A new and different IPA, plus some unsolicited beer philosophy

Well this one will be sorta smash-like, in that I’m not using any specialty malts, just base malts.  It’s going to have 6 lbs pilsner malt, 6 lbs golden promise, and 2 lbs Munich malt, 14 lbs total.  That’s a little bit bigger than I usually make my beers, but hey, I’m experimenting, so I can do what I want!

Here’s what I planned to do with the hops:

0.5 oz magnum at 60
0.25 oz each magnum, bravo at 15
0.5 oz tettnanger at 15
0.25 oz each magnum, bravo at 10
0.5 oz tettnanger at 10
0.25 oz each magnum, bravo at 5
0.5 oz tettnanger at 5
0.5 oz each magnum, bravo at FO
2 oz tettnanger at FO

Here’s my thinking: I’ve seen some cases where other people have experimented with magnum hops NOT solely at the 60 minute mark, but as late additions, flameout additions, or even dry hopping..  None have had anything bad to say about their beers, so I figure I’ll step outside the box a little and try some magnum late in the boil.  Now I’m also going with a little bravo, which I already know works fine at any stage of the boil.  If you recall that far back, my Munich / Bravo SMaSH had half an ounce bravo early, 1 oz at 5 minutes, and two ounces at flameout, and that’s one of my favorite SMaSH beers I’ve ever made.  Purely delicious.  So to me, that’s a tried and true hop.  It should offer support to the magnum, which is a little unknown, but I have no worries.  Then I’m tossing in tettnanger, in approximately double-ish the amounts of the two higher AA hops.  I really don’t know what I’m going to get out of this, but I bet it will be tasty!  Well of course I think it will be tasty, or I wouldn’t bother making it!

Oh, and probably US-05 yeast.

In the near future I’m going to be brewing with some Irish Ale yeast, and some 3711.  I think the 3711 will go with the next weird extract experimental two gallon batch I’m planning.  Can’t wait to see how EXTRA DARK extract goes with 3711!  Hey, the last one worked out great, so who knows!

Now also in the spirit of trying new things, if this one comes out really good, I may have to try a smash beer with all magnum.  I know one guy who’s tried just such a beast, and it came out tasty beer.  Who says you can’t use magnum late?  Sure, it’s a great bittering hop, and I have no plans to take anything away from it in that respect.  But is it being unfairly relegated to the background, when it deserves some time center stage?

Well let me just say this – if it’s generic, commonly spewed forth advice that seems regurgitated and taken for granted “just because,” then I’m willing to challenge that notion.  I’m already challenging the standard advice with extracts, and now maybe even a little bit with magnum, and maybe a lot more with magnum soon.  I encourage everyone to do the same, challenge the norms, try stuff that maybe doesn’t seem like the obvious thing to do.

And when it comes to giving out advice… Yeah, you can always say “sanitation is important,” and you’ll never be wrong.  But if you say “don’t use amber extract, use light, then add specialty grains bla bla bla…”  Have you actually TRIED amber or dark extract?  Is this advice universal and unchanging, etched in stone from cradle to grave?

I say no.  There are times when amber or dark extract will be perfect for the beer you intend to make.  If that’s the case, just use them!  Taint no big deal!!  Now other times, it may be better to use light extract, and adjust the finer points of your beer with specialty grains.  There’s no doubt that there are many times when this advice is also the best advice, so again, I’m not trying to take away from this approach.  But there should be a reason why the light extract+steeping grains is superior in the particular instance at hand.  Conversely, if amber (or even dark) extract is appropriate for the beer at hand, at least try it once.

I recently had an email exchange with a representative from Munton’s about their extracts.  While he didn’t hand over the manufacturer’s specifications to me, he did indicate that the notion that extracts are “chock full of crystal malt” was simply not the case.  If they were, then extracts would not have the versatility that they do.  instead, they would consistently produce cloying, overly sweet, overly thick beer (just like if you put too much crystal malt in a beer!  Imagine that!).  And of course he believes that the quality of extracts (particularly Munton’s, lol) is very high, and the quality of beer you can make from extracts is also very high, including for the amber and dark or extra dark varieties.  I tend to agree, at least so far.  I know I’m brewing all grain now, but my extract brews  were very tasty too.  That’s part of why I keep experimenting with small extract batches.

So anyway, I’ve digressed into pointless rambling.  I tend to do that sometimes.  Make of it what you will, or just grab a beer and go watch reruns of your favorite TV show (as a means of ignoring my ramblings)*.

Anyway, I need a beer.  Cheers!

*wouldn’t be the first time that happened, lol

EDIT: Brewed 11-23-13

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