Tag Archives: India Pale Ale

Mangrove Jack’s IPA – Review

As you might remember, when Chas returned from his trip overseas we had a brew day at his place. Not sure what to brew he picked up a kit of the Mangrove Jack’s IPA, new yeast and a booster.

Mangrove Jacks IPA 1

Mangrove Jack’s IPA #1 ready for tasting

After two weeks in the bottle we tried a bottle. The beer was okay but still quite rough, even in the middle. The flavours were there but it wasn’t working all together. We decided to give it another week and try again. Over the weekend we did exactly that.

First up is the soft spice hop aroma. Very slight sweetness at the end. A fair amount of fruit aroma which is what you would hope and want from the style.

Taste up front is refreshing and light. Bit of stone fruit and grassy flavors are there. The bitterness picks up slowly and builds most of the way through. Around the middle the body drops away a bit. The beer gets dry and slightly tart. There’s a slight metallic flavour that comes in. This last part is the least enjoyable bit of the beer.

As the beer warms a little it becomes more balanced. The fruit flavors become more pronounced. The metallic flavour drops away to just be at the end. This makes the beer a lot eater to drink and enjoy.

Overall this is quite good for an off the shelf kit. Taste is good, body is alright and the finish is okay.

The booster really helped this beer. Extra dry malt was really needed here.The replacement yeast and extra Cascade hops also helped. Interestingly this beer only came in at 4% alcohol. That’s below what you would expect for the style, this should be 5.5% or higher. That said, it doesn’t really make much difference to the beer flavour or feel.

Food wise, this could work with a few things. Would work with anything with meat and sauce/marinated. That can including seafood all the way through to stake. The fruit side of the beer would play nicely. The meat should help sideline the slight dry tart metallic elements of the beer.

This is a good beer. It’s hard to work out what caused the elements I don’t like. Maybe it’s the base kit, maybe the fermentation or yeast. Really anything. That said, would be happy to return to this and brew again.


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Back to brewing after a holiday

I’m finally getting around to writing up last week’s brew!  It’s been a busy one for me…

After taking inventory last week, I’ve been spending all my down time trying to get through my collection; I need bottles for the batch that I made last week!

Anyway, as mentioned by Mikey, the Beagle Double IPA turned out to be a big beer.  It was great, but big.  Like most beer drinkers, I’m a big IPA fan, so although I like something like the Beagle, having a lighter and easier IPA on hand (especially for the upcoming summer) seemed appealing.  Since I hadn’t been brewing for awhile, I also wanted to get back into it with a really simple kit.

So Mikey and I went down to Brewcraft in Richmond to see what was available.  We picked up a bag of Mangrove Jack’s IPA wort and a kit converter.  Of course you put Mikey and me in a home brew store and we also both end up walking out with a bunch of other stuff that we “need just in case.”  This is why I have so much sanitiser.  But hey, we all know the Rules of Home Brew.

Anyway, it was a pretty simple brew containing:

  • Mangrove Jacks India Pale Ale
  • Blend of light and dark DME
  • Cascade hops
  • American West Coast Ale Yeast – BRY 97

Pretty simple stuff here.  Note that the Mangrove Jacks wort came with yeast included, but I generally prefer to buy yeast separately because you never know the quality of the included yeast.  The wort was also on sale because it was near its use by date, so once again, you just don’t know…

All we had to do was boil two litres of water, add the malt, and let that dissolve.  After that, we threw in the hops and let that steep for about 15 minutes.

This was then strained into a 30 litre fermenter with the Mangrove Jacks wort added as the fermenter was topped up to 23 litres.

Done and dusted!

The Cascade hops is a pretty middle of the road all rounder.  Plenty of spice in the smell with a bit of grass (at least for me).  I can sometimes find a little bit of chilly in there as well.  Of course there are also the typical florals found in a lot of hops as well.

I considered dry hopping, but then couldn’t really decide what to dry hop with.  Plus I want this to remain pretty light…

In the end, the wort smelled and tasted great.  It should turn out to be exactly what I want through the summer.

We’ll bottle next weekend and then see how it turns out a couple weeks after that!


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The Beagle Double IPA – First Trial

For those familiar with the story of the IPA beer style, you’d know it’s characterised by being higher in the hops and alcohol.  This trend started when the British colonised India and were unable to transport their beloved pale ale from England to India without it spoiling.  Fortunately, hops and alcohol act as a natural preservative: so increase these two important beer ingredients, and your beer can go anywhere!

A double IPA, or an Imperial India Pale Ale, is generally even higher in hoppyness and alcohol than a standard IPA.  This should last even the longest sea journeys…

So, in honour of one of the great scientific sea journeys of all time and the boat, the HMS Beagle, today we made The Beagle Double IPA.

And before I go into the recipe, hopefully readers will have noticed the general theme going on in my beer names.  At the risk of starting a flame war with Mikey, at least my names are better than Mikey’s “Australian Pale Ale”.  Take that Mikey.

The trend of naming my beers after famous science figures is thanks to the proprietor of my favourite cafe, Husband.  So I’ll give credit where credit’s due.

Anyway, the recipe!

A friend of mine, Matt, had had some success with a simple mini-mash (edit, this is not actually a mini-mash recipe.  I’ll go into it another time.  i have a bad habbit of just saying “mash” if i use grains.  cheers Stu for keeping me honest) IPA recipe that called for a small grain bill of crystal, some dry malt extract, and two types of hops for bittering and aroma, but no dry hopping…  I need to have a chat to Matt about this as well, because the recipe called for a total of 50 grams of hops for a four litre batch.  Now I like hops as much as the next guy, but this would have just been nuts…  Mikey and I modified the recipe to our taste and sanity levels accordingly:

  • 75 grams crystal
  • 25 grams dark crystal
  • 30 grams rye
  • 1 kilogram golden light dry malt extract
  • 15 grams Citra – bittering hops; 60 minutes total boil
  • 10 grams Willamette – taste hops; 30 minutes total boil
  • 15 grams Amarillo – aroma hops; five mintues total boil
  • 10 grams Citra – dry hops; after two days
  • Safale yeast US05

Steep the grains in 1.5 litres of water in a grain bag for a total of one hour, keeping the temperature between about 70 and 80

It begins!

It begins!

degrees C.  This needs to go in at about thirty minutes into the boil, so start this first.  Personally, I prefer a grain bag but they’re not mandatory, it just makes things a little easier.

While the grain does its thing, boil 2.5 litres of water with the kilogram of malt extract.  We got a huge hot break, but that was mostly Mikey’s fault for purposefully making bubbles when stirring in the malt.  I’m glad we used the big pot.

At the hot break, throw the Citra in for a total of 60 minutes.

After thirty minutes, put in the Willamette and the water from the steeped grain.  Sparge the grain with about 0.5-1 litre of boiling water to make sure you get all the goodness.

Thanks Mikey...

Thanks Mikey…

Finally, with five minutes left in the boil, throw in the Amarillo.

Put the pot in a sink of cold water or use a wort chiller to get it to temperature, throw it all into a 5 litre carboy and top everything up to 4 litres in total.  Pitch the yeast and you’re done!

Don’t forget, after two days, add the second batch of Citra for dry hopping!

Other Brewing Notes:

We got a final gravity of 1.076, which I was pretty happy about.  With any luck, this should give an alcohol content of at least 7.5% ABV.  Because of this (and the general hoppyness), this is starting to get into the Double IPA range, so that’s what we’re calling it.

In regards to the hops, this recipe has three types of hops.

The Citra had a typical bittering hops smell: lots of bitter and spice aromas, with a bit of a tropical feel to it.  I find Citra a little more laid back than other bittering hops, but it’s definitively still there!  When this was first added to the wort, it didn’t do much to combat the malt smells, which were quite milky.

The Willamette was far more laid back than the Citra, a brief description of Willamette can be found in the Friedlieb Porter recipe.  Generally drier in smell.  With the Willamette, the malt smells were finally getting put in their place and the hops were finally starting to come through.  There was going to be a lot of spice in this beer.

20130728_143554Finally, the Amarillo had less bitter than anything else in there.  It’s a typical fruity hop for aroma.  The citrus really pushes through and there are a few earthy smells to it as well.  With the addition of the Amarillo, the malt finally lost the battle and the true IPA scent filled the kitchen.  Everything was much more balanced.

The wort tasted great, albeit, very sweet thanks to the very high gravity.  Of course the hops hadn’t had time to settle, so rather than get multiple notes, all there was was one big blast of bitter and spice – it hit and it hit hard.  I’d like to keep some of that for the final beer, but a little more subtle!  We’ll see what happens.

Anyway, great brew day.  Afterwards we went out for Mexican.  So for those wanting to re-produce this recipe exactly, go out for Mexican afterwards to ensure the same results.


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Hoppy Heart IPA – review

So we finally got to taste the Hoppy Heart IPA from Brewsmith that we brewed a few weeks ago. You can check out the post on the brew here.

The only problem with brewing is that it requires patience, which is something I don’t have.  You make your brew, wait while it sits in the fermenter, bottle it, then wait again!

Why not just go to the bottle shop and get something that’s already been made for you?  Well, that’s a whole lot less fun and you wouldn’t have the satisfaction of knowing it was something you’ve made yourself.  Also, home brew is tasty, and this IPA was no exception.

Hoppy Heart IPA #1

Hoppy Heart IPA #1

Firstly, I want to make a very loud shout out to the guys at Brewsmith.  It seems they stumbled upon this humble blog and posted an earlier review on their Facebook page.  I suppose it’s good for them to be showing potential customers that they make good beer, but it’s nice to be getting extra readers too, so everybody wins!  I know we refer to Brewsmith quite a bit around here, but just in case we forgot to give a link, here it is: http://brewsmith.com.au/ – that’s for all y’all who don’t know how to use search engines…

So the first exciting part of the weekend was getting some extra readers.  The second exciting part was trying the IPA while making some beer.

Well first of all, the colour was great: fairly dark with lots of body and head.  Mikey was doing a bit of a “yay we get to taste the IPA dance” prior to opening the first bottle, which made it get shaken up, so after dealing with that mess, we got to try the beer.

Getting ahead a little, but talking about the body of the beer, it seemed to have a bit of a creamy or oiliness about it.  It was a pleasant feeling, and I can only imagine that it may have come from the oils that come from the hops, but that is only a guess.  All in all, it added to the body of the beer.

In regards to smell, it was exactly like an IPA should smell like, fruity, hoppy, just generally nice. When drinking, I really got all the different levels of hops: aroma hops, taste hops, and bitterness hops.  The flavours were distinct, but together at the same time.  It was quite nice.

IPAs are most famous for their hoppy/bitter flavour, and this was no exception.  That being said, I’ve had some very bitter IPAs.  While I love lots of hops, this can be a little overpowering at times, and I can often only have one or two of these before I move on.  This was not one of those, rather, it was a bit more balanced and much easier to drink.

Adding to this was the fruitiness, which counteracted the bittering hops very well.  Sometimes one wins out, the fruit or the bitter, but this IPA had both at neither extreme.

As I finished the beer, I really began to notice the bitterness staying in my mouth, which is a lovely side effect of an IPA.  So the taste really stayed, which is great.

All in all, we were quite pleased with how this came out.  As with the Brewsmith porter we made a while ago, this beer was very easy drinking.

And finally, since the last review requested that I recommend food…  My first instinct would be to just enjoy this beer on its own.  It was very refreshing and good just for its own sake.  The bitterness in an IPA can push out other flavours, so it may not go well with something that’s less than bold.  So if you must drink it with food, drink it with something that will hit you just as hard.  Keep in mind that the beer also has fruit flavours as well.  A dry curry would go well, or perhaps something Mexican is what I’d go for.

– Chas

P.S.  and since this was an article about an IPA, here is a short list of hops related puns I wanted to include, but felt would be inappropriate in the main review:

  • We were very hoppy with how the beer came out.
  • When drinking the beer, I said “hip-hop-hooray, that’s good”
  • Something about rabbits?
  • Hop on the bandwagon, drink some IPA.
  • I got hopped up on some tasty home brew.
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