A few months ago I heard about a new “style”, a Milkshake IPA which had been brewed by Tired Hands. It seemed to be getting great reviews but some of the aspects of brewing one didn’t appeal to me a great deal. Namely the lactose used to add mouth feel and some residual sweetness. I have no issues with lactose in a beer but generally I like my IPA’s fairly dry so the thought of adding something that would leave the beer on the sweet side was a little unappealing. The other aspect that I wasn’t sure about was the vanilla addition, I just wasn’t sure how it would play with the hops overall. The idea of adding fruit to a NE style IPA made sense, I mean it seemed like a natural progression for super hoppy “juicy” IPA’s in some respects.
The obvious thing to do would be to simply purchase a commercial example of the style to test drive it, take some notes and attempt something similar if interested. The issue here is that I live in Atlantic Canada and although the beer scene has improved drastically in the last few years, there isn’t any local availability of this particular style.
Fortunately a friend of mine (the one who told me about this style) decided to go ahead and brew a Milkshake IPA recently. I was quite surprised at how much I enjoyed his beer, the hops and orange zest he used worked really well together. The lactose did bump up the mouth feel and although it had some residual sweetness it wasn’t too much. The vanilla was present but light, something we discussed could be increased without being overbearing.
Now I was interested to brew one of my own and I happened to just get a fresh order of Citra and El Dorado hops. Both seemed like perfect varieties for this style. I hadn’t brewed with El Dorado before but I knew it had tropical fruit and orange character and who doesn’t love Citra? More tropical fruit and citrus character made Citra a natural choice as well.
I happened to have a new bag of clementines so I decided to use that as my fruit choice. Otherwise I kept everything else pretty consistent with how I would brew a NE style. A grain bill mostly consisting of base and flaked oats along with some carafoam and acid malt. Ferment with LAIII and dry hop on day 3 (which is when I added the clementine zest) and day 7. Plan to keg on day 11-12 and add the vanilla tincture at that time.
Brew day went as expected and this turned out even better than I had hoped. It had tons of orange, citrusy hop and vanilla aroma and that followed through in the flavor. The bitterness could have been dialed back slightly but otherwise I was really happy with this beer. It received mostly great feedback from fellow beer geeks and it made me want to brew something similar again soon. The biggest issue I had was that is kicked far too quickly, faster than any beer I’ve ever kegged.
Recipe Targets: 5 Gallons, OG 1.065, FG 1.016, ABV 6.4%, IBU 55, SRM 3.8
4.00 kg 2 Row US 71.3 %
1.00 kg Oats, Flaked 17.8 %
0.21 kg Acid Malt 3.7 %
0.20 kg Carapils 3.6 %
35.00 g Citra [12.00 %] – Boil 5 min 9.9 IBUs
35.00 g El Dorado [15.00 %] – Boil 5 min 12.4 IBUs
42.00 g Citra [12.00 %] – Steep 15 mins 14.8 IBUs
42.00 g El Dorado [15.00 %] – Steep 15 mins 18.5 IBUs
35.00 g Citra [12.00 %] – Dry Hop 7 Days
35.00 g El Dorado [15.00 %] – Dry Hop 7 Days
28.00 g Citra [12.00 %] – Dry Hop 4 Days
28.00 g El Dorado [15.00 %] – Dry Hop 4 Days
28.00 g Equinox (HBC 366) [15.00 %] – Dry Hop 4
1 tsp Yeast Nutrient – Boil 10 mins
1 Whirlfloc tablet – Boil 10 mins
200g Lactose – Boil 10 mins
10g Clementine zest added on day 3 along with dry hop addition
1 vanilla bean scraped and chopped 2oz of vodka, added at kegging.
Wyeast 1318 London Ale III
Appearance: Pours with a white head, 1/2″ which fades to 1/4″ and persists. Light golden in color, good lacing.
Aroma: Strong citrus hop aroma, mainly orange, followed by some tropical notes and then vanilla.
Flavor: Follows from the aroma. Lots of orange flavor, some mild tropical notes and then moderate vanilla. Think orange creamsicle. Some light residual sweetness finishing with light/moderate bitterness.
Mouthfeel: Medium/full, creamy mouthfeel. Medium/light carbonation.
Overall: This was one of the rare times I poured a beer and loved it right away. Usually I can pick apart my beer and easily find things to change and improve next time. But not this time, I loved this beer and it kicked faster than any other beer I’ve ever brewed (I did give quite a bit away because I wanted fellow beer geeks to try this new “style”). The only slight change I would make would be to dial back the IBUs very slightly, I think a noticeable amount of bitterness can slightly detract from this type of beer.