The winter stout is sold out. I could have made more but I’m out of the specially roasted coffee and without it the beer would not be the same. So unpack your Speedos and thongs, spring is officially here!
Atlantic IPA, like IPA, is a name of a beer which is not constrained by having any specific meaning. I did argue that it was a silly name when we first used it back in 2003. You could sail the Atlantic forever and still not arrive in India. Since then another brewery have used the name to convey the American nature of their Atlantic IPA so I suppose the Atlantic aspect of the name (nomenclature) qualifies the IPA rather than describing it. For a few years Sharp’s Atlantic IPA has only been a bottle brand but now it has returned to the cask in a new guise.
Rather like a celebrity who puts on a load of weight before losing it and making a fitness DVD, Atlantic IPA is back and far sexier! When I walked past FV14 (containing the Atlantic IPA) at 6 the other morning I found myself stricken by an attack of Tourette’s. I don’t know what possessed me but I spontaneously shouted “sex!”. Fortunately none of the brewing team were in the vicinity to misinterpret this as a request. I have since determined that the root cause of this reaction were the hops in Atlantic IPA.
The pulse quickens as I type Centennial, Simcoe and Citra. Yes the hops which automatically make you a good brewer are finally in my hop store and this beer. I am shifting the stock of my trophy cabinet to accommodate the variously-shaped accolades which are sure to follow. Citra as you are no doubt aware is very high in linalool, geraniol, beta-citronellol and alpha-terpineol all of which are found in various fruits and scents from the across the natural world. This means that the fragrance it imparts in beer is reminiscent of these alluring natural aromas (grapefruit, passion fruit, gooseberry, lime and lychee). There is a line of argument which suggests that if you are going to selectively breed hops to have high yields of these oils you might as well add a blend of the purified essential oils to beer to give you the notes on the aroma. That of course is wrong because purification is unnatural and forcing hops to breed in a state of the art laboratory until the DNA analysis reveals that you have the right genotype is simply giving Mother Nature a helping hand.
Along with the vast quantities of fragrant oils Citra et al. have very high levels of bitterness (alpha acids). I have added all of the A-list hops to Atlantic IPA in the hop back to control the extracted bitterness. I have also used a hot thick mash and low colour special malts to balance the bitterness with sweet fullness.
The beer is yet to be racked but I am very pleased with how it is tasting in FV. I am going to run the beer past the flavour panel before I release it, just to check that I haven’t happened upon a Tourette’s-inducing beer.