BEERGASM: Hops and IPAs (American, F*** Yea!)

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Bianca Handley og Lars Gjessing, Beergasm.

«Beergasm» is written by Lars Gjessing and Bianca Handley.

With its bold unapologetic flavors, the IPA is an ale people tend to either love or hate. We have refrained from calling this beer by its traditional name, «India Pale Ale», as, historically, these beers were neither pale, nor did they travel to or from India. The modern craft beer industry has developed the IPA into a style synonymous with a balanced, hop-forward ale, which is not to be confused with English IPAs or Pale Ales.

Hops
Let us start our conversation about IPAs with the basics: Hops. There are many different kinds of hops, and with modern agriculture, new hop variations are being cultivated all the time. Hops are the flower of the hop plant, Humulus lupulus (Hops = Humle in Norwegian).

The hop plant is a vine that prefers to grow in temperate climates which is why the three major producers of hops are Germany, the US and Ethiopia. To get a little technical, hops contain Alpha Acids, Beta Acids, Essential Oils and Flavonoids. When hops are added to the beer during wort boiling, the alpha acids are thermally isomerized which adds bitter flavors to the beer. Different hops contain different essential oils such as lupulin that impart flavor and aroma to a beer, but also possess antibiotic properties, which suppress bacteria allowing the yeast to flourish in the fermentation tank.

Dry Hopping is when you add hops to the fermentation, so they do not go through the boiling. This is important because oils are volatile, which means they evaporate more quickly, and thus much of the flavor and aroma imparted by the oils in hops is lost during the boil. So adding hops after the boil gives the produced beer more hop flavor.

American Pale Ale. In general, American Pale Ale’s will have less hops than the IPA, but hops will still be the focus of the flavor of the beer. Because of the reduced use of hops, the pale ale will have less bitterness as well as less hop flavor as the hops

IPA. A very hoppy, and bitter pale ale, but can also be Red, Black, White, Brown, Rye or Belgian, depending on the malt and yeast that is used. The English IPA falls under a completely different style due to the combination of English yeast and English hops used.

Imperial IPA. If you see the word «imperial» used in association with a beer, it is going to mean that the beer has a higher alcohol content. Therefore, the Imperial IPA will normally have a higher alcohol content and more hop flavor to balance the increased alcohol content. It can also have more sweetness.

Session IPA: If you see the word «session» used in association with a beer, it is going to mean that the beer has a lower alcohol content. Therefore, the Session IPA will be similar to an over-hopped pale ale.

Recommendations of the month

VestkystLervig – Lucky Jack: Grapefruit Edition
Vinmonopolet: To be released this summer, keep a look out!
Country: Stavanger, Norway.
This beer can be found only on tap right now because it’s a special release, but will be released in bottles/cans for Summer 2016. It is a bright, fruit forward beer with mild bitterness and lots of flavor added by the grapefruit. It has lots of fruity hop aroma and a crisp finish that makes it the perfect summer beer!

 

lervigKinn – Vestkyst
Vinmonopolet: 99.90 Kr (75 cl)
Country: Norway.
Alcohol content: 7.0 percent ABV
The nice thing about getting beers, specifically IPAs, from Norwegian breweries is the hop flavors will be fresher. Kinn does a very nice IPA with lots of citrus hop flavors balanced with caramel maltiness.

 

The next «Mesk til Mask» Monday hangout will be April 4th. For more info contact meskmask@gmail.com.

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