Jeff Longland

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

Blue Dog IPA: A Blue Dot Clone Attempt

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Continuing to catch-up on brews from earlier this year…

In the summer of 2012, I attended OSCON – which was one of the best conferences that I have ever attended (with the exception of the National Homebrewers Conference). Conveniently, the Portland Convention Center and our hotel were within walking distance of Hair of the Dog Brewing Company. For those of you who aren’t beer geeks, Hair of the Dog is a brewery you’ll find on many beer geeks’ bucket lists – this is evidenced by the high ratings on Beer Advocate.

While there, I got to try to their Blue Dot IPA. It was dank, resinous and citrusy, but not overly bitter. Speaking with the server, he indicated the current recipe was hopped with Amarillo and Simcoe – which explained why I enjoyed it so much. I brought a few bottles home and quickly added it to my list of beers to try to clone on my homebrew rig. Subsequent research suggested that the hop schedule varies with availability, but the key message from brewer Alan Sprints is “I like strong hops, any will do”.

So I put together a recipe and I was ready to go…  until I woke up on brew day and realized I only had 10 pounds of pilsner malt, not the 20 pounds I needed. Given that the closest homebrew shop didn’t open until 11am, I had to improvise and add some pale malt. Given that I had already made one change, I decided to throw in a bit of Cascade to use up what I had in my inventory.

Appearance – Regardless of keg or bottle, fresh or old, this beer had a lot of haze. See the picture if you want to know more about the appearance. Feel free to admire my awesome White Labs stein.

Aroma – Citrus, pine, and a little bit of apple (uh-oh).

Taste  Resinous, dank and some citrus. Some vegetal hop flavours. But as the aroma suggested, there’s green apple flavour – acetaldehyde – which became more pronounced as hop flavour subsided. There’s a bit of spiciness that can be attributed to the rye – it plays well with the Simcoe hops. A bitter finish, perhaps more bitter than I remember Blue Dot being. I get a little bit of alcohol warmth as it goes down my throat.

Mouthfeel  The lower mash temp definitely worked out well. It finishes dry, but still has some body, which can likely be attributed to the rye.

Drinkability/Notes  I was really looking forward to this beer…  and while I enjoyed it fresh, I was let down longer term. Obviously, there’s some acetaldehyde, which I haven’t quite figured out why. Then there’s the vegetal hop flavour from leaving it in-contact with dry hops for an extended period of time. My biggest lesson from this beer is to avoid keg-hopping when the beer will be in contact with hops for more than a week or two. I know plenty of people who put a stainless steel screen on the dip tube in their keg and leave dry hops for the entire duration of the keg…  well, that’s not for me.

Blue Dog IPA Recipe

Specifics
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: 1.076 SG
Actual Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.058 SG
Expected OG: 1.087 SG
Actual OG: 1.078 SG
Expected FG: 1.024 SG
Actual FG: 1.009 SG
Expected Efficiency: 62.0%
Actual Efficiency: 47.5%
Expected ABV: 8.5 %
Actual ABV: 9.2 %
Expected IBU: 140?
Expected Color: 7.0 SRM
Boil Duration: 120.0 mins

Fermentables
Gambrinus ESB Pale Malt 10.25 lb – 44.9%
German Pilsner – 10.00 lb – 43.8%
UK Rye Malt – 2.56 lb – 11.2%

Hops
Apollo (18% alpha) 40 g – First wort hopped
Amarillo (9.5% alpha) 57 g – 20 mins
Simcoe (14.1% alpha) 57 g – 20 mins
Cascade (6.2% alpha) 57 g – 10 mins
Amarillo (9.5% alpha) 57 g – 0 mins
Simcoe (14.1% alpha) 85 g – 0 mins
Cascade (6.2% alpha) 57 g – 0 mins
Amarillo (9.5% alpha) 57 g – Dry-hop
Simcoe (14.1% alpha) 57 g – Dry-hop

Other Ingredients
Yeast: Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale
Mashed at 148F

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Written by jlongland

December 1, 2013 at 8:05 pm

Posted in Homebrew

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