• Faffy

Reviewing our IPA homebrews!

Updated: Jul 11

We have got to the point now where we have brewed 4 IPAs so we thought it would be a fun learning experience to go through and critically review them all. This should help us have an understanding of what we are doing wrong and right, and how we can improve our next set of homebrew IPAs. IPAs are an incredibly varied style of beer so being able to brew a tasty one that we can be proud of would be amazing. While our beers so far have been good they still have a lot of work to go to be truly award winning IPAs. So the learning continues.


So far we have brewed 4 IPAs. Check out the posts!


Brew 1: Our first IPA brewed using a Wilko IPA kit

Brew 2: Citra SMaSH IPA (First ever all-grain brew)

Brew 3: Simcoe SMaSH IPA

Brew 4: Citrillo WIP IPA (First multiple hop brew)


From the first picture it is clear to see that there is quite a difference in the colours of the 4 beers to date. This is particularly interesting as 3 of all-grain brews (in the clear bottles) were made using Maris Otter malts.


We decided to rate our brews based on 5 categories. Appearance, aroma, taste, mouthfeel and overall impression. Our 4 brews are obviously of different age and we have reviewed them in brew order. This was a fun evening of beer tasting!



First Time IPA

Brew #1

Brew date: 17/02/20

Bottled date: 01/03/20

Ready: 15/03/20

Age at testing: 14 weeks

Brew method: Malt extract kit



Appearance: Rusty, dark brown colour. The beer was crystal clear with very minimal sediment. Looks similar to Abbott Ale in colour.


Aroma: Caramel, toffee and homebrew whiff.


Carbonation: Medium carbonation on this beer with mild bubbles. The head was retained fairly well.


Taste: Apple flavour but not similar to cider. Might be the granulated sugar that we added along with the malt extract syrup used to make this kit beer. Taste like a British IPA/bitter. Has a bitter taste that lingers.


Mouthfeel: Light


Overall impression: I was not a fan of this beer when we first brewed it but it has really improved after 3-months in the bottle. Still not great, definitely not one to share with friends but better than it once was.


Overall rating = 2.75/5 (Me), 3/5 (D)


Recipe and further details on this brew can be found here.




Citra SMaSH IPA

Brew #2

Brew date: 18/04/20

Bottled date: 02/05/20

Ready: 16/05/20

Age at testing: 5 weeks old

Brew method: BIAB All-grain



Appearance: Dark brown colour. Not clear, you can just about see through it and it is not too murky.


Aroma: Toffee & caramel with a raspberry, fruity flavour.


Carbonation: Medium carbonation. Light head which did not last.


Taste: Sweet with a strong lingering boozy taste. Bitter tasting finish which did not last for too long.


Mouthfeel: Creamy feel.


Overall impression: Fruity. Warm very alcoholic taste that you feel and one is definitely enough. Not one for a long session, especially at 6.8%.


Overall rating = 3/5 (Me), 3/5 (D)


Recipe and more details on this brew can be found here.


Simcoe SMaSH IPA

Brew #3

Brew date: 02/05/20

Bottled date: 16/05/20

Ready: 30/05/20

Age at testing: 3 weeks old

Brew method: BIAB All-grain




Appearance: Deep gold. Clear but not crystal clear with some haze. This beer had a lot of sediment with some floating.


Aroma: Floral and fruity orange notes


Carbonation: Large carbonation at the start which settles with a very small head which is not retained.


Taste: Fruity flavour. Bitter, bitter, bitter! A long lasting bitter flavour.

Mouthfeel: Light and thin.


Overall impression: Tasty. Might be my favourite of the homebrews, especially if we can tone down the bitterness and enhance the hop flavour it would be incredible.


Overall rating = 3.75/5 (Me), 4/5 (D)


Recipe and more details on this brew can be found here.




Citrillo WIP IPA

Brew #4

Brew date: 16/05/20

Bottled date: 30/05/20

Ready: 13/06/20

Age at testing: 1 week old

Brew method: BIAB All-grain




Appearance: Light gold colour. Quite an odd colour really. Considering the grain bill is the same as the Simcoe I am unsure why it is so much lighter. Has a hazy appearance but much clearer and much less sediment than the Simcoe and Citra SMaSH beers.


Aroma: Fruity, tart grapefruit flavour.


Carbonation: Low carbonation, decent head retention.


Taste: Sweet with a grapefruit tang at the end. Mild bitterness.


Mouthfeel: Light


Overall impression: I really like this beer. It had a lovely fruity flavour but I think it really needs a hoppy punch to make it an even better beer.


Overall rating = 3.5/5 (Me), 3.25/5 (D)


Recipe and more details on this brew can be found here.



Verdict:

I think we have come a long way with homebrewing so far. We finally have the basic process down and I can see each brew getting slightly better than the one before. I think we need to do much more work to get stronger hop flavours into our IPAs and creating clearer less hazier beers. But we will get there eventually! We are currently trying out different beer styles other than IPAs but will be back to homebrewing IPAs in no time.



Check out all the beers we have brewed so far:

Brew 1: Our first IPA brewed using a Wilko IPA kit

Brew 2: Citra SMaSH IPA (First ever all-grain brew)

Brew 3: Simcoe SMaSH IPA

Brew 4: Citrillo WIP IPA (First multiple hop brew)

Brew 5: Our Black is Beautiful Stout (First non-IPA brew)



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