We love to brew new beers here at the PEI Brew Co and when we found out that we had become the stewards of the now-closed Rogues Roost brew pub, we wanted the chance to brew up a traditional English IPA that would reflect the pub traditions that the Roost was a part of.
English IPA is a bit of a moving target. There are the IPA’s of old that were exported to India and other English colonies which were often brewed with a single malt and dosed heavily with hops at every stage. Unfortunately, the hops in those days would not have tasted nearly as fresh as those that brewers have access to today. There are the English IPA’s of recent memory that have been very close cousins of Pale Ales and Bitters with low alcohol and a mild hoppiness. Then there is the new wave of English brewers that are mimicking the IPA’s that are coming from the Americas.
Not wanting to get too bogged sown in semantics (never a good idea) we decided to brew an IPA with English ingredients but with the same techniques that we would use to brew an American IPA such as kettle hoping late in the boil and dry hopping. We knew we wanted to use a dose of traditional English malt so we brought in some Marris Otter. Marris Otter is a heritage barley that used to be the dominant grain for English beer brewing. It offers a pleasant nuttiness akin to breadcrust or toasted hazelnuts. We also brought in some torrified (or puffed) wheat to lighten the body and add further complexity to the malt bill without overpowering the hops. Some pale English crystal malt rounded out the malt bill.
English hops have a very unique aroma quality that is not often found in Canadian and American IPAs. We chose Goldings as our kettle hop (‘natch) and Target for dry hopping. Goldings are the quintessential English hop and have a very fine earthy herbal aroma. Target hops have a cedar-like woody quality and an underlying licorice aroma that is quite pleasant.
We chose an English yeast from the famous brewing City of Burton-on-Trent that produces the fruity esters and slightly low attenuation that one would expect from and English ale.
Of course we always brew with the music cranked, so you can bet that Judas Priest and Iron Maiden were reverberating off the tanks that day.
Since these photos are from our second RRIPA brew, we finished the day with a taste of whats to come by cracking open a couple of cans of our first batch. Cheers to new beers, cheers to the English brewing traditions that enlighten craft brewing even today, and and cheers to Rogues Roost for carrying the torch of English pub culture to the New World!