Jumping on the DIPA Bandwagon

When we decided we wanted to get on the DIPA bandwagon (as some on social media are calling it) we thought we’d undertake an exercise we first saw on one of our many trips to Manchester.

We’d popped in to Beermoth for a few drinks with Rosie, then our distributror at Glassworks and bumped into the guys from Cloudwater who were testing lagers, some 50 or 60 of them to decide what they did and didn’t like about them. It immediately struck me as a brilliant exercise, after all, if you don’t know what you do (or don’t) like in a beer, how on earth do you shoot for (or avoid) that goal in a beer.

So, three of us (Robin and I were joined by Jo Downing from The Pantiles Tap, no strangers to brilliant beer themselves) sat in the evening sun with a makeshift (craft) table out of a pallet and four casks and go through some 10 DIPAs.

We decided we liked a degree of bitterness (just as well really), and the juicy fruits but not excessive bitterness or the syrupiness associated with some DIPAs. We also agreed on a colour which we all felt was important. Out of interest, of the ten we tried the top three were: (in no particular order of merit) Buxton Nth Cloud, Stone Ruination 2.0 and Cloudwater DIPA v3. I already had a good idea of the malt bill, just pale with a bit of Munich. Hop-wise I’ve always liked first wort hopping but we had to stop doing it when we came to Tunbridge Wells as, partly because the element used to take four hours to come to the boil, the beers were over bitter for their style. Columbus is one of my favourite hops so we used that first up and combinations of Simcoe, Citra and Amarillo throughout the boil before putting some Citra and Amarillo in the hop back.

We agonised over yeast for a long while, I love the Vermont ale yeast Cloudwater use in some of their beers and we also looked at WLP001 but in the end we plumped for US-05; we know what you’re going to get with it and, in the end, it dried out nicely.

Dry hop wise, we used a combination of Equinox, EXP431 and Citra which really seems to have enhanced the juiciness of the beer. So, as I write this the beer has just hit terminal gravity and is chilling before carbonation and kegging next week. I’ve a glass of it in my hand and there’s a balanced bitterness and a fairly sizeable mango hit, lots of tropical fruit and, fairly obviously, it’s strong. It’ll go into keg next week where we’ll have a sneak preview at Birmingham Beer Bash before the official launch the following week.