Remember back in late 2015/early 2016 when the internet was all “Ewww gross, why is that IPA so murky” and some of us were all “Stop being so butthurt, its good AF”?
Well, are those days are long gone?
Of course not!
Every brewery in the world is brewing NEIPA, but it is so widely available that it seems like everyone is, at least around me anyway. But now that so many breweries are doing it and doing it well that its difficult to stand out within the style. You could go the Milkshake/Lactose/Fruit route, the Oat Milk route, or whatever your little heart desires. Or you could just brew beers like HopWards and sate your (well actually my) desires for aromatic drinkable beers, I don’t even care what you do, really.
A while back Jesse from Age Old Brewing Candi reached out to me about trying out some of his hand made Candi sugar, how could I say no? He sent me a couple of samples he had including his Grapefruit candy sugar which I thought would be a perfect match in NEIPA and fit the mold for some variation on the style. I realize this isn’t a super exotic experimental beer but I like simplicity and some subtle variation here and there.
Jesse infuses his candi sugars with various fruits and spices, all done by hand, seemingly in the Appalachian mountains. I don’t know, but that’s what it looks like to me. I tasted the grapefruit sugar before brewing with it and can confirm this is high quality, flavorful stuff.
I went with a grist of Pale Malt and Spelt since I had some Bob’s Red Mill Rolled Spelt on hand, in an 80/20 ratio. Jesse told me all his products are 100% fermentable so I wanted to be sure that the candi sugar would dry, or thin the beer out too much. Though %20 Spelt is a fair bit, I bumped the mash temp up to 156F in hopes of combating that further. Other than that all things were pretty standard on this one, so I’ll keep the ramblings short and sweet. I added the candi sugar at flameout, added an offensive amount of hops in the whirlpool and dry hop and then drank the hell out of the keg.
Below are some rambling tasting notes for “Arsenal Fan On a String”, with the recipe below.
As you can see it’s your classic straw yellow, hazy, mess of a beer. Wispy, soapy, bright white head that lingers throughout with lacing on the glass reminiscent of sea foam at the Jersey shore, minus the sewage. Aromatics are much lighter than normal, but the grapefruit comes through really well. It’s not a smack you in the face hop aroma but a nice solid blend of the Grapefruit and some subtle lemon, mango things bouncing about.
The first sip gives you that unmistakable nutty spelt character that’s then smacked away by light hop bitterness. The body is a little thinner than I would have liked, but that results in a super quick beer that shoots across your tongue super quick. Once again the hop character is light but the grapefruit notes I got from tasting the candi sugar carries through, it is subtle but adds to the complexity.
Overall this beer drinks good, but something weird happened to all that late and dry hop character. In a way that’s a good thing, because the candi sugar is more prominent as opposed to a supporting note. But I wanted something bigger on the hops with an underlying grapefruit candi sugar background. I think with the beer drying out as much as it did things really thinned out a little more than I wanted, or expected. Maybe the mash temp was off or I need to bump up the Spelt for any subsequent batches.
However, I think if I used flaked oats, an ingredient that I would normally use in a beer like this, I could have combatted that a little easier. Or at least it would have been a better test for the candi sugar being that I am very familiar with that 80/20 Pale Malt/Oats grist. All that said, this beer was quite good, and was one I was able to slam back 3-4 without blinking. A highly drinkable beer, something which I am always looking for and happily would have on tap again. I am excited to use more of Jesse’s candi sugars, possibly in some small experimental batches at Kelly Green Brewing Co.
|Final Volume||Original Gravity||Final Gravity||ABV||IBU|
|10 lb||Viking Pale Malt||79.5%|
|2 lb 8 oz||Bob’s Red Mill Spelt||20.5%|
|1 lb||Age Old Grapefruit Candi Sugar|
|13 lb 8 oz||Total|
|0.25 oz||CTZ||First Wort Hop||60 min|
|1.0 oz||Cascade||Boil||5 min|
|1.0 oz||Centennial||Boil||5 min|
|1.0 oz||Simcoe||Boil||5 min|
|2.0 oz||Cascade||Whirlpool||20 min|
|2.0 oz||Centennial||Whirlpool||20 min|
|1.0 oz||Cascade||Dry Hop||Add during the second day of active fermentation|
|1.0 oz||Centennial||Dry Hop||Add during the second day of active fermentation|
|1.0 oz||Simcoe||Dry Hop||Add during the second day of active fermentation|
|1.0 oz||Cascade||Dry Hop||Add for 3 days after reaching FG|
|1.0 oz||Centennial||Dry Hop||Add for 3 days after reaching FG|
|1.0 oz||Simcoe||Dry Hop||Add for 3 days after reaching FG|
Wyeast 1318 – London Ale III – 1L Starter
- Single infusion rest at 156F for 60 minutes
- Boil and add hops
- Chill to 65F
- Pitch healthy yeast into oxygenated wort and ferment at 65F for 6 days, then bump to 70F until gravity is stable
- First dry hop on day 2 of active fermentation
- Second dry hop when fermentation complete
- 30 seconds of pure O2
- Cherry Hill, NJ Tap water. Mash pH 5.32
- Water Profile ~2:1 Chloride:Sulfate (132ppm Ca, 19ppm Mg, 7ppm Na, 147ppm Cl, 74ppm SO4).
- Some lactic acid was used to lower the mash pH, your water profile may vary.