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Confession from a Non-Hophead (Black IPA)

I prefer Porters and Stouts and generally steer clear of anything “hop-forward” or “IPA”.

That being said, while I am finishing up brewing 1 gal. batches before moving on to 5 gal. full volume boils, I figured I’d get adventurous and try something I normally wouldn’t. The Black IPA sounded intriguing- maybe the “black” would offset the “IPA”.

After racking to the bottling bucket, I took a whiff…definite hop cloud. Feeling as though I made a huge mistake, (what was I thinking- it had “IPA” in the name!!), I figured I’d bottle it up anyway and finish what I started.

After bottle conditioning and 2 days in the fridge, I almost dreaded opening a bottle but figured I’d follow through and get it over with. I took a small sip and prepared for the hop hammer’s bitterness to assault my tongue but it didn’t happen. Instead of the bitterness, I got the floral, citrus, and piney notes along with a decent malty backbone that complimented it well. I actually liked this “hoppy” beer…a LOT!

I will definitely brew this again in the 5 gal. kit. Though I might reduce the bittering hops about 20% to offset the hop utilization from a full volume boil.

Does anyone have any recommendations for any other beers that are hoppy, yet not bitter?

[quote=“Helvetica”]I took a small sip and prepared for the hop hammer’s bitterness to assault my tongue but it didn’t happen. Instead of the bitterness, I got the floral, citrus, and piney notes along with a decent malty backbone that complimented it well. I actually liked this “hoppy” beer…a LOT!
[/quote]
You’ve just described the type of IPA that I like best. Smooth bitterness that doesn’t kick you in the teeth, but very aromatic with no more than a touch of pine/resin that balances well with the other components.

Sorry, I don’t brew from kits, so don’t have any to recommend. But here are some of my general rules to live by when designing such a recipe:

  1. Pick a smooth bittering hop such as Magnum.
  2. Design your recipe with the late edition hops in mind first
  3. Add just enough 60 minute hops to achieve the IBU target you’re aiming for.

It’s all about balance and/or harmony for me.

[quote]1) Pick a smooth bittering hop such as Magnum.
2) Design your recipe with the late edition hops in mind first
3) Add just enough 60 minute hops to achieve the IBU target you’re aiming for.
[/quote]

Thanks. Part of the fun of this hobby is discovering new beers/styles you didn’t know about or didn’t think you’d like. :cheers:

I was pleasantly surprised by the black IPA as well. Made it for my daughter in law but found I liked it as did my sons who mostly drink malt forward beers.

Try Denny’s Lake Waldo Amber Ale

this is commercial brew but westbrook IPA in the green can is amazing…one of my first “damn, i do like hoppy beers” beers

Thanks, guys. :cheers:

Westbrook’s IPA is more on the bitter end though IMO. My dad also enjoys the same types of beers you have mentioned – lower levels of bitterness with excellent hop flavor and aroma. I’ve been working on a house pale ale for years now in an attempt to make just what you’ve described. I’ve had a lot of luck with fwh, where the bitterness you get isn’t as intense — it’s softer. I will agree that magnum is an excellent hop choice for bittering.

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