I promise that the wild Brettanomcyes project is ongoing and that updates will follow in a few weeks. But in the meantime I want to talk about something a tad more pedestrian – brewing IPA! Several months ago I brewed an IPA that brought together my favorite trends over the past four decades. The beer starts with a 1990’s style IPA: crystal malt plus cascade & centennial hops. Brining in the 2000’s style, we have the localvore movement in the form of hops grown just down the road, plus the “rye in everything” trend thrown in for extra 2000’s ‘oomph’. The 2010’s bring us a NEIPA hopping regime. And to bring us into the current decade, we’ve got a new-fangled hybrid yeast. I loved this beer, so I rebrewed it with a twist. I replaced the fruity-ester producing an even newer new-fangled yeast. A yeast which thiolized the living daylights out of my hops.
Recipe for the Thiolized Version
I was not joking when I say that I only replaced the yeast – that is literally the only difference from the last recipe. The original recipe can be found at this link. To thiolize it, I merely replaced the Escarpment Labs Hydra Yeast with Thiol Libre Yeast – also from Escarpment. The only other adjustment was to the fermentation temperature, as thiol libre has a lower recommended fermentation temperature. In my case, I started at 18C and after 48 hours, ramped up to 20C.
I have used Thiol Libre previously, in a fruited sour. Lets hope this beer goes better then that one did!
Appearance: Crystal clear, with a copper body verging on red. Pours with a thick and long-lived crisp white head.
Aroma: Citrus and pine…just kidding! The citrus and pine notes that should have been there were thiolized into aromas of mangos and peaches. There is also a nice malty note in the background.
Flavour: Anyone who claims that yeast don’t have much of an impact on beer need to try out Thiol Libre. The original version of this beer was resinous, piney, with a strong note of grapefruit – the quintessential flavours of a 1990’s IPA. This version – despite being identical in ingredients – is completely different. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear I brewed this with Mosaic and Amarillo hops. As with the aroma, this beer is tropical. Mango and peach notes dominate. The resin and pine notes are still present, but are more subtle than in the original.
This transition towards a more topical hop character radically changed the overall character of the beer. The “sweeter” hop flavours are amplified by the crystal malt. This throws off the balance of the beer, and it comes across as slightly under-bittered. Likewise, the caramel flavours of the malt bill clash somewhat with the tropical flavours: sort of a sweet-on-sweet note that is candy-like and out-of-place in a beer. Don’t get me wrong, this beer is fantastic, but it would benefit from some adjustments to the bittering hops and malt bill.
Another area for improvement may be in the mash schedule. Thiol Libre is not a highly attenuative yeast, and so further improvements in the body and sweetness of the beer may be achieved by using a lower mash temperature to help promote additional attenuation.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, effervescent, with a fruity aftertaste that fades into a mild resinous note.
Overall: A damned good beer, but one that could use some adjustments to the recipe to better balance the “sweet” flavour of the “topical hops”, and to reduce/remove the crystal malt notes.
I am astounded by this yeast. My first use of it was not compelling, but as a tool for getting modern hop flavours out of traditional hops, it cannot be beat. I will most certainly be using this in IPAs going forward…when I’m not looking for the grapefruit-and-pine character of a 1990’s era IPA.