Posted on 04.30.08 7:42PM under Bottle Conditioning, Brewery In Planning, Brewing, Hops, IPA, Tasting

Mindbender IPA LabelA few weeks ago, I started working on brewing recipes which I intend to use in my real brewery. My first one was the IPA family of beers. Mindbender is a small 3% ABV IPA, and Mindbreaker is a big 9% ABV IPA. These are the beers I made as a partigyle, with two mashes of about 9 lbs each, first three gallons of wort from each going to Mindbreaker, and second three gallons of wort going to Mindbender.

I bottled Mindbender and Mindbreaker on Saturday. Mindbender is predictably conditioning quicker. Since it has a lower alcohol content, the yeast are a lot more zealous attacking that priming sugar I added. Mindbreaker is coming along nicely, just at a more measured pace. What do you expect, I know I move slower when I have more alcohol in me.

Mindbender is moving along so nicely, that it’s almost ready already. My barometer plastic bottles are showing that Mindbender is quite firm, and Mindbreaker is still a day or two behind. This morning before I headed out, I put a bottle of Mindbender in the cold fridge so it would be ready for me when I got home.

As soon as I could after I got home, I popped it open. There was a sudden hiss of CO2 escaping. I was happy. The beer is still quite cloudy, as it hasn’t had a chance to settle out yet. Upon pouring, I could see evidence of carbonation, but not a lot of it. About what you might expect from a cask conditioned mild. Soon this will be thoroughly carbonated, but not quite yet. Still, it had enough CO2 in it to give it a satisfactory beer feeling. Very nice.

I dry hopped this with about an ounce of Centennial for about a week, and you can really smell it in the beer. It blends nicely with the ounce of Willamette I added at flameout to create a soft floral citrus nose with just a slight edge. At first the beer presents a watery middle, with assertive hop lead-in and finish. As you make your way through the glass, the watery aspect is slowly enveloped by the strong hop flavors and bitterness.

PostNatal IPA was my first attempt at a low alcohol IPA-style beer, and it was pretty good, but this is a lot more IPA-tasting than PostNatal. The low starting gravity favors a low finishing gravity, and thus a great dryness that I love in an IPA. The 45 IBU of hops doesn’t sound like a lot, but it stands up very well at this low alcohol. And the dry hops give it a great complete hop character that wasn’t there in PostNatal. Mindbender could almost be mistaken for a full strength IPA, and that’s just what it should taste like.

Mindbender: full strength IPA flavor with only 100 calories per bottle.

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