Wednesday, March 10, 2010

SR2: Cabin Fever IPA

You know it's going to be a good day when your phone reminds you to drink beer.
I got just that reminder this afternoon. It's not that I need to be reminded; rather, it was my reminder that SR2 was ready for consumption. And let me tell you, SR2, a.k.a. Cabin Fever IPA, clearly the best thing to come out of D.C.'s super shitty winter storms.
The beer pours a malty dark amber with a thick head. It's nice and hoppy on the nose, and bitter and a little bitey in the mouth. The finish could be better. I find it does linger much, but I could also describe that as "clean." When I compare it to SR1, Honkey's Pale Ale (below on the right), it's clearly a darker, yeastier beer, thanks in no small part to the toasted malt and lack of filtration (why bother filtering when the yeast bring their own flavor to the party). And the extra hops in Cabin Fever have resolved the cereal flavor issue I had with Honkey's.

All in all, not bad for a low alcohol IPA.
As I mentioned in my last post, the A.B.V. is somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 percent (which really is a surprise considering how well the malt level balances out the hops). I know I said I was going to make a bitter next, but I think I'm going to take a shot at another IPA. This time, I'll use Papazian's IPA recipe as a general template, but basically double the malt a double or triple the hops.
I don't know whether that will work -- or be drinkable -- but it should result in a beer closer to the traditional A.B.V. of IPAs. If 6 pounds of malt produces a 3 percent beer, 12 to 13 pounds of malt should produce at least a 6 percent beer, right? Besides, I've looked at other brewers recipes and all of them call for at least that much malt. Hell, for things like Scotch ales, some recipes call for 24 to 28 pounds of malt in a 5 gallon batch.
So I think it's time to take off the training wheels and give a go at my own recipe. At best, it'll be a full-powered IPA. At worst, it'll taste like the stuff I brewed at Shenandoah.
One more thing; I talked to the folks at Maryland Homebrew. My hop rhizomes should be in by the end of the month. With any luck, I'll have fresh hop buds by this fall.