***UPDATE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST***
Sometimes you just don’t want to be drunk. I know, right? Who would say such a thing? I like to have a cold beer most days of the week but I recognise that this kind of habit could end up having a significant impact on my health and or ping pong skills.
Rather than do something stupid like, I don’t know, not have any beer, I decided to brew something with very low alcohol with a tonne of flavour and aroma. Enter Tiny The Elder, a big hop driven cross pollination of an American IPA and British IPA. Maybe I should have called it Civil War or something.
Now there are some significant challenges when brewing a beer like this. The biggest issue is getting enough body in the beer and then balancing that with the hops. Much harder than you would expect. Murrays do a great example of a low alcohol IPA called The Retro Rocket. I couldn’t find any clones on the internet so I asked Shawn Sherlock, Head Brewer at Murray’s, for some tips. And I quote:
“Some tips for what it is worth: Go for a very high mash temp. Use more crystal malts than you would normally think of using. Basically you want to make the beer as dextriny as you can because body is hard to achieve at the very light ABV. Keep your hop bitterness to gravity ratio the same as you would for a standard IPA and go very hard with your late additions in particular. British yeasts are also good for the style as you can get some that tend to floc out quickly leaving plenty of body behind.”
What a boss. In summary:
- Use a high mash temp – the higher you mash, the more long chain sugars get left in the wort. Long chain sugars are harder for yeast to consume so you are left with beer that is slightly thicker.
- Use a decent amount of Crystal malts. Crystal malts contain sugars that are less fermentable, so you are left with a residual sweetness and body to the final brewed beer.
- Use the same hop bitterness to gravity ratio as you would for a regular IPA. Easy. Go hard on late additions for extra aroma.
- British yeasts are best. I’m going to use White Labs standard English Strain – WLP002. I chose this one because it attenuates pretty low – about 63% – 70%. Translation? More body in the finished beer.
And so without further adue, I present
Tiny The Elder
Batch Volume: 13.00 l (This is my test batch size. Allows me to brew more and means I don’t get stuck with a crappy beer, if things don’t work out).
Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.024 SG
OG: 1.028 SG
FG: 1.012 SG
Apparent Attenuation:: 65.9 %
Target ABV: 2.7 %
IBU: 46.7 IBU
Color: 13.7 EBC
Actual Fermentation Temp: 18 degC, ramped up to 21C at the end of primary
UK Pale Ale Malt – 1.800 kg (82.2 %)
Caramunich – 0.170 kg (7.8 %)
Munich Malt – 0.130 kg (5.9 %)
Medium Crystal – 0.090 kg (4.1 %)
5 g US Columbus(Tomahawk) (13.9 %), 60 Min
10 g US Cascade 6.8 %, 20 Min
10 g US Citra 13.4 % 15 Min
10g US Cascade 6.8 % 10 Min
15g US Citra 13.4 % 5 Min
18g US Citra 13.4 % At turn off
5g US Columbus(Tomahawk) At turn off
WLP002 English Ale Yeast
Mash at 69C for 60 minutes.
Reached 1.013 SG in 2.5 days. It’s still conditioning and I may or may not dry hop. Depends what the aroma is like in a week or so. Will report back on the taste ASAP.
It’s been some time since I’ve brewed this and I actually have done a few variations since then. Firstly, the recipe above tasted great. The only criticism I had is that the bitterness was pretty intense which made the body seem a bit thinner than I think it was.
My latest version of this is the best by far and I now used mostly Munich malt, with a bit of Marris Otter and some Carapils. You could certainly replace some of these with other Crystal malts but the key is keeping the Munich edition at a fairly high %.. Normally in an American style IPA you try and reduce the malt profile so that the hops can shine through, but at this gravity it just isn’t possible to give the hops the profile they need without getting some malt complexity and depth in there.
Notes: I brew 15 litre batches but the grain %s are there and so are bitterness to gravity units so just adjust for your own system. I also changed the way I hopped this in the hope of keeping the bitterness under control and the flavour and aroma “way over the top”. To this end I “hop burst” all my additions and used a “first wort hop” instead of a standard bittering edition in order to mellow the bitterness a little.
|Original Gravity (OG): 1.030|
|IBU’s (Tinseth): 30|
|Bitterness to Gravity Ratio: 1|
|The Grain Bill|
|30% Maris Otter (6 EBC = 3 SRM) 765 grams = 1.69 pounds!|
|60% Munich (15 EBC = 7.6 SRM) 1529 grams = 3.37 pounds!|
|10% Carapils 255 grams = 0.56 pounds!|
|The Hop Bill|
|9.3 IBU Cascade Pellets (6.5%AA) 7.9 grams = 0.278 ounces at 90 mins (First Wort Hopped)|
|7.1 IBU Galaxy Pellets (14.8%AA) 7.9 grams = 0.278 ounces at 10 mins|
|3.1 IBU Cascade Pellets (6.5%AA) 7.9 grams = 0.278 ounces at 10 mins|
|1.2 IBU Wai-ti Pellets (3.5%AA) 10.5 grams = 0.371 ounces at 5 mins|
|2.3 IBU Cascade Pellets (6.5%AA) 10.5 grams = 0.371 ounces at 5 mins|
|5.2 IBU Galaxy Pellets (14.8%AA) 10.5 grams = 0.371 ounces at 5 mins|
|0 IBU All Hops Pellets (3.5%AA) 31.6 grams = 1.113 ounces at mins (Dry Hopped)|
|1.7 IBU Wai-Ti Pellets (3.5%AA) 7.9 grams = 0.278 ounces at 10 mins|
|Mash Type: Pure BIAB (Full Volume Mash) for 60 mins at 71 C = 159.8 F|
|Fermention: S-04 Safale for 3 days at 18 C = 64.4 F. Conditioned for a week after that|