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To India and Beyond

The Imperial Black IPA was allowed to sit in primary fermentation for a full weeks to give the yeast enough time to convert all that sugar to alcohol.  It will now condition in a glass carboy for an additional two weeks before being kegged.

A common question is “how did India Pale Ales (IPA) get their name?”  The answer has nothing to do with Bollywood, outsourcing, heartburn, or anything else associated with Indian culture or food.  IPAs are not brewed with Indian ingredients or in India, but rather were brewed for travel to India. 


The long voyage to India

In the mid 19th century, thirsty and sober Englishmen in India wanted their ales shipped to them.  Without the modern luxuries of air travel, refrigeration, and the Souz Canal, beer would spoil on the long boat voyage.  To battle beer funk, brewers turned to hops.  Hops have a natural preservative quality and when added to beer after primary fermentation will not only help the beer’s shelf life but will also impart favorable aromas.  Hence the IPA was born with its characteristic hop aromatics and flavors.

The Imperial Black IPA is a twist on the classic style, but those same hop notes are still desired.  That being the case, it is only natural that we add hops to secondary fermentation in a practice known as dry hopping.

The beer was carefully siphoned into a glass carboy.  Hops were weighed, placed in a sanitized nylon mesh bag, and submerged in the beer.  They’ll stay in the carboy for the full two weeks of conditioning before being removed when the beer is kegged.  A small amount of the swill was taken for a taste and some measurements.  By all accounts it tastes great and a quick check showed the alcohol content was up to 8.5% ABV.

        
Hops in the hop bag                                                           Nice work, yeast!

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