, and sat down to taste the beer the other day.

Appearance: Dark gold, with a white frothy, lasting head. Cloudy, like a hefeweizen should be.

Smell: Light pineapple, with some stone fruit (peach, mango). Esters from hefe yeast play a supporting role. Just a touch of hoppy “dankness.” When first poured, there were pleasant hints of lemon, pepper, and freshly cut foliage.

Taste: Fruity followed by waves of gentle bitterness. Brighter piney notes, as well. Otherwise, a little grain flavor but generally crisp and clean. Nice blending of the most appealing attributes of an IPA and hefeweizen.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, smooth, with some bubbly bite. Refreshing and satisfying.

I’ll definitely be making this again, although perhaps with different hop combinations to see how that changes the resulting beer.

This was quite a bit fruitier than I was expecting – I think there must be some interplay between the hop and yeast profile to produce these flavors (peach/mango/pineapple) that aren’t nearly as obvious with either cascade/amarillo or hefe yeast alone. Amarillo is a fruit hop, but without knowing what hops went into the beer I would have expected that this beer was brewed with a very fruity hop such as Citra or Galaxy. This keg is going quickly, so I’ll have to brew another one again soon!

 

Update 2015: I rebrewed this and got a lot more clove/4VG than the previous iteration. I’m not sure why that might be, but looking at my notes here, I bet it had to do with the pitching rate. This was a large amount of WLP300 slurry from a hefeweizen for the first iteration but the second iteration was just a tube of WLP300. I’m guessing the extra strain of the underpitching resulted in the clove flavor – something I appreciate and target in a standard hefeweizen, but I don’t appreciate in this recipe. So next time, I’ll be sure to pitch a hefty starter to prevent that clove flavor from rearing its head, and I might reduce the % of wheat as well for the same reason…

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