“EMPIRE STRIKES BACK” All-English IPA Release Parties
Thursday, March 4th
Moon & Sixpence Pub
2014 NE 42nd Ave, Portland
Friday, March 5th
Brother John’s Public House
1227 NW Galveston Ave, Bend
We’ll be in attendance to talk shop and raffle off some schwag at both of these events.
Charlie talks about the Beer:
EMPIRE STRIKES BACK is a concept beer that answers the question, “what happens when you make a big Northwest-style IPA with all-English malt and hops?” We are unabashedly local when it comes to raw materials here at Double Mountain, and rightly so, given their impeccable quality. But as a big fan of big British beers, I figured a Brit-inspired brew (on steroids) would make for a nice contrast to our regular line-up. And so I decided to use my self-allotted once-a-year recipe (last year’s was Das Boot, an altbier) to give it a go. Our brewer Kyle Larsen brought me up to speed on the current ins-and-outs of our brewing system and we knocked out the batch together.
Straight out of the gate, we knew this would be a malty affair, as the Maris Otter “pale” malt from Crisp Maltings appeared anything but pale. Maris Otter is floor-malted and turned by hand, which suggest some inherent variability. Our batch of 20 bags was a darkish khaki color with some mild scorch marks — not at all like our beloved house Pilsner malt grown in British Columbia. We added a bag of Crisp “Coloured Malt” to add richness and color. The malt yielded particularly well, giving us a nicely high starting gravity above what we’d been shooting for. (In our world, this is a good problem to have…)
As expected, the Fuggles and Kent Goldings hops we sourced via Hopunion were very muted by Yakima standards; the Fuggles were nicely spicy, the Goldings herbal. We packed the hopback with copious quantities, then saved a bunch for dry-hopping. After a two week fermentation with our house yeast, we rested the beer on 1+ lbs per barrel of Goldings for about two weeks. The final product came in at around 6% ABV and 65 BU.
The resulting beer is big and aromatically malty, very mouth-filling for its strength, with a decided lean towards sticky toffee flavors and aromas. The hopping almost devoid of the citrus character we associate with “hoppy” beers here in the Northwest, but they do provide a backbone of clean bitterness, and a tad of spicy/herbal hop aroma. The mid-palate hop flavors are pretty much overwhelmed, however, by the massive malt attack. Definitely a malt-lover’s IPA…I don’t think anyone would ever guess it had over three lbs per barrel of hops in it. But that’s how it goes in the world of one-off brewing.
So if you’re psyched to take a brief (and I do mean brief — we only made about 40 kegs’ worth) sojourn into the land of malty goodness, come find me at one of the gigs listed above. I’ll be waiting. Cheers, Charlie Devereux