Bamf Simcoe IPA: This rocks

So, about 6 weeks ago, we brewed a Simcoe IPA. We decided to really go for it with the Simcoe hops after our local brew club had a meeting hosted by Magic Hat Brewing, where they passed around samples of Roxy Rolles. That beer has a distinctive Simcoe flavor, and is a pretty awesome beer.

In our recipe, we built a pretty strong malt backbone, and tried to start off with a pretty balanced beer instead of starting off going full-on with tons of hops. The power of the hops in this beer (but not the flavor) is probably along the lines of Rogue’s Brutal Bitter. The hop flavors have some similarity to the Roxy Rolles, but we finish off the hop additions with Cascades at flame-out, and the result is that you get the earthiness of the Simcoe, and just a touch of citrusy goodness. The balance between the hops in this beer is as important as the malt/hop balance in the beer — a lesson I learned from this beer; I didn’t fully appreciate that until I started drinking it.

Recipe

Here’s the recipe, for a 10-gallon all-grain batch, taken from Beer Tools Pro. The assumed efficiency here is a little high, 79.5%, but we’ve brewed this twice now, and nailed the numbers both times. On the button. I guess we’re really getting close to 80% efficiency, which is fantastic!

20 lbs. Pale Ale Malt

2 lbs. Cara-Pils Malt

3 lbs Cara 20

1.5 oz Simcoes (60 mins)

1.0 oz Simcoe (10 min)

1.0 oz Cascade (Flameout)

Yeast

Well, Matt and I brew 10-gallon batches, and then we ferment in separate carboys, and keg 5 gallons each. This gives us the opportunity to play with different yeasts on the same batch. On our first try with this recipe, I went with WLP041 (Pacific Ale), and Matt went with Burton Ale yeast. This is the first beer we’ve ever both 100% agreed that one was absolutely better than the other, and the better one was fermented with Pac Ale. In this beer, it produced a very nicely balanced beer, accentuated the hops, and lent a soft background fruitiness that goes really well with the other flavors in the beer.

The Burton Ale yeast produces a perfectly drinkable beer, but the hops fall a little flat, and the yeast doesn’t really give off much to tie the hops and malt together. The difference between the two is surprising mostly in how dramatic it is. We pretty much knew *how* it would be different, but we didn’t foresee the “night and day” gap between the two. But again, both perfectly drinkable beers.

Fermentation/Carbonation

The Pac Ale version was in primary fermentation for almost two weeks. We’re brave like that. :)   Then it was transferred to secondary and left in the basement to rot for probably 3 weeks. I finally kegged it, put the CO2 up to 10 (initially – it’s at 15 now), and I’m drinking it now after exactly one week under carbonation. For the first 4 days, I was a little concerned, but the CO2 has a way of magically scrubbing away some flavors that are really front-and-center before carbonation. I went from wondering if I would like the beer a few days ago to not being able to get enough of it now. I keep waiting for the carbonation to become a little overbearing, but that hasn’t happened yet – maybe because I have a lot of bev line between the keg and the tap on my kegerator.

I’m not sure what Matt did for carbonation on his keg. Maybe he’ll leave a comment on this post about it, along with any other stuff I missed.

Do it!

Feel free to brew the recipe, but make sure you bookmark this blog and come back and let us know what worked, what didn’t,

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