Red IPA (Herkules, Target, and Crystal Hops)

Red IPA, like a black IPA isn’t really a thing. These different color styles should be called something more like black hoppy ale or red hoppy ale as the word “pale” with a dark color doesn’t make sense, yet here we are. I have made a lot of different IPAs as they are my favorite styles, but I have stuck primarily to session IPAs and American IPAs, though I have made black IPAs, Brett IPAs (not in the BJCP guidelines), and a New England-style IPA (also not in the guidelines…yet).

There are different kinds of IPAs I haven’t made yet, some of which include (and just might be brewed sometime this year) a double IPA, white IPA, and an English IPA. Then I may get to the Belgian IPA (but try and make this as less phenolic as possible) and Brown IPA at some point, but I guess I sorta did a brown IPA with my Arrogant Bastard clone.

The hops for this were chosen due to what smelled good at the home brew shop. I really like doing that because I can experiment, and if they smell good, I know they should be good to use. I am hesitant to order hops online because I don’t know how many packets will be fresh and I imagine I’d have to over order constantly to be safe, and I don’t want to do that. I am limited to what the shop has though, so there is that.

The descriptions for the hops I used are as follows:

Herkules: Bred at the Hop Research Center in Hüll, Germany, Herkules imparts robust, hoppy flavors. Aroma: Specific aroma descriptors include robust hoppy with some citrus and melon.

Target: A flexible hop. Aroma: Specific aroma descriptors include fresh green sage, spicy and peppery, and hints of citrus marmalade.

Crystal: Bred in 1983 by the USDA, Crystal is a triploid aroma-type cultivar from Hallertau Mittelfrüh, Cascade, Brewer’s Gold and Early Green. It is primarily grown in Oregon and has become increasingly popular among craft brewers due to its versatility in a variety of beer styles. Aroma: Specific aroma descriptors include woody and green.

The malt for this was targeted to turn the beer red more than anything. I’ve heard that special b, along with carafa or chocolate malt (and perhaps even carared) combined can do this. Someone I talked to said Blackprinz and English 77 combined works as well, though I have yet to play with Blackprinz. I have been trying to turn a beer red forever using just malt (they usually just turn brown), so I was hoping this might be the one. I was wrestling whether to use crystal malts or not as I really don’t like the sweetness crystal malt imparts with hoppy beer, but I did only use 1.5% in this batch, so at such a small amount I figured I’d be safe (yet could also leave it out at such a small amount…the struggle is real).

Video of the brew day:


Batch Size: .75 Gallons
OG: 1.073
SRM: 17
Est ABV: 7.7%-ish
IBU: 78
Boil Time: 60 Min

2 lbs (77.2%) – 2-Row
4.0 oz (9.7%) – Vienna Malt
2.2 oz (5.4%) – Acid Malt
1.6 oz (3.9%) – Carared
.6 oz (1.5%) – Crystal 90L
.5 oz (1.2%) – Carafa III
.5 oz (1.2%) – Special B

60 Min @ 149F

.10 oz Herkules (11.3% AA) @ 60 Min
.10 oz Target (10.3% AA) @ 15 Min

Hop Stand (200-180F)
.20 oz Target (10.3% AA) @ 30 Min
.20 oz Crystal (4.4% AA) @ 30 Min
.20 oz Target (10.3% AA) @ 10 Min
.40 oz Crystal (4.4% AA) @ 10 Min

Dry Hop 1 (Added as fermentation slowed)
.30 oz Target (10.3% AA)

Dry Hop 2 (For 7 days after fermentation stopped)
.20 oz Target (10.3% AA)
.30 oz Crystal (4.4% AA)


Here’s what went down:

Brewed 1/29/17

Didn’t add any salts to the mash (my sulfites are 250 ppm as is). Cut the water in half with distilled water. The pH was at 5.4 Pre-boil gravity was 1.036, the post-boil was 1.073.

2/2/17: Added the first dose of dry hops.

2/9/17: Added second dose of dry hops.

2/18/17: Bottled.

3/16/17 Tasting notes:

This is a fairly decent beer. The aroma faded really quick, which is kind of annoying, but not totally unexpected with transferring and bottling. By the time this is done bottle conditioning, it’s already almost half way through its hoppy life. The nose has an almost chlorine smell to it, but not in the taste. Interestingly, another one I tried didn’t have it. It’s possible that one bottle had a slight infection to it, but regardless, the hop aroma is nearly gone.

The taste is solid. Nice hop bitterness and rounded out with good hoppy flavor. It’s definitely more on the piney side. I would almost say there is Simcoe and Columbus in there. I didn’t expect to get such a similar profile with the hops I used. It is a hair on the sweeter side for what I like, but for a beer with crystal malt in it, it’s really not too bad. Also, it’s the reddest beer I’ve made. I finally kind of got there with trying get a beer red with just grains.

I rarely re-brew the same beer twice, but I wouldn’t hate to have this on tap.

Video tasting it:

Changes: Keg it and not bottle it, and maybe eliminate the crystal malt (and maybe use something else that’s not crystallized…but I think most people would be ok with the amount of crystal malt that’s in there as it’s a very small amount).

2 Comment

  1. Jazze Post says: Reply

    have you ever got it red?

    1. Jason says: Reply

      Not for an IPA, but I did for a dark saison:

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