Triple IPAs are a style we love to brew – and with two of our recent versions in our top 10 highest-rated beers, it seems you love them too. For our latest release we looked back at what we loved about previous iterations and what we wanted to improve. Ultimately our task was to create the greatest 85 in the series and finally surmount the challenge of besting our 7th anniversary 85 Triple IPA – Citra of 2019. A tough task indeed.
Picking the hops:
Our 85 series is an exploration in massive hop-forward profiles, seeking to highlight the most expressive features of a single hop or a balance between a few favourites. Looking back on the 85 series we noticed that Mosaic and Citra provided the foundation to every one of our previous brews. They had, however, never both featured in one of our Triple IPAs before and we felt that it was time to change that.
We use both varieties in many of our hoppy beers at Brew By Numbers and love the balance they strike between pure juice and complex fruit flavours. They are definitely some of our favourite hops and we find that their incredible depth of flavour and vibrancy really stands out in a beer this strength.
Upon receiving the latest 2020 Mosaic and Citra hops from Yakima Chief and John Haas, we quickly realised the incredible hop quality that we had at our fingertips. Mosaic and Citra are classic American hops for good reason, but this new season batch was on another level – all the familiar characteristics were there but this time with a potency and freshness that blew us away. It became clear that we had to use both.
Once we had our combination picked we began to think about the best way to translate the incredible quality of these hops into the final beer. The answer? To use every Mosaic and Citra hop product we could get our hands on.
Five unique hop additions:
In order to amplify the expression and complexity of Mosaic and Citra in the final beer we decided to utilise five separate hop additions across both the boil and the dry-hop. Regular hopping methods including whole leaf, T-90 and Cryo were used alongside two innovative liquid hop products – Incognito and Spectrum. Each dosing technique is different, allowing the unique character of the hop to shine. To boost the juicy stone fruit aroma and flavour of the beer we also decided to increase our dry-hop rate significantly.
Incognito: added to the whirlpool, this liquid hop product delivers an enhanced hop aroma and flavour to the final beer. The addition is far more efficient than using hop pellets and helps eliminate wort loss associated with this technique. This was our first time using Incognito and we are really impressed with the results.
Whole leaf: added in the boil, whole leaf hops are a great way to add bitterness and utilise the alpha acid content of a hop. The profile we wanted needed some background bitterness to keep the beer balanced and the finish crisp – whole leaf hops were perfect for this.
T-90: these pellets are produced by kiln drying whole leaf hop cones into a powder before being pressed into a pellet die. We dosed with T-90 pellets in both the whirlpool and the fermenter to add another dimension to the bittering and aroma profile of the beer. The use of T-90 also added a little structure to the beer and contributed to a bigger body.
Cryo: these pellets are the concentrated lupulin from whole-leaf hops. The use of Cryo pellets in the dry-hop provides a concentrated and intense hop aroma and flavour. We used 20kg of both Mosaic and Citra Cryo in the fermenter to great effect. These new season hops were incredible.
Spectrum: another new one for Brew By Numbers, Spectrum is a “revolutionary new liquid hop product that delivers full dry-hop characteristics”. This innovative product allowed us to explore a new dry-hop technique and we are one of the very first breweries in the UK to do so. We were very lucky to get our hands on both Mosaic and Citra Spectrum from John Haas and the aroma and flavour that this product provides was awesome.
Our last Triple IPA came in at 9.5% but for this beer we really wanted to push it to 10% for a bigger mouthfeel and greater body. We also added a lot of oats to the malt bill for a smooth and creamy foundation on which to present the massive hop flavours. For the yeast we decided on using the New England strain. It is the perfect yeast to handle a beer of this magnitude and we love its fruit-forward esters and stone fruit profile – the perfect match for the Mosaic and Citra.
The result is a beer far exceeding our expectations. A complex aroma of strawberry jam and raspberry frubes develops into fresh peach and overripe mango. On the palate the beer starts with notes of sweet tangerine, sticky mango slices and mouth-watering guava before finishing with a balanced marmalade bitterness. The finished package is everything we wanted it to be and a hell of a lot more – we really hope you enjoy drinking it as much as we enjoyed making it.