Okay, so after a few experiments at making an IPA went wrong (definition of wrong: I can still drink them because I made them but they won’t come out when we have guests. Not even if it’s the only homebrew in the house) I’ve stepped away from that style for the time being.
But I haven’t stepped away from homebrewing. Jeez, if brewers gave up after one or two dodgy brews, then no home brewer would stick at it for more than two years. Anyway, you learn by mistakes as much as successes in this homebrewing caper.
My latest brew does have the remnants of one of the IPAs – the South Coast Ale. Namely, the hops. I figured I’d bought all those hops, so I should use them. But rather than an IPA I went for a pale ale. I had four C hops – Centennial, Chinook, Cascade and Columbus – so I thought I’d make a pale with all of them featuring somewhere.
But then I got to thinking about what I would call the beer. Because I try to come up with inventive names wherever possible, I tried to come up with a name that would reflect using four hops whose name starts with the letter C. I couldn’t.
But I did come up with a cool name for a pale ale (or PA) that featured three C hops. So I forgot about the Chinook. And thus was born the Star Wars-inspired C3PA – the first half being a hop reference and the second to the style of the beer. Which isn’t to say I’m a Star Wars geek – while I have a soft spot for the first trilogy I don’t really get worked up about the others and endlessly whine about Jar Jar Binks. Because I know they’re just kids’ films – just like the first trilogy was.
The base (of the beer, not the Rebel Alliance) wasn’t dissimilar to Summer Girl (my take on a Pacific Ale). Those Columbus hops pictured above were used – very sparingly – as the bittering hops. Learning a few lessons from the last two brews, I held off any hop additions until there were five minutes left in the boil, when in went 20g of Cascade and, at flame-out, 30g of Centennial. About a week later, I dry hopped with another 40g of Centennial. Yeah, I want a Centennial-heavy pale because I like the aroma the hop pellets give.
Unlike the two IPAs, this one has smelt nice in the fermenter and hydrometer sample have been promising too. So it looks likely that I might have a homebrew to give the guests.