Generally, IPAs contain a certain amount of caramel malt to provide some sweetness to balance out the bitterness from the hops. Sometimes this is called providing a “malt backbone”. But what if we didn’t add any other caramel malt to balance out sweetness? This is the idea behind out 199 White IPA.
The “white” aspect is a reference to the Belgian style of beer, a white ale or witbier (Hoegaarden is a classic example of a witbier). This type of beer is brewed with orange and coriander, as well as a special type of Belgian yeast. Traditionally, witbiers have very few hops and are very light in colour. A White IPA keeps the light colour, orange and coriander of a witbier, but adds more hops. Because of the lack of caramel malt in witbiers, it doesn’t require many hops to make the beer bitter enough to be considered an IPA.
The “199” refers to how many IBUs are in the beer. That comes from 12 ounces of hops in 23 litres of beer. Many beers only have 2-3 ounces of hops. Thus we went overboard on adding hops.
Appearance: Very cloudy, yet very light in colour. Thick, bubbly head.
Aroma: Scent of orange and other citrus, with a hint coriander.
Taste: A very heavy body, likely as result of the wheat. It almost sticks to the tongue. A lemony taste that is very tart. A lot of different flavours from the hops: grapefruit, pine, orange, apricot, peach, mango, lemon. It’s like biting into a very flavourful grapefruit peel. The bitterness lingers for a very long time, where a little bit of the coriander taste can be noticed. The pine flavour also comes out more as the taste lingers.
Overall: Very bitter beer, but that was our plan for the beer, so let’s consider that a success. Since there is no sweeter malts to balance out the bitter and add different flavours, only the hops come through. It somewhat works in wheat beer, but you expect a bit more yeasty flavour in a wheat beer. The orange peel get lost in the hop flavour, though the coriander seems to compliment some of the hop flavour with a hint of spice.
Specifics: 23 litre batch, 55% extraction efficiency, ABV 4.9%, O.G. 1.047, IBU 199, single infusion mash at 68 Celsius for 40 minutes
Normally you could never create such a mash without having a stuck sparge. Our mash tun is somehow magical and has never caused us a stuck sparge even when wheat makes up 87% of the grain bill. The high percentage of wheat was also a result of having very little Pale malt remaining in the homebrewery. Thus we made due with what we had.
Gambrinus Organic Wheat Malt: 12 lbs (to make a tangy, slightly acid and refreshing wheat beer)
Gambrinus Pale Malt: 2 lbs (to help prevent a stuck sparge)
We upped the hopping rate, by a lot. Even if this beer had specialty malts and more alcohol to balance out the hoppiness, it would still be very hoppy. With a beer that has an O.G. of only 1.047, you are going to taste every one of those IBUs. All 199 of them.
75 min: 2 oz Chinook (Chinook is fairly piney, thus it adds more complexity to the beer)
60 min: 2 oz Columbus (Columbus is a rare bittering hop that actually keeps some of its flavour, thus we added it in addition to the Chinook to add a deep citrus flavour)
30 min: 1 oz Centennial, 0.5 oz Chinook
10 min: 1 oz Chinook, 0.5 oz Centennial
0 min: 1 oz Crystal, 0.5 oz Centennial (Crystal has a lovely fruity aroma that simply cannot be resisted)
Dry Hopping for 14 days: 1.5 oz Ultra (a hop similar to Crystal, less fruity though), 1.5 Cascade
Total hops added: 12 oz.
To make a mildly proper white ale, we needed to add orange peel and coriander, thus we added 1 oz of each to the boil for the last 15 minutes. This is a long time to boil these additions (normally you would only add them for 5 minutes), but we wanted some of their flavour to come through all the hops.
Fermented on a Cooper’s Ale yeast cake from a Vienna ale. Not proper Belgium yeast for a white ale, but we don’t let beer style get in the way of our creativity.
7 days in primary
14 days in secondary
(7 days into the dry hopping process)