American Black Ale,Cascadian Dark, Black IPA, Bitter Black Ale, Hoppy Dark ale

Dark Embrace_Bitter End-American Black Ale
It's been exactly a month since my last brew day which is probably the longest I've gone between brew sessions in almost 2 years. If you've seen my blog lately it consists mostly of gangster rap, which is all good because that's where my roots are growing up in P-town in the 90's.   Nothing screams gangsta like a bunch a white boys in suburbia with bumps in the trunk.   But, I'd like to bring it back up to where this blog should be which is brewing beer.

Late last year, 2010, my homebrew club, Northeast Homebrew Club, decided to do a Single Hops IPA experiment. We'll be tasting the five IPA's on the 15th and I'm really pumped for that. Since I'm on an experimental IPA kick, I decided that I might as well do a Black IPA, or CDA, or whatever you wanna call it. I'm getting all crazy with the hops in this one with a goal of mixing Piney, and Citrus hops successfully with the flavor being more Citrus, and the Aroma being more Piney. Hopefully this hop bill will create this effect.  I think that the aroma of piney and roasted malts will play together nicely, and then a backbone of burned Citrus(Centennial hops?) will really make for a nice Black IPA. I think I'll add the Carafa III in the last 20 minutes of the mash to reduce the roasted flavors typically derived from a full pound of this specialty grain.

Here's what I'm looking at!

%     LB OZ Malt                                              ppg °L
60% 9    0 American Two-row Pale (organic)    37   1
20% 3    0 Vienna Malt                                      36   3
7%   1    0 Carafa III (added last 20 minutes)  32   525
7%   1    0 Flaked Oats                                     33  2
3%   0    8 American Crystal 60L                       34  60
3%   0    8 American Dextrin (Cara-Pils)            33  1
        15  0
Original Gravity
Final Gravity
39° SRM / 76° EBC

hops                       oz   variety          aa

first wort 60+ mins 1.0 Columbus     15.4
first wort 60+ mins 1.0 Chinook        13.0

boil 60 mins            0.5 Magnum       14

boil 20 mins           1.0 Centennial     10.0

boil 15 mins           0.25 Columbus   15.4
boil 15 mins           0.25 Centennial  10.0

boil 10 mins           0.25 Centennial   10.0
boil 10 mins           0.25 Columbus    15.4

boil 1 min              0.5 Columbus      15.4
boil 1 min              0.5 Centennial    10.0
boil 1 min              1.0 Chinook       13.0

dry hop                 0.5 Centennial     10.0
dry hop                 1.0 Simcoe          13.0
dry hop                 1.0 Chinook        13.0

100+ IBU 
7.5% ABV

Brew day shall be, whenever I get the time in the next week!  Today, tomorrow, we shall see.  I'll update with actual OG, and brew day notes.

1.15.11 - Brew day went pretty dang smooth.  Crushed the grains.  Mashed in at 153 held for 60 minutes.  After 40 minutes I added in my 1 lb. of Carafa III.   After 60 minutes temp of mash had come down to 149.   Might turn out to be a lighter mouth-feel then I wanted, but should be fine.   Sparged at 166 for 20 minutes.  Boiled for 60 minutes and added a whole bunch of C hops!  Cooled in 10 minutes.   Gotta love that MN winter tap water at 45 degrees!  Fermenting vigorously after 12 hours at 62 degrees!  Came out extremely dark, and will probably be dark brown to black with a slight reddish, amber hue when held up to the light.   Roasted aroma and flavor were very subdued and almost non existent.  We shall see.

3.14.11 - Steve's tasting notes.  Very Black-Opaque.  Little foam.  Subtle Aroma-Matly?, Heavy mouthfeel.  Bitter and Tasty and Fruity.  Lingering dry finish.   He said he'd give it a 11.5 on a 1-10 scale.   I guess he liked it, and commented that he liked it better then Odell's Double Black IPA.    (I was actually inspired by this Odell beer because I thought it was way too sweet, and way too roasty and was trying to create something similar but less sweet, and less roasty.)


  1. Sounds like an interesting beer. I like the idea of trying to tone down the roasted flavour, which is one thing I dont like about most Black IPAs, the palette gets too confused between the hop bitterness and the bitterness of the grain. Looking forward to hearing how it turns out. Great website by the way.


  2. Yo BB, thanks for reachin out! Hopefully this Black Ale turns out to be killer! Although I haven't loved the commercial examples of the style, too sweet and roasty for my liking, I'm hoping that adding the Carafa at the end, and mashing lower (149ish) will get me where I want to be! If not, I have thirsty, thirsty friends that love hop bombs!

  3. Nick this beer was absolutely awesome at the meeting yesterday. I was going to email you for the recipe, so thanks for posting it here. I think I'm going to try brewing this on March 5th.

  4. cheers man, thanks for comin out. Glad you liked the Black Ipa! If you brew this, just make sure to add the carafa at the very end of the mash (otherwise it will be more bitter and roasty). Or else if you do extract batch, they have this stuff called sinamar(extract).


  5. Hey Nick - I'm buying supplies after work today to brew your Dark Embrace (AG) on Saturday. What yeast did you use? I'm partial to White Labs, so if you used Wyeast I'll probably use the White Labs equivalent, but I just wanted to know what that was. Here's a White Labs ale yeast chart:


  6. p.s. did you do a starter? If so, what DME did you use?

  7. I used Wyeast American Ale II - 1272. So WLP051 California V Ale is the equivalent. It produces a little bit more of a fruity character compared to Wyeast 1056/WLP001. I like it mo betta!


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