Hopback Summer Lightning & Marston India Pale

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Postby Lyle » Wed Aug 15, 2001 10:20 am


Relax. I was just trying to ruffle your feathers a little. I certainly know that you guys understand your beers! I also give Cass a hard time every time he comes to Buffalo about his IPA-addiction - but it is all in fun!

A few notes though...

1. A "Hopback" is simply a tool used to remove hops from the boil. It is used in even the weakest-hopped lager styles.

2. The "Strong Bitter" style really isn't very bitter. Once upon a time, there were essentially two main types of draft beer in the UK - "bitter" and "mild"

In the strictest sense, a "bitter" is simply more bitter than a "mild" and vice versa. A bitter is a "hop-accented" beer, but not neccesarily a "hoppy beer." Pale Ales and IPAs are progeny of the bitter style. Originally, many considered "pale ale" to just be the bottled version of a "bitter." The "strong" in "strong bitter" is referring to alcohol content, not to bitterness.

In most brewer's portfolios today, the hop levels of their "hop-accented" beers go as follows - ordinary bitter < special/best bitter < strong bitter < extra-special bitter (ESB) < pale ale < IPA. In other words, a "bitter" will usually be less BITTER than a pale ale.

For a great summary of beer styles - go to http://www.mv.com/ipusers/slack/bjcp/style-index.html

Anyway - just to re-iterate. I didn't mean to hurt any feelings - I was just hoping for some lively responses - that's the fun of a discussion forum!

The most important thing is to be PASSIONATE about beer (no questions with you guys - sometimes I think it may be approaching a sickness). And - of course - drink what YOU like!


Lyle Ostrow
Premier Gourmet
3465 Delaware Avenue
Kenmore, NY 14217
tel:(716) 877-3574
email: premierbeer@adelphia.net

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Lyle on 2001-08-15 11:22 ]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Lyle on 2001-08-15 11:23 ]</font>
Josh Oakes
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Postby Josh Oakes » Wed Aug 15, 2001 11:03 am

I'm not going to get too worked up over here - if you know me then you know I don't need to be clubbed over the head - I love mild, dortmunder, Kölsch, White Shield, Budvar and a lot of other subtle, stylish beers. I'm not done with the Summer Lightning yet, anyway, as I have more. But Jon is right about one thing - what the people on this forum want right now is to be bludgeoned with hops. Most of the beers worth drinking in this town are subtle (except for some of the Unibroue and Esprit stuff, which is Belgo-Franco style), and we are craving some hop-oriented absurdity right now.

Thankfully, on September 1st (assuming I find a way down there), we will all get our fill.

But there is one thing that Lyle said which I'm not convinced of...ordinaries are generally quite hoppy, and often have more bitterness than beers higher on the gravity scale. Young's Bitter is a good example - you have to get all the way to Special London to find a comparably hoppy beer on their roster. Same deal with Fuller's, as their special is maltier than their ordinary.

Lastly, I had the Marston's last night - same as I remembered it. Not an IPA, but it is a pretty nicely crafted English ale, though. Good balance on it, some pleasantly chewy malt flavours. I'll take an Owd Rodger or cask Pedigree any day, but it's not bad stuff.
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Postby Lyle » Wed Aug 15, 2001 11:22 am

Can anyone tell I'm working on my computer all day? Sorry for the frequent posts - they break up the monotony of writing my dissertation.

Here's the deal with "bitterness" in an "ordinary bitter." There are a couple of factors here - most important is the concept of "perception of bitterness." In a low gravity style of beer, a few IBUs go a long way. Therefore, "ordinary bitter" often seems quite bitter, because the IBUs are unencumbered by a heavier body, alcohol, or more powerful flavor components. Put the same IBUs in an imperial stout, a brown ale, or even a fuller-bodied ESB, and you'll hardly tast the bitterness at all.

Also, many "ordinary bitters" have wonderfully strong hop AROMAS and FLAVORS. This isn't bitterness.

A perfect example of this idea is from a particular American IPA I know most of you love - Three Floyd's Alpha King. In my book, this is the reigning champ of hop AROMA and right up there as far as hop-flavor goes, but I can name several that are actually more BITTER.

I love IPAs and Pale Ale's that really explode in your schnoz. An example that comes to mind is Otter Creek Pale Ale - which has a delightful and strong hop aroma, but is on the lower end for bitterness.

I truly believe that "bitterness" itself has a "flavor." This is distinct from what most people consider the "flavor components" of the hops. For example, I am personally less fond of high cohumulone hop varietals, because I perceive a lingering "smacking" sort of bitterness on the back of my tongue.

The best way to appreciate the relationship between IBUs and beer styles is to start homebrewing and experiment! Oh - and a great way to satisfy a craving for a super hoppy IPA is to make your own! You'll be surprised how easy it can be to make a pretty damn good IPA.

One more thing - my previous post with the order of hop-bitterness in beer styles is just a rough general guide. Most brewers call their beers whatever they like. And certainly - many would probably disagree with my order. Check out the link in my previous email. You'll be astounded by the wide range of IBU values for given styles. As you might expect, there is quite a bit of overlap between styles.
Lyle Ostrow
Premier Gourmet
3465 Delaware Avenue
Kenmore, NY 14217
tel:(716) 877-3574
email: premierbeer@adelphia.net

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Lyle on 2001-08-15 12:25 ]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Lyle on 2001-08-15 12:26 ]</font>
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Jon Walker
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Postby Jon Walker » Wed Aug 15, 2001 5:05 pm

I'm calm...and relaxed and YES I will be at Dunn's Tire Park (or whatever it's called) on September 1st getting bludgeoned over the tastebuds by those IPA's you teased us about. Subtlety and complexity are lovely terms but that day I wish to wallow in the unrefined trough of American IPA's...I'll save educating my palette for another day.

Lyle, as the capo di capo of hop experts in these parts perhaps you can save me some time (I can't stay the whole 4 hours...shame) and point out some of the better IPA's I should try while there.

Jonathan Walker

P.S. For those that want to say hi I'll no doubt wear my Black Redhook t-shirt...one of my few Pacific Northwest brewing garments (actually one of the only beer t-shirts I own).
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Postby esprit » Wed Aug 15, 2001 5:21 pm

Speaking of t-shirts Jon, we have available Duvel, Chimay, Coopers, Samuel Smith Pale Ale, Lindemans Kriek, Pike and Xingu t-shirts if anyone is interested. $20 each or 2 for $15.

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Postby Cass » Thu Aug 16, 2001 9:33 am

Lyle, you nailed exactly what I did to satisfy my hoppy cravings. A few months ago when the HopDevil ran dry, a few friends and I decided to homebrew a superhop ale. I had homebrewed a number of times before, but never this kind of brew. We threw in at least three kinds of hops, including some of the strongest ones we could find at Brew-your-own, a homebrew shop in Toronto.

It turned out pretty nice - good hop aroma, flavour and aftertaste, nice carbonation, but a little light in the body. Next time we'll have to up the malt content a bit. We affectionately refer to our creation as the "HopBastard".

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