Anatomy of a Crooked Run Ale

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I have a lot of recipes I’ve developed for Crooked Run, and I can’t resist making up new ones all the time.  One of these was my Halloween IPA, Hellfire.  I premiered this beer last Thursday and it sold faster than any other beer I have put on tap over the weekend.  The feedback was absolutely fantastic: IPA fans LOVED this beer.

I really pride myself on recipe formulation.  As a homebrewer, I’ve brewed hundreds of different batches of beer.  You can read about ingredients but until you have used them, you won’t know how to fit them together properly.  I don’t know every style and malt inside and out, but I do know some pretty well.

Hellfire represented something pretty special and unique, and on this post I wanted to let people know what goes into a Crooked Run ale.  Let me break it down bit by bit.

Hellfire Black IPA: A jet black IPA with a complex hop aroma and smooth malt profile.  Dark, but not roasty, with a massive Mosaic hop flavor.

60% U.S. two row malt: American two row barley is very neutral, letting the specialty grains and hops take center stage.

20% Vienna malt: I wanted Hellfire to be more than just a black colored IPA.  I use Vienna malt in any beer that I want to add an increased malt backbone to.  Unlike caramel malt, Vienna will not add as much unfermentable sugar, and will keep the beer dry.  I also use Vienna in my dark saison and American pale ale.  It is one of my favorite malts.

7.5% Caramel 15 malt: An IPA needs a hefty dose of light caramel malt to give it some backbone to hold up the bitterness.

7.5% table sugar: My house yeast is Wyeast 1968, which has a very low level of attenuation.  In order to make a nice, crisp IPA I need to use a fair amount of sugar to dry the beer out.

5% Carafa special III: I use Carafa, which is a German de-husked roasted barley, to add dark color and a small hint of smooth roastiness.  Normal roasted malts add astringency, but since Carafa has no husk, it is very smooth.  This is very important for a black IPA.

Cascade and Mosaic hops: I used a large amount of these hops in Hellfire.  Cascade is a classic American hop, and Mosaic is a new variety that was released last year and has quickly become one of the most in-demand hops on the market.  It has a lot of fruit flavor, especially peach and melon.  I wanted this beer to be very unique, so I used a massive amount of Mosaic hops in the dry hop stage.

English ale yeast: I use the same yeast strain as Fuller’s brewery in London for all my American and English beers.  Wyeast 1968 leaves a full malt profile, drops crystal clear, and has a bit more flavor than American ale yeast.

So that is what went into this beer.  I put an equal amount of time and thought into every beer I make.  I am committed to offering well-crafted beers that are good examples of their respective styles.  I can’t wait to show you all the rest of the beers I have in store!


About crookedrunbrewing

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3 Responses to Anatomy of a Crooked Run Ale

  1. Ben says:

    What was the reasoning behind using table sugar rather than something like corn sugar or a different adjunct flavor? I have never used table sugar because people have said it can give an “apple” taste. Whether this is true or not I am not sure, any knowledge on this would be great, thanks!

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