By Patrick Boyles
Prost! Salud! Cheers!
My name is Patrick Chase Boyles. I live in Winston Salem, NC and have been engrossed with craft beer and the beer culture since 2010 and have been home brewing since 2015!
Today we are going to talk about perhaps the most controversial beer style? Maybe, most confusing beer style? Is it an India Pale Lager? Is it a Dry Hopped Pilsner?
No!! Not at all! It’s exactly what it says it is - a Cold IPA.
It is crisp, excellently refreshing and has a wonderfully clean bitterness and mesmerizing hop aroma. To me it is the best of both worlds: ale and lager.
Can it be a new beer style? Will the BJCP add this to the stable? So many questions, will we ever get to the bottom of this?
And so the story starts: On a cold, dark, hallowed night. Just kidding. It starts in Portland. Which from what I’ve heard it’s always cold and dark. While I can’t definitively prove that, I know that is the perfect climate for us home brewers without temp control to finally brew the ever sought after lager!!
But in this case, the case of the Cold IPA, we are going to use a good attenuating lager yeast but ferment at a warmer temp. (WTF)
Is this even possible?
Just as the head brewer from Wayfinder Brewing in Portland stated, “The lager esters and the uptick in sulfur dioxide (SO2), really doesn’t work well with American hops, it sticks out like a sore thumb. ” Let’s break that down.
The lager esters and uptick in SO2 is indicative of a lager yeast in its natural state during the fermentation process. It will give off a presence of butter, buttermilk or butterscotch flavors. Hence the diacetyl rest or the extreme duration of time to fully and correctly “lager” a beer.
Sorry for the ranting. I got a little nerdy there! None the less if we are trying to attempt this style of beer in our homebreweries we need to take a packet of 34/70 or S-23 and let it ferment at 64-69 degrees Fahrenheit. Going against conventional wisdom in this situation will most likely give your cold IPA that crisp, clean lager snap we are looking for without that harsh SO2 flavor.
The grain bill for this mysterious beer style is relatively common in the American brewing world with the use of adjuncts. Flaked rice and flaked corn give the beer a little body and mouthfeel while also drying out the beer, but not like a totally naked bud light
Now, the part everyone has been waiting on: HOPS!
Chinook, Simcoe, Cascade, Mosaic, Centennial, Amarillo.
Each one of these hops stand tall and strong with their fierce explosiveness like a heavy weight boxer ready to enter the ring… or the kettle boil ready to release their intense flavors. The piney sap with those thick herbaceous earthy and woody characteristics, floral notes, and the perfectly bold citrus, candied grapefruit rind merry together perfectly.
I’m getting thirsty!!
So to wrap up. That malt bill we built will give a great foundation of body and mouthfeel to build our hop forward, west coast explosiveness that we want while the yeast is there to lend that clean and crisp brightness allowing the hops to be the stars of the show.
The Cold IPA. To me seems like a beer I can take to the beach and sit with on a beach chair or to the mountains after a great hike or even to a campfire or a chicken stew in the fall and winter.
The Cold IPA is the best collaboration between lager and ale that will ever be. This style does not need to go unnoticed.
I hope this has helped make up the minds of beer drinkers and home brewers alike to ask questions and go against the grain. Rewriting the rules of what can only be- creating something truly enthralling, the COLD IPA.
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