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The Mans Cave was a concept originated long before my time. The men in my family have always had their place of solitude where men could be men and there was no questioning. I now live the city life which means the man cave has been greatly reduced in size. That brought me to create an internet based man cave where all men can join in. Whether geek, gamer, jock, fitness, brewer, BBQ-er, or just looking for a place to read about manly news, you will find a home in the Man Cave

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

New Brewmaster Series: Exploring the Styles: India Pale Ale

Our new series of beer related posts will cover the many different styles of beer that are available, one style at a time.  We're going to provide a brief overview of each style, along with several commercial examples and reviews for those examples.  We will also discuss what you will need to do if you wanted to brew an example of each style in your own home.  It is pretty incredible to see how many of the styles we drink came about, and the many great examples of each that we have to choose from!

Exploring the Styles: India Pale Ale

History:  Much of the history behind this beer that is out there today is actually false.  Many breweries have latched on to stories that claim that this style was invented out of necessity to travel to India, but that isn't really the truth.  Long before the most famous person credited with the style began marketing India Pale Ale, there existed a style of beer known as October ale.  George Hodgson is usually who people quote as the creator of this style.  However, it is actually true that the style evolved gradually from a moderately hopped October ale, into this high alcohol, hop bomb that we love today.  In fact, it was relatively common knowledge among brewers of the day that the higher the alcohol, and the more hops went into a beer, the better it would survive over time.  While the ability to travel and last for long periods of time was a factor in the development of this style, other styles of beer also made the journey without serious issues.  Needless to say, we're pretty happy that all those English brewers decided to keep adding hops to their beer.

What to Look for in an India Pale Ale:
The first and foremost aspect of an India Pale Ale should be apparent as soon as you open the bottle.  HOPS.  If it is a typical American IPA, you should get strong smells of citrus, resin (should make you think of a pine tree), and possibly floral notes.  In an English style IPA (otherwise known as a Bitter), the hops should be more earthy, floral, and woodsy.  When you drink an IPA, if the hops are at the correct level, the bitterness should kind of feel like it clings to your teeth a little.  Then there should be a smooth malty flavor that finishes the taste and balances out the bitterness of the hops.  In some examples, the hops are intended to completely overwhelm you, such as Avery Dugana, while in others, the brewers intend for the beer to be a nice balance between malty sweetness and hoppy bitterness.

Great Commercial Examples:
Harpoon IPA- American IPA with a little deviation in the style of hops used.  Great floral notes that are complimented well by the malts.  Great beer to drink anytime you want something you can have more than one of to drink.
Southern Tier IPA- My personal favorite.  Incredible head retention makes this beer almost seem creamy until the bold citrusy hops hit you square in the mouth.
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA- An IPA that I compare all other IPAs against.  This beer is a perfect balance of bold, in your face, enamel scraping hops countered by a smooth malt background.
Stone IPA- A solid example from a West Coast brewery.  Well balanced and distinct resinous notes make this a solid choice to drink.
Avery Dugana- This one is one of those beers that will literally rip the enamel off your teeth.  Absolute hop bomb that is unashamed of its boldness.  There is some sweetness, but don't expect a balanced beer here.

How to Brew Your Own IPA:
This is a great example of an IPA that features bold American hops that are balanced by some sweet malt flavors.
This recipe is for a 5 gallon batch. 

Mash in at 153
10 lb- American 2-row malt
1 lb- Crystal 40 malt
1/2 lb- Victory malt

60 minute boil
At the start of the boil add 2 oz Centennial Hops

After 45 minutes add 1 oz Centennial Hops
After 55 minutes add .5 oz Cascade Hops

After cooling wort, pitch American Ale Yeast into it. (Wyeast 1056 or Safale US-05)
After 2 weeks in primary, transfer to secondary fermenter and add .5 oz Cascade hops to dry-hop

If you want to brew this as an extract recipe, steep the Crystal and Victory malts in your water for 30 minutes as you heat it up until the temperature reaches 170 degrees F.  Then use 7.5 lbs of amber dry malt extract in place of the American 2-row.

What is your favorite IPA?  If you brew this, or try any of the beers we have listed, let us know what you think!

Cheers and Happy Brewing!

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