If you've ever been to Beerfarm, you may have noticed we've got a little thing for Double IPA's. From the bigger malt profile and wide variety of hop combinations, right down to the bolder ABV, we love a bit of complexity in our beers.
Pairing, blending, and mixing hops is our bread and butter and watching hop oils combine, change and amplify the brewing process is an experimental itch we just can't help but scratch.
The Hop Experiment is a series dedicated to Double IPA's, an experiment to discover the most mouth-watering, mind-melting flavours we can muster while exploring some of our favourite hops from across the globe along the way.
We sat down with one of our brewhouse's best Charlotte Freeston, to find out all about our upcoming East and West coast Double IPA releases and what flavour combinations we can expect from these bold, experimental brews.
Why do you think the IPA style or DIPA style is so damn popular?
IPA's are the perfect platform to showcase the amazing flavours and aromas that hops and hop combinations can offer, and with styles ranging from soft East Coast juiciness to assertive West Coast bangers, there's something for everyone to enjoy.
Beerfarm is about to launch The Hop Experiment, can you tell us a bit about the concept behind this series?
Here we just wanted to explore the world of hops and IPAs and take a playful approach to experimenting with hop combinations through the lens of East and West Coast styles.
What are some of your favourite hops that will be making an appearance in this series?
Idaho 7, Cashmere, Huell Melon, Simcoe - so many! We've used more than 20 hops in the series and they're all rad. I'm super excited to use some experimental varieties we've not seen before as well as get some old favourites out.
We've collaborated with Cryer Malt on our second West Coast in the series using HBC630 for a big berry hit and in our third East Coast we're also using experimental hop HBC586 for some tropical citrus and sweet fruit.
What's so special about these hops (flavour, hardiness, where they're grown)?
There's so much to say here! The hops we are using were grown in many countries and have so many different properties. With one beer, we're going big with the berry characters and in another, we're going for a more classic resinous vibe. Some we're going for straight juice!
How does the East Coast DIPA differentiate from the West Coast DIPA?
In the East Coast version we used lots of oats and wheat in the grist and upped the chlorides in the water for a soft pillowy mouthfeel. We kept the bitterness lower on these and the hop dosage to the late boil, whirlpool and dry hop with an active ferment dry hop as well as using our favourite hazy yeast strains.
For the West Coast we went more neutral with the yeast and used some richer more caramelised malts in some, and dialled up the bitterness a little with a sulphite heavy water profile to boost the assertiveness of the hops we chose to use there. So expect juicy, pillowy East Coast's and bold West Coast's.
Double IPA's are known to be quite hop heavy. How did you approach this when brewing, is there such a thing as too many hops?
Yes and no, what you get from hops is all about timing and a few other factors like pH, but I'll keep it to timing for this! The earlier you add them to the hot side, the more isomerisation you get, which means more bitterness and a loss of aroma.
Each individual hops' properties could give you a different level of bitterness, for example those with high cohumulone can be very cloying when used too early in the boil, but can be amazing for a dry hop. Later additions contribute more to the aroma and flavour without creating too much bitterness.
I think when you consider your hops and processes in your recipes, you can use hops for the best results, and get some incredible flavours without overkill.
Who else (national or international) does a DIPA really well, and why?
Pressure Drop in London make amazing IPA's, and of course Cloudwater in Manchester, Deya, Verdant, Wylam in the UK. Gamma in Copenhagen. In the US you've got Russian River, Other Half, Hill Farmstead, Tree House, Three Floyds, Half Acre... so many!
And over this way... I love the DIPA's coming out from our neighbours Rocky Ridge and Mountain Culture, Banks, Range... I'm still drinking my way around the country so ask me again soon!
Beerfarm's West Coast DIPA and East Coast DIPA will be available at the farm and WA bottle shops from May 9th, but not for long! Head to our bottle shop locator to find you nearest watering hole or fridge of tinnies. Coming to the East Coast soon!