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Help with IPA Experiment

I’ve been doing a few all grain batches, and I’m ready to do some experimenting. I was intrigued by the idea of doing an American IPA with pilsner malt. I checked around on this forum and several people have done this with good results, so I’m sold on that idea.

I also think I need to learn more about different hops, and what they taste and smell like. So, my idea is to mash grain for a five gallon batch, then split that into two batches that I’ll boil and ferment separately. To get a good idea of the effect of the different hops, I’m going to use a single variety for each 1/2 batch and shoot for the same IBUs.

So, here’s the plan. I’d love to hear what people think and what suggestions you might have, particularly if you have ideas for other hop varieties.

Grain Bill OG: 1.067
12 lbs German Pilsner
1 lb Crystal 60

Hops (remember hops are for a 2.5 gallon batch) Both should be about 64 IBU.

Batch #1
1/2 oz Simcoe at 60
1/2 oz Simcoe at 15
1/4 oz Simcoe dry hop

Batch #2
3/4 oz Amarillo at 60
3/4 oz Amarillo at 15
1/4 oz Amarillo dry hop.

Probably use either 1056 or Ringwood yeast.

Thanks in advance!

Be sure to do a 90 minute boil with the Pilsner malt to drive off the DMS.

Assuming those are essentially 2.5 gallon batches, I would increase the late hops/dry hops somewhat. I think a 1 oz dry hop and between 1-1.5 oz in the last 15 minutes would be pretty reasonable. I guess it depends on how you like your IPAs but I use 3oz in a last 15 min and a 2.5 oz dry hop in a 6 gallon batch. I’ve done pretty well in competitions using those basic quantities. Just adjust your 60 min. addition to compensate for the late hop IBU’s but keep the late quantities the same if you are looking to compare two varieties.

+1, a quarter ounce dry hop probably won’t give you much aroma.

Use 1056 yeast. If the goal is to get a sense of the hops you’ll want a nice, clean, neutral yeast. Also, make sure you stir your wort throughly after mashing and before splitting into two. Otherwise you may have a situation where you have two worts, but significantly different gravities which is going to affect hop perception and balance. I like what you are doing here though.

Great advice, thanks.

I think I’ll go with:

Batch #1
1/2 oz Simcoe @ 60
3/4 oz Simcoe @ 15
3/4 oz Simcoe dry hop

Batch #2
3/4 oz Amarillo @ 60
1 oz Amarillo @ 15
1 oz Amarillo dry hop

and 1056 it is. A good point that it’s cleaner and will showcase the hops better.

Thanks guys!

I would use the same weight of dryhop in each batch - aroma is not dependent on alpha.

I did a similar experiment about months ago. Split a 5 gallon batch into two 2.5 gallon boils after mash. Same hops for both (simcoe and cascade). I hopped both to the same IBU, but one was traditional 60-15min additions and the other was all late additions (15,10,5,1min). I learned a few things. 1) As much as I like Simcoe and Cascade by themselves, I’m not a fan of them together. 2) IMO a good IPA needs both an early bittering addition and heavy late additions. 3) Dry hopping for an IPA is necessary. The beers I made were just ok. The normal addition beer had some nice bitterness but little to no aroma. The all late addition beer had nice aroma, but lacked the bitterness from early additions and both lacked a lot from not dry hopping.

I like running experiments and applaud you for doing the same. I also like the idea of making beers with a simple grain bill or only hopped with one type of hop. As a new brewer (1year now) I think it’s important to understand what I’m working with before I get to crazy with complex recipes.

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