Jeff Longland

Relax, don't worry – have a home brew!

Vista IPA

with one comment

Vista IPAI’ve been relaxing this evening, drinking Swan’s Extra IPA and Driftwood Fat Tug – both 5 star beers in my opinion.  So it may not be a fair time to write this review of Vista IPA…  but I know this batch has some flaws and this review has been on my mind for a few weeks.  Vista IPA is a recipe that I’ve been playing with for most of my homebrewing ‘career’.  It started around Christmas 2010, an extract and partial mash beer based on Dan’s Grapefruit Bitter.  I cranked up the hops, but mostly kept the ratio of pale malt, carastan and wheat.  I entered the beer in the VanBrewers 2011 competition as JLo’s Jolly IPA and it did quite well, with 40/50 and 35/50 scores.

I eventually renamed the recipe in honour of the LMS that I have spent a decade supporting – Blackboard Learn Vista (nee WebCT Vista).  The name change came as I brewed one September evening.  While the grains were mashing, I was reviewing logs and graphs, trying to identify the cause of a recent outage.  It struck me that my struggle to find the root cause was similar to my quest for a well-balanced homebrew IPA – elusive.  But to call Vista IPA a recipe…  the term doesn’t fit.  It’s constantly changing.  It’s a project where I change something with every batch: adjust the ratio of the malts, substitute different hops, try a different yeast, etc.  Since it’s inception, I’ve transitioned to all-grain brewing and now use Maris Otter malt as the base of this beer.  With some Wyeast 1968, a batch of Vista IPA took 3rd place in the IPA category at the VanBrewers 2012 competition.  Possibly my proudest moment as a homebrewer!

Sadly, this batch doesn’t live up to that award winning batch.  Worse still, I shared it with a bunch of colleagues.  Nobody seemed too bothered by it, and some even asked for bottles to take home.  But Joe has tasted a number of the Vista IPA batches and commented that this one was off.  I really appreciate that sort of feedback…  because it’s how I feel about this batch.  So what’s different?

  • Well, the efficiency was lower than expected and the boil was rather long.
  • Fermentation wasn’t as temperature-controlled as I would like, but it was always below 20C.
  • I added dextrose and that likely drove the final gravity down, making it a bit dry.   Bottles have likely dropped a few points below the final gravity of 1.010 when it was bottled, further drying the beer.
  • The sourness suggests an infection – which is supported by the extreme carbonation in every bottle. There was a comment that the beer was more like a hoppy saison – dry, highly carbonated, and light.  But I’m not really sure where the infection originated.  I’ve recently bought new fermenter buckets and recent batches aren’t infected (fingers crossed I won’t run into this problem again).
  • Inattentive brew?  I had some assistant brewers (and BBQers..  and beer drinkers).

Appearance – Deep gold, hazy.  Very carbonated. Head is big bubbles, supported by many finer bubbles constantly bubbling.

Aroma – Hops and slight sourness.

Taste –  Fruity hops, grapefruit, spice and sourness. Harsh bitter finish, some spicy notes.

Mouthfeel – Very light and carbonated.  Very carbonated.  Dry finish.

Drinkability/Notes – Normally, a batch of IPA doesn’t last long in my household – it’s my favourite style.  Even when I have a batch that’s flawed (I’ve had a long-running oxidation issue), I’ve finished the batches without problem.  This…  I still have a few bottles and will opt to drink pretty much anything else.  The sourness and lingering, dry bitterness is off-putting.  Nonetheless, I’ll re-attempt this soon – especially since I have some rare Amarillo – a hop that I used in both of my competition batches of this beer.  It adds a great fruity taste and smell.

Vista IPA Recipe

Wort Volume Before Boil: 7.00 US gals
Wort Volume After Boil: 6.10 US gals
Volume Transferred: 6.00 US gals
Volume At Pitching: 6.00 US gals
Final Batch Volume: 5.00 US gals
Expected Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.046 SG
Actual Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.040 SG
Expected OG: 1.059 SG
Actual OG: 1.055 SG
Expected FG: 1.015 SG
Actual FG: 1.010 SG
Expected Efficiency: 60.0%
Actual Efficiency: 52.0%
Expected ABV: 5.9 %
Actual ABV: 6.0 %
Expected IBU: 66
Expected Color: 8.3 SRM
Boil Duration: 60.0 mins

UK Maris Otter Malt 12.00 lb – 78.7 %
Wheat Malt – 1.50 lb – 9.8%
Carastan Malt – 1.00 lb – 6.6%
Dextrose – 0.75 lb – 4.9%

Zeus (15.9% alpha) 29 g – First wort hopped
Centennial (8.5% alpha) 14 g – 30 mins
Cascade (6.5% alpha) 14 g – 15 mins
Centennial (8.5% alpha) 14 g – 5 mins
Cascade (6.5% alpha) 14 g – 5 mins
Chinook (10.5% alpha) 14 g – 5 mins
Centennial (8.5% alpha) 28 g – 0 mins
Cascade (6.5% alpha) 28 g – 0 mins
Chinook (10.5% alpha) 28 g – 0 mins
Centennial (8.5% alpha) 42 g – dry-hopped
Zeus (15.9% alpha) 28 g – dry-hopped
Chinook (10.5% alpha) 18 g – dry-hopped

Other Ingredients
Yeast: Wyeast 1968 London ESB Ale
Mash started at 160F and dropped to 155F after 60 mins. (target was 155F)


Written by jlongland

January 4, 2013 at 9:13 pm

Posted in Homebrew, Uncategorized

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One Response

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  1. Sounds wonderful! Yes, I subscribed.

    Sent from my iPad

    Luca Filipozzi

    January 4, 2013 at 11:14 pm

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