HOP SLUDGE! American India Pale Ale

HOP SLUDGE! In A GlassIn May 2015, Gregory and I entered three different IPAs into the Greater Everett Brewers League (GEBL) IPA Bracket Challenge.  We brewed an English style IPA, an American style IPA and an American style rye IPA (this last with Johnny Bus Tickets).  Sadly, none of these beers placed in the competition (although the rye IPA was bumped out of its bracket in the last heat).

When we got our score sheets back from the judges, we noticed that each stated they thought our American IPA (which is a recipe we’ve been tweaking since Gregory first brewed it for a friend’s wedding) was a great example of an XPA (extra, or hoppy, pale ale); what they wanted was more bitterness.  So we went back to the drawing board, made some adjustments, added more hops to our bittering additions, and thus HOP SLUDGE! was born.

HOP SLUDGE! 02We jokingly named the beer while we were brewing it because the massive amounts of late addition hops created a sludge of hop particulate in the kettle, and subsequently took up about a fifth of the space in our carboy.  The beer crystallized the name itself when fermentation took off so quickly and aggressively that the rubber stopper and blow-off tube were shot out of the carboy and delicious, tropical-smelling wort metamorphosing into beer was showered across the basement floor.  Luckily I caught the problem shortly after fermentation started and was able to get everything cleaned, re-sanitised and proper before any bacteria could settle in.

HOP SLUDGE! 01I’m convinced this is the finest IPA we’ve made yet, but we’re already thinking of changes that can be made and new recipes entirely.  See our recipe and tasting notes below:


Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 13.50
Anticipated OG: 1.067
Anticipated SRM: 8.0
Anticipated IBU: 67
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes


81.48% — 11.00 Lbs. Great Western Full-Pint 2Row
07.41% — 1.00 Lbs. Carapils
07.41% — 1.00 Lbs. Crystal 40L
03.07% — 0.50 Lbs. Honey Malt


0.75 oz. Chinook (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 90 min. (first wort)
0.40 oz. Chinook (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 60 min.
0.75 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 8.8% AA) @ 15 min.
0.50 oz. Citra (Pellet, 13.7% AA) @ 10 min.
1.00 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 8.8% AA) @ 5 min.
1.00 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 8.8% AA) @ 1 min.
1.00 oz. Chinook (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 1 min.
1.00 oz. Equinox (Pellet, 15.0% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 8.8% AA) @ 0 min.
2.00 oz. Citra (Pellet, 13.7% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. El Dorado (Pellet, 16.0% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Citra (Pellet, 13.7% AA) @ 6 days (dry hop)
0.50 oz. Equinox (Pellet, 15.0% AA) @ 6 days (dry hop)
0.50 oz. El Dorado (Pellet, 16.0% AA) @ 6 days (dry hop)
1.00 oz. Citra (Pellet, 13.7% AA) @ 5 days (dry hop)
0.50 oz. El Dorado (Pellet, 16.0% AA) @ 5 days (dry hop)
0.50 oz. Equinox (Pellet, 15.0% AA) @ 5 days (dry hop)


1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.
1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.


Imperial A01 House Yeast

Water Profile

1.00 g Calcium Chloride
1.50 g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion – 90 min @ 150F


Brewed on 11.05.15 with Gregory

11.05.15 — Chilled wort to 60F and pitched the ale yeast (no starter as ran out of time before brew day)

11.06.15 — Signs of vigorous fermentation activity (see description above)

11.09.15 — After four days of primary, as fermentation began to slow visibly, we added half of our dry hop addition for a 6 day dry hop

11.15.15 — Transferred to secondary after 10 day primary and added the rest of our hops for an additional 5 day dry hop

11.20.15 — Kegged and began force carbonating the beer

11.27.15 — Took the first pull from the keg after a week, still quite cloudy but tasting good

HOP SLUDGE! 03Tasting Notes — 12.14.15 (poured off tap)

Although much clearer than the first pull from the keg, it has remained a little hazy (probably due to the amount of late addition and dry hops we added without filtering afterwards).  Intense tropical fruitiness on the nose, bringing papaya and mango to mind, with notes of lush pink grapefruit, some honeyed malt sweetness, and a hint of resinous evergreen akin to fir or pine.  The palate follows the nose, but the tropical notes are more muted at first, allowing the Chinook’s earthy spiciness to shine through.  The resin and evergreen hit the sides of the tongue toward the finish and a crescendo of fruitiness briefly re-emerges right before the substantial herbal-spicy bitterness takes hold for a dry, lingering finale.

Calculated OG: 1.067
Calculated FG: 1.016
Approx. ABV: 6.7%