Our first special beer of 2012 is a Black IPA, we’ve called ‘Magic 8 Ball’. Black IPA’s have been causing a bit of controversy over the last few years mainly over the perceived oxymoronic naming of these very hoppy but dark coloured beers, ‘how can a beer be both ‘black’ and ‘pale’ people complain.
Breweries have been using a few different names for beers of this style including “Cascadian Dark Ale”, “India Black Ale” and even just “Hoppy Porter” but the name that seems to have stuck so far is ‘Black IPA’. There have been hundreds of articles and blog posts on the subject so i’m not going to go in to the arguments for and against again but here are a couple of posts worth reading here and here
Wherever you stand on the argument you have to admit that ‘black IPA’ is a perfect description of what you’re going to get, the beer is black but the flavour of the beer is all about the hops; the naming is in-ellegant but as a way of describing how the beer will taste, its perfect.
Whatever you like to call them we’re big fans and always planned on brewing a version. As with most versions of the style Magic 8 Ball uses special de-husked malt to deliver the necessary black colour with as little roasted malt flavour as possible. Once the beer had finished in the kettle we transfered it through our hop back which was filled with kilo after kilo of whole leaf Cascade and Columbus hops to deliver the hoppy IPA punch we were after.
After fermentation was finished we decided we’d follow suit with some of our favourite black IPA’s and dry hopped the beer heavily with New Zealand hops (Nelson Sauvin in this case) to give it bags of tropical aroma and flavour.
The finished beer has a big upfront hoppy aroma and tropical hop flavour with a smooth mouth feel and strong licqorice flavour typical of Black IPA’s. We’re really pleased with the beer, especially served slightly cooler from the fridge but its extreme hop character might split opinion especially while the beer is still very fresh.
The entire first brew went for bottling and the bottles are now available from our web shop here. The second batch we brewed will all be kegged later this week and available in the usual outlets soon.
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