Brewing a Session IPA with Galaxy, Citra & London Ale III

Well, it’s almost that time of year again. The temperature outside is finally climbing above the freezing point on a regular basis, and even getting quite warm here in Atlantic Canada. That generally means a common shift in brewing, or at least it does for me, to more session strength beer. Up until about six months ago, I was notoriously behind on brewing as the season dictated. I always seemed to wait until I was craving a particular style appropriate for the time of year before I got around to brewing said style. But no more, I’ve decided to try to plan months ahead (finally), so I brewed a session IPA in April. My kegs generally last about two months, give or take, depending on how much I enjoy the beer. So, this should set me up into June.

I enjoy a session IPA anytime of the year. But especially when it’s getting warmer outside, it’s refreshing to have a light ABV, highly hopped, easy to drink IPA. I’d use the word “crushable” as the ideal description, but that term is thrown around way too often, and far too loosely. Essentially something that is highly hopped like a standard IPA but sub 5% abv and IBU’s in the 40 range. Some commercial examples that come to mind would be Maine Island Trail Ale by Rising Tide, Diavoletto by Bissell Brothers and very local to me, Session IPA by Trailway. The first two I look for whenever I’m in Portland through the summer months, and Trailway’s version is always a solid choice, though even more enjoyable on a hot patio.


Writing a recipe for this style is pretty easy, simply take a favorite IPA recipe you have and dial back the ABV and IBUs. I tend to keep my dry hop additions consistent with my IPA ratios, and I think I’ve finally settled on a new dry hop routine (for now) that seems to be working well for me. I add about 40% of my dry hop addition on day 5, approximately the time primary fermentation is winding down. The rest I add four to five days later, which I leave for another four days. This allows me to keg a hop forward beer within two weeks of brewing. It seems that since I’ve started this routine the beers have had more pronounced hop character, and this one was even quite juicy, especially for the first couple of weeks. The grist is kept simple, as it is for all my hop forward styles now. This recipe has a mix of 2-row, Maris Otter, and a small amount of carared, and acid malt.

I try not to pick too many hop varieties for any IPA, I find that mixing more than a few varieties can muddle flavors. So I try to pick two or three, at most, that I think work well together. For this brew day I selected Citra and Galaxy. Citra because I love the tropical and slight dank quality it has, and well, who doesn’t love Citra? Galaxy I haven’t had the pleasure of using much prior to this, though the descriptors sound very interesting. Most resources online cited fruity, citrus, and tropical character, which seemed to be qualities that would match well with Citra. Or at least that’s what I was hoping.

With the hops selected, the only big decision left was yeast strain. Months ago I would have went with my default, US05. I find it quite clean, plus it flocculates, and attenuates very well. But more and more I find myself reaching for Wyeast 1318 London Ale III, it seems to help fruity hops punch through just a little more. It attenuates well, albeit not as well as US05, but if you mash reasonably low it will still finish in the 1.010 range. Wyeast mentions that it may finish slightly sweet, but it doesn’t seem to add to any up front sweetness from malt (which I’m not a fan of in any hop forward style). That slight sweetness they mention only seems to add to the beers being perceived as “juicy”. If that’s what you’re looking for in an IPA I suggest you give this strain a try. I’ll always keep a few packs of US05 on hand for impromptu brew days (though those rarely happen anymore), but  otherwise I’ll be making any hop forward American styles with LAIII for the foreseeable future.


Recipe Targets: 4 gallons, SRM 4.5, IBUs 42, OG 1.047, FG 1.012, ABV 4.6%


1.50 kg Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)  46.7 %
1.50 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM) 46.7 %
0.13 kg Carared (20.0 SRM)  4.0 %
0.08 kg Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) 2.5 %


12.00 g Citra [12.90 %] – Boil 10.0 min
12.00 g Galaxy [15.10 %] – Boil 10.0 min
37.00 g Citra [12.90 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 15 mins
37.00 g Galaxy [15.10 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 15 mins
30.00 g Citra CHILLER [12.90 %]
30.00 g Galaxy CHILLER [15.10 %]
56.00 g Citra [12.90 %] – Dry Hop (split as per dry hop method mentioned above)
56.00 g Galaxy [15.10 %] – Dry Hop  (split as per dry hop method mentioned above)


1 whirlfloc tablet @ 10mins

1 tsp yeast nutrient @ 10mins


Wyeast 1318 London Ale III

Brewed by myself, mashed in with 8.5L water to hit mash temp of 152F, mashed out with 4.7L of 200F, then batch sparged with 3.3 gallons of 170F. 60 minute boil. OG five points high 1.052, chilled to 62F, shook carboy and pitched starter. Fermentation quite active after 24 hours, and vigorous at only 36 hours, this strain can be a beast. FG 1.010, finishing a little lower than expected. Dry hops were added on day 4, and day 8, transferred to a co2 purged keg on day 12. Force carbed @35psi for 48 hours, then reduced to serving pressure.

This is by far the “juiciest” hoppy beer I’ve brewed, and certainly up there with my best so far. The first week or so after this was carbed it was extremely punchy, tons of hop aroma and flavor. I love how these two hops work together, melding tropical and fruit flavors. Initially Citra was dominating slightly, and it was a little dank, but Galaxy quickly caught up and things evened out.

My only complaint was that it was just slightly thin, not too much so, but it was noticeable to me. As with all hop forward styles I did find this beer starting to fade after only two weeks, though it was still very tasty. I think it’s time for me to look more seriously at creating an oxygen free system to transfer from primary to keg. I would certainly brew this again, although I’d love to try different hops of course. But, if you’re considering this recipe I would say adding some wheat malt or oats  (~5%) would be a good idea, simply to add a little mouth feel.


Appearance: Pours with a thin white head, quarter finger, that lasts for a few minutes before fading to a thin ring. Golden orange in color, quite hazy.

Aroma: Moderate-high fruit hops, a touch dank with something slightly tropical, possibly mango.

Taste: Moderate to highly hoppy (for the style), lots of fruit initially, and then mango punches through and takes over. Finishes smooth with no bitterness, and just a little sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium carbonation with mouth feel that’s just slightly too light.

Overall: As I mentioned before this turned out really well. Loads of hop aroma and flavor, quite juicy. My only issues were that it was a little light in mouth feel when it was first carbed, though that did seem to remedy itself within a week or so. Perhaps the carbonation settling in helped to fill it out. The hops did start to fade faster than I would have liked (as they always seem to). Otherwise, one of my best hoppy beer yet.


Coming up: My (multiple) attempts of brewing a hoppy kettle sour, and all the problems I’ve had thus far with lacto starters.


Brewing a Rye IPA – Inspired by Daymark from Rising Tide

Over the years as a home brewer I’ve tried to brew a number of different types of IPA’s, as I’m sure any hop loving home brewer has. Double, red, session, black, Brett and white iterations have all come and gone, but one of the few types I hadn’t tried brewing yet was a rye IPA (as well as a Belgian IPA). I’ve had a couple of commercial, and home brew examples that I’ve enjoyed but for some reason I’ve never gotten around to even writing a recipe for myself.

Recently I made another trip to Portland, Maine. One of the beer I happened to enjoy during my time there was Daymark by Rising Tide. It is a rye pale ale, light golden color, mild bitterness and light-medium hop aroma and flavor. Though I knew I didn’t want to brew a clone per se, it did inspire me to brew something along the same lines. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great beer, but I wanted to bring the hop aroma and flavor up a few notches.

Which brings me to a question I find I’m asking myself more and more lately. Have I completely ruined myself for hoppy beer? By that I mean, if a beer I brew doesn’t have loads of hop aroma with citrus, tropical, fruit character (depending on what I’m brewing), I’m disappointed. If a beer I brew isn’t at least on the verge of being “juicy”, I’m disappointed. Yes I’ve read about the arguable “lupulin shift”, some say it applies only to bitterness tolerance, others to hops in general. I’m not sure if it’s an accurate idea and I’m certainly not looking to start a debate about the concept. I just know that since trying beers like The Substance by Bissell Brothers, or Scaled Up by Trillium, I want more from the hop forward styles I brew at home, and from other commercial examples.


So, like I said, as much as I enjoyed Daymark, I used it as inspiration for this beer instead of looking for a clone recipe. Luckily, I remembered a friend of mine did try to clone Daymark a few years back with this recipe. I came up with my own grain bill but decided to use his hop suggestions, though I did make increases simply because I find my beer to be less hoppy than his consistently. So the grist was fairly simple, 2-row for the base malt, rye malt (obviously), wheat malt for added mouth feel, acid malt for water chemistry adjustment, and finally rice hulls (rye can cause slow or stuck sparges). His recipe used Columbus and Centennial, I decided to use Chinook as well because I felt its citrus, pine, and spice character would go really well with this style.

It was nice brewing with these hops for a change. I tend to always chase the newest varieties, or at least as often as possible. Galaxy, Vic Secret, Kohatu, and so on. I really enjoy trying new hops and getting to experience what each variety has to offer. But, in doing that, the “classic” hops like those in this recipe can be over looked and honestly, under appreciated.

Here’s what I picked out of the BJCP for a rye IPA that I felt would work well and happened to be in my wheel house. Citrus and pine character with intense hop aroma, high hop flavor, medium-light body, and finishes dry. The style, of course, is much broader than that, but that is what I know I would like in a rye IPA.

I have a great amount of respect for the brewers, both home and commercial, that can nail down a beer perfectly within the BJCP guidelines of a specific style. This takes a great amount of experience and hard work. Not to just create a beer within said guidelines, but to make that beer outstanding. As much respect as I have for those brewers, I’m just not one of them. Aside from a number of Belgian styles, I don’t get too excited about guidelines, I tend to try to brew beer that I know I’ll enjoy, especially hop forward styles. On occasion though the BJCP guidelines seem to line up (for the most part) with what I’m interested in brewing.

Recipe Targets: 4 gallons, SRM 4.4, IBUs 44, OG 1.054, FG 1.010, ABV 5.7%


3 kg 2-Row (71.4%)

0.6 kg Rye malt (14.3%)

0.2kg Wheat malt (4.8%)

0.2kg Acid malt (4.8%)


24g Centennial (9%) @10

24g CTZ (10.9%) @10

30g Centennial (9%) 10 min hop steep

30g CTZ (10.9%) 10 min hop steep

28g Chinook (day 4 fermentation)

28g Centennial dry hop 5 days

28g CTZ dry hop 5 days

28g Chinook dry hop 5 days

28g Centennnial keg hop

28g CTZ keg hop


1 whirlfloc tablet @10

1 tsp yeast nutrient @10


1 pack US05 (rehydrated)

Brewed by my son and I, mashed in with 11L, hitting mash temp of 150F. Mashed out with 6.2L, and finally batch sparged with 2.5 gallons of 170F water. 60 minute boil. OG five points high at 1.059, chilled to 60F and pitched re-hydrated pack of US05. Fermentation noticeable at 36 hours, and going strong at 48 hours. 1 ounce of chinook added on day 4 to primary. Second dry hop addition added on day 7. Day 12 beer transferred to CO2 flushed keg, keg hops added to weighted muslin bag. Force carbed in kegerator at 35psi for two days then reduced to serving pressure. IMG_1495

Appearance: Pours with a thin ring of white head that fades quickly, pale orange in color. Moderately hazy.

Aroma: Moderate citrus hop aroma, mainly grapefruit.

Taste: Light-medium bitterness, orange and grapefruit hop flavor followed by slight rye spice. A touch of sweetness but it fades quickly and finishes fairly dry.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium carbonation with medium, smooth mouth feel.

Overall: I like it, and it’s pretty close to what I had in mind when I was writing the recipe. I do think I’ll be sticking with a 10 minute hop addition again, I had dropped that in favor of a heavier flame out addition recently. I would like to try brewing this again with a Saison yeast strain. I think the citrus hops and spice from the rye would work well with wyeast 3711 French Saison. Until then, I’ll be chasing the next hoppy beer, something session strength coming soon.