What to hear something strange? I love India Pale Ales (or IPA for short). But that’s not the weird part. I’ve been home brewing beer for over a year now and I have yet to brew an IPA. Now that’s weird, right?
As you can tell from the title of this post I still have not brewed an IPA but I’m getting close. Take out the D and put in a P and I’m practically there! I brewed up the Pirates Plunder India Dark Ale from Northern Brewer and while it is close to an IPA, it has it’s own identity that is not to be mistaken for an IPA.
The IDA is similar to an IPA as it has a lot of hops, but unlike most IPA’s it is darker in color. The hops are plentiful in this beer starting with the first dose of the US Magnum hop. Magnum is a hop that is known for it’s neutral bitterness (and all this time you thought it was just Zoolander’s signature look).
So the Magnum hop is adding some flavor but it’s not going to give the beer too much bitterness. The next hop addition is the Brewer’s Gold Hop. This hop has a spicy flavor with a fruity black current aroma. The next hop addition is the Cascade Hop. This is a widely used hop in pale ales, ambers and IPAs. It has a grapefruit citrus flavor and aroma (and it’s one of my favorite hops).
Since this kit had so many hop and malt additions I found it easiest to lay everything out in the order that it was needed in. I probably wouldn’t need to lay them out in order if my brewing assistant, Boomer, would wake up from taking a nap. You can never get good help these days.
The last hop addition is an additional punch of Cascade Hops, but this time it’s dry hopped. YUM! Never heard of dry hopping? After the beer has has been fermenting you add a dose of dried hops to the beer. It gives the beer an extra kick of flavor and if you’re a “hop head” like me, you’ll be pleasantly pleased with that flavor being added to your beer.
As for the brew everything went as it should, including limited beer spilling in all the steps! I have however noticed between the Midwest Supplies and Northern Brewer kits that the Northern Brewer kits take substantially longer to finish than Midwest’s. I am not really sure why that is the case as all the steps between the kits seem to be the same and I am brewing similar beers between the two different companies. For example this IDA took 6 weeks, but could have taken up to 8 weeks, where as Midwest’s kits range from 4 to 6 weeks depending on the brew. Apparently I am eager to get my hands on new beer and that is why I am impatient!
As for tasting notes this beer is dark and rich with roasted flavors. Due to the darker grains and malts, the beer is darker in color than what you would expect from a typical IPA. The flavor is good but for being dry hopped it does not have that extra punch I was looking for, however still drinkable!
Have you ever tried an IDA? Do you like hoppy beers? Drop me a line in the comments.