So why a Black IPA? When this style started becoming popular in the USA I become fascinated by the style, which at the time was being referred to as a Cascadian Dark Ale (named after the Cascade mountain range, which also gave its name to the hop, because the beer style was being made in Oregon.)
In 2009 we started bottling Armageddon IPA. The same year, Apocalypse was brewed for the first time.
The key behind making a Black IPA is to keep all the hop aroma and flavour of an IPA and just get the black colour. Well my first attempt left me a little disappointed, as beyond the wonderful fruity hop notes there was a dominant liquorice character from the roast malts I had used. It was very much like a liquorice allsort, which was kind of cool, but wasn’t what I was looking for.
After five years of dwelling on this experience, and the style, arguing whether it should be called a Cascadian Dark Ale, a Black IPA (Black and Pale in the name, really?), or an India Black Ale.
Tasting as many different brewers BIPA’s, and talking to brewers about how they achieved their black colour but minimal taste, I was finally confident to give it another shot.
I am totally thrilled with how the Epic Apocalypse Black IPA has turned out. I hope you are too.
It has been touted as Epic Armageddon’s black brother, but I have used slightly different hops for this version of an IPA. Amarillo, Simcoe, Citra and Chinook. Don’t ask me why, I just felt that the flavours of these hops together would work well in this beer.
You will notice that the hop aroma is pretty significant, and this follows into the flavour, where it marries with a hint of roasty malt notes, and finishes clean, bitter and an after taste of hops. The bottled version of this beer is 6.8%abv which is higher than the keg only version which was 6.0%abv. The reason for trying this out is when people drink at the pub they generally like to have a couple of beers. Beers that are too high in alcohol tend to make it harder for them to drink responsibly. But on the flip side people that buy a bottle to take home (or get it delivered) can enjoy the extra flavour of bigger beers in the safety of their home. 😉
Hopefully you enjoy the beer. I’d love to hear what you think about it. (The blue and green stripe is inspired by the flag of Cascadia)