Last week we were excited to find out that our 05|Simcoe Summit IPA was ranked as Best Beer in London (ref), 2019 by RateBeer.
It's a real privilege to be part of London's vibrant and innovative craft beer scene, and we're delighted to be ranked as one of the best. It seems the resident judges at RateBeer struggled to resist this dangerously quaffable number as much as we did.
We’ve made an enormous variety of beer. But for all of our fabulous fruited gose and dank double IPAs, it’s the success of our more unassuming beers like the 05 Simcoe Summit, that really shows what we're about.
There wasn't much bold or innovative about the recipe. Instead, SimSum, as it affectionately became known, was the product of careful experimentation over more than 100 different iterations of IPA. It is the emphasis we place on process that has really allowed for the refinement of our modern take on the style.
How We Made the Beer
The first thing to pay attention to is the water profile. In 05 SimSum, we chose a high chloride to sulphate ratio to add fullness and body without becoming overly sweet. To this end we also used flaked oats, bringing proteins that add haze and body. Another thing to note, especially if you’re going to use the recipe below, is the whirlpool temperature - we keep it down below 80°C for our IPAs which help keep those volatile hop oils in the wort.
As a modern IPA the dry-hopping is up front and centre. But, as with the whirlpool, the devil’s in the details here. The beer ended up fermenting faster than anticipated, which meant we ended up dry-hopping at terminal instead of starting it two points before. Brewing involves harnessing a biological process, and sometimes nature takes a different course to that expected. Great brewers know how to respond to these changes and in many cases, as is true here, the beer is better for it!
It’s also worth noting the dry character SimSum had. Most NEIPAs usually end at a higher gravity for a sweeter finish, adding body to back the hops up. ‘But we’ve found this runs the risk of a cloying, even sickly drinking experience’ says Kieran, our lead brewer. 05|SimSum’s crisper, dry finish proves that you can have the wonderful juicy hop experience at no cost to drinkability. Our latest IPA, 05|Mosaic Simcoe (ref), shares this character.
And then there’s finding that perfect hop combo. What a find it was: Simcoe’s high citrus notes balanced and underlined by Summit’s grapefruit piney bitterness. We vote that Simcoe and Summit joins the double act hall of fame alongside Morecambe and Wise, Beans and Toast, Chas and Dave and Elephant and Castle!
So there you have it. It wasn't some goofy gimmick or out-there mad-scientist-inspiration that made the 05 Simcoe Summit so irresistible. Just good ol' fashioned process. It's this exploratory approach with an emphasis on drinkability that’s got us here. Good news: it's an approach we ain't changing anytime soon.
Below we’ve included a home brew version of our original recipe for you to experiment with. We’re always looking to make this better, so if you think you’ve found something great, we’d love to hear it!
Want to try one of our IPA's? You can get our current IPA, 05|Mosaic & Simcoe on our WebShop (link).
Here's to another year of 05 SimSums! #OneYearNoBadBeer!
Ben & Team BBNo