Black Session IPA (Using Cold Steeped Grains)

What the shit is a black session India pale ale? The only thing saving this for making no sense is putting the word black before session. Though the Cascadian Dark Ale is firmly entrenched in the Pacific Northwest, that doesn’t stop us in the southern part of the U.S. newbs calling it the ultimate juxtaposition: “black India pale ale”. Yet here we are, slowly inventing styles with beers like the soon-to-be red Gose or the black blonde ale.

The goal for this invented style, was to make an IPA that happened to be black in color. To do this the focus needs to be on clean bitterness, yet that can clash with the ashy flavor dark grains can impart. Those ashy/acrid flavors can be reduced a lot by adding them after the mash has converted, or in my case, added after fermentation has started. The only possible “downside” to adding them after fermentation has started is maybe a contamination issue…so pasteurization for the win.

Here is what I did for the cold steep process:

1. Put 4 cups of carbon filtered water in a bowl and added 10 oz of dark grains (5 oz of carafe III and 5 oz of crystal 80L).
2. Put the bowl in the fridge for 24 hours (wrapped in Saran wrap even though that may not be necessary).
3. 24 hours later, I extracted the “liquid” from the grain by use of a muslin bag.
4. Heat the extracted liquid to 170F for about 10 minutes.
5. Cooled to room temperature.
6. Added it to the fermenter.

It’s a pretty simple process and looks pretty rad when being added as well.


Batch Size: 2 Gallons
OG: 1.041
SRM: 36
Est ABV: 4%
IBU: 67
Boil Time: 55 Min

2.25 lbs (59.7%) – 2-Row
8.0 oz (13.3%) – Flaked Oats
5.0 oz (8.5%) – Crystal 60L (Added 24 hours after brew day)
5.0 oz (8.5%) – Carafa III (Added 24 hours after brew day)
3.0 oz (5.0%) – Aromatic Malt
3.0 oz (5.0%) – Acid Malt

60 Min @ 150F

.15 oz Warrior (15.8% AA) @ 45 Min
.20 oz Simcoe (17.7% AA) @ 15 Min

Hop Stand (200-180F)
.15 oz Simcoe (17.7% AA) @ 20 Min
.15 oz Columbus (10.0% AA) @ 20 Min
.15 oz Centennial (8.0% AA) @ 20 Min
.20 oz Simcoe (17.7% AA) @ 5 Min
.20 oz Columbus (10.0% AA) @ 5 Min
.20 oz Centennial (8.0% AA) @ 5 Min

Dry Hop (60F)
.60 oz Simcoe (17.7% AA) @ Kegging
.50 oz Columbus (10.0% AA) @ Kegging
.50 oz Centennial (8.0% AA) @ Kegging

Wyeast 1318 London Ale III

Here’s what went down:

Brewed 12/10/16

Added 1g of Calcium Chloride to the mash. Did a batch sparge. Collected 1.032 pre-boil, 1.041 post-boil.

12/11/16: Added the cold steeped dark grains.

12/20/16: Kegged and added the dry hops. Kept at 65F.

12/27/16: Put the keg in the cold chest freezer and put 3 PSI on it (trying a way of carbonating where it’s slower).

1/5/17: Raised the PSI to 6.

1/12/17 Tasting notes:

Really solid beer. It has a nice aroma and minimum bitterness. It’s very reminiscent a “regular” IPA, but just dark. I would maybe tweak the hops a little as there is a slight perfume thing going on, but I think that’s just the hops I used. However, I’m not sure the big citrus hops (citra, sorachi ace, chinook, cascade) would work though either. More experiments are needed there. This, however, is the best dark hoppy beer I’ve made with great balance, and very drinkable.

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