“Go Away, Bitter Memory” is my latest attempt at a new homebrew recipe. I had the chance to squeeze in one last brew day for the year this last weekend, and I was craving a standard IPA, so I got to work doing some homework to come up with a recipe.

One of my favorite IPA standards is from Lagunita’s. According to the description of the beer on their website, it’s quite a complex recipe. I knew there were probably some clones out there that likely came close and didn’t require nearly the same complexities in terms of a recipe, so that’s where I started.

The Research:

As it turned out, it seemed like there were quite a few clone recipes out there, none of which seemed all too complicated. A common base malt in the recipes I started with was a pale malt, regardless of vendor. I like Briess malts, so I made that my base. I made some notes on the other recipes’ complimentary malts used and picked a few for my own.

For hops, I kept it simple. The recipes I started with had similarities here too. I’ve worked extensively with Cascade and Centennial, so I knew what to expect with those. Other hops I found in similar recipes were Horizon and Willamette, neither of which I had used before. I like to try new things, so made up a hop schedule that seemed just about right based on what little I knew.

Despite what Lagunita’s claims about the number of different hops and malts they use for this seemingly standard IPA, it seemed like the clone recipes I found were very similar to one another, and none of then nearly as complex. I couldn’t help but wonder if all these recipes that I was using to create my own, all had a similar genesis. Maybe it started with a single “close enough” clone, and then the next hobbyist came around, discovered that clone, tweaked it to make their own, and then so and and so forth, until I came along and created yet another variation.

After all the comparing and contrasting, I ended up with the following recipe:

The Recipe:

Fermentables:

  • 10.50 lbs. Briess Pale Malt
  • 1.00 lb. Briess GoldPils Vienna Malt
  • 0.75 lb. Briess CaraPils
  • 0.75 lb. Briess Caramel 60L

Hops:

  • 2.0 oz. Cascade
  • 2.0 oz. Centennial
  • 1.0 oz. Horizon
  • 1.0 oz. Willamette

Yeast:

  • Wyeast 1056 American Ale (2 pouches)

Other Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp Irish moss
  • 0.5 tsp yeast nutrient

The Process:

I use Wyeast 1056 a lot, at least for anything like a pale ale or an IPA. It’s predictable and I’m cool with that. Whenever I work with this one, I always target the same mash and strikeout temperatures, 153 for an hour, and 170 for ten minutes.

It was a chillier day, being that it’s December in Minnesota, so I went for slightly higher temps to try to keep above my target in case it cooled down a bit. After the mash and the strikeout, I began to collect the wort. The grain bill was slightly higher for this recipe, so I was expecting higher refractometer readings once I started collecting the wort, but they weren’t quite there. Still, it was acceptable, so I kept working.

I collected my wort, overshooting my target volume knowing that I’d boil it down to about 5.75 gallons before calling it good. I used the hop schedule below during my official hour of boiling:

-60 minutes: 1.00 oz. Horizon
-30 minutes: 1.00 oz. Willamette
-10 minutes: 1.00 oz. Cascade, 1.00 oz Centennial

After the wort was chilled down to room temperature, I took another reading. I was hoping for a reading of at least 1.085. It came in closer to 1.075. I guess I can’t always hope for such good efficiency. I added the yeast nutrient and the Irish moss in where recommended, and eventually, I cooled the wort, transferred it to a fermenter, oxygenated the liquid, and pitched the yeast…two pouches this time because I was shooting for a higher ABV and I didn’t have time to do a starter. That was four days ago. It’s bubbling away as I write this. I suspect I’ll give it up to ten days before I transfer to secondary. I’ll probably let it sit there for two weeks, but right now the homebrew keg is empty, so I might jump the gun in the interest of getting it tapped sooner rather than later.

The Name:

As for the name of this recipe, Go Away, Bitter Memory…since it was an IPA, which is known for being even more bitter than other styles, the word “bitter” stuck out in my mind. A song that came to mind was “Bitter Memory” by Lucinda Williams. This recipe is named after that.