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.


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…

Tasting Notes: Amarillo Coffee Blonde

Now that I’m nearly through the keg I figured it’s time to post some tasting notes for my Amarillo Coffee Blonde that I brewed a while ago. It’s not quite as coffee-y as I wanted but it’s still a mighty tasty beer so here are my thoughts broken down by sense:

Appearance: Golden with a fluffy white head and gorgeous lacing. Slightly hazy, maybe from oils from the beans.

Smell: Lighter peachy aroma with undertones of toffee/caramel and some spiciness. Presumably the fruitiness is from the Amarillo while the toffee/caramel is from the coffee, although if I recall correctly Stumptown did mention “peach” as one of the descriptions of the coffee. I’ve never tasted peach in my coffee, but maybe that’s the source here…

I do think that the coffee’s largest contribution to the beer is in the smell, at least in this beer. Switching coffees could also probably make this beer entirely different – I’d imagine most would be good choices, but I think it would be challenging to make this exact beer again without these exact beans.

Taste: A very slight roasty nutty flavor reminiscent of toasted almonds. Again, the coffee is definitely there but not as forward as I’d have expected or hoped.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Coats the mouth a bit, but it’s definitely drinkable.

Overall: I wish it had a bit more coffee and was a bit hoppier. I’ll try this again and back off on the crystal, and double the coffee. I’ll also probably dry hop with 0.5oz amarillo hops just to see how much I can add on the hoppy side without overwhelming the coffee.20141214_222647



Edit 2016: I rebrewed this in Dec 2015 but with a small amount of amarillo as a dry hop. I would highly recommend NOT doing this. It clashes with the coffee in a bad way. It’s still a perfectly fine beer, but not nearly as tasty as version 1.