There’s been a lot of discussion with regards to this new beer style. For one, no one is exactly sure what to call it – Black IPA, American Black Ale or Cascadian Dark Ale. Also, there’s been some disagreement as to where it started. Most importantly, I think there’s a lot of discussion with regards to how to make this beer black and keep it an IPA. Some suggest that you just need to add Sinamar to color it black, but my rule (as I’ve mentioned previously, I have certain rules that I follow when making some beers) for Black IPA is it must not be colored with Sinamar and must have some sort of roasted characteristic.
Well, I’ve posted the recipe for this black IPA over at the recipe page and there are a few things I would change this regards to this beer. For one, I would use a more attenuative yeast or mash lower because 1.020 is far too high for the finishing gravity of this beer. The level of roastiness from this beer is excellent, while the caramel character is good, but a little too much. Caramunich III is fine, but the Caramel 120L is a little too much, so in the next brew I’d probably bring that down to Caramel 80L. Also, I would most likely reduce the bittering hops knowing that some the bitterness for this beer comes from the roasted grains. Finally, I would increase all of the finishing hops because I think this beer should really be over the top with citrus-y goodness in the finish.
Overall, though, I’m drinking the beer right now and it is completely drinkable. I think it just toes the line too closely to an American Stout, so those are the changes I would make to this recipe the next time around.
An update on Requiem’s Rollercoaster – the fermentation was strong enough to clog the airlock and cause a mini-explosion. Luckily, there was minimal beer loss and I quickly sanitized and changed out the airlock. Still cruising at around 61F, so another day or two and the fermentation is probably done.