Recipe: Black Heart IPA

Enjoy the darkness within this IPA. Big, dank, tasty darkness

Hi brewers,

Today we’re a fairly new style of beer: Black IPA.The recently updated BJCP guidelines give an the overall impression of Black IPA.

A beer with the dryness, hop-forward balance, and flavor characteristics of an American IPA, only darker in color – but without strongly roasted or burnt flavors. The flavor of darker malts is gentle and supportive, not a major flavor component. Drinkability is a key characteristic.

The Black IPA we’re making today has a pretty massive 101 calculated IBUs, using NZ Cascade, US Citra and Chinook. The aim for our black IPA us to have all of the flavours of a regular IPA with a dark colour and just a touch of those chocolatey flavours.

The bulk of the bitterness will come from the charge of Chinook at the beginning of the 70 minute boil. The rest of the hops are added in to the whirlpool when the wort reaches just under 85°C. While at this temperature the alpha acids will isomerise a bit, the lower than boiling temperatures will help to retain those amazing volatile oils and give lots of flavour and aroma. Tasty. Lastly, there’s a pretty decent amount of dry hopping in this beer, with 32g each of our hops (NZ cascade, Chinook and Citra). This will give our IPA that resiny hop goodness that goes with a big bold IPA. If you want to go harder with the dry hopping, try bumping them up to 50g each. 

This recipe uses a clean American Ale yeast (such as US-05 or WYeast 1272). This will ferment fairly neutral with minimal esters, allowing the hops to do the talking. You’ll need to use enough healthy yeast or create a suitably-sized starter to pitch around 124 billion cells. Additionally, this kind of recipe would work well if you decide to later pitch another yeast – such as Brettanomyces lambicus (WYeast 2256). Lots of IPAs are now getting this second ferment with this funky wild yeast that produces big cherry pie flavours. It will also throw off other flavours such as a bit of barnyard funk and tropical fruits. Brett will dry out your IPA and can dull your hops, so adjust your recipe to suit, bumping up your whirlpool hops and dry hops.

The malts we are using are something a bit different too. The base malt is a standard pale ale malt, followed by a fairly large percentage of wheat malt and then our dark malts. Adding wheat malt up to 20% will help improve the body and head retention.  I’ve also chosen de-husked Carafa III. De-husked malts, as the name suggests, have been de-husked prior to roasting and therefore have much less carry over of acrid or burnt flavours even though we have very dark malt (upto 470°L). For our recipe we’re using around 6% de-husked Cafara III. We’ve also thrown in a small amount of chocolate malt (88 g) to add a bit of chocolate flavour while being restrained enough to limit the astringency.

I hope you enjoy the darkness within. Big, dank, tasty darkness.

Black Heart Black IPA

Beer Profile

Batch volume: 23L
Pre-boil volume: 30 L
Pre-boil gravity: 1.048
OG: 1.067
FG: 1.013
ABV: 7.0%
Bitterness: 101 IBUs
Colour: 34.8 SRM
Efficiency: 70%


Grains % of Fermentables
5.2 kg American Pale Ale Malt 72.60%
1.2 kg Wheat Malt 16.70%
405 g De-husked Carafa III (470°L)* 5.70%
274 g Carapils 3.80%
88 g Chocolate* 1.20%
Kettle Hops IBUs
49.3 g Chinook [13.4 AA] – 75 mins 77.6
30.7 g Chinook [13.4 AA] – Whirlpool** 8.9
30.7 g NZ Cascade [7.7 AA] – Whirlpool** 5.1
30.7 g Citra [14.3 AA] – Whirlpool** 9.5
Dry Hop
32 g Chinook [13.4 AA] – 7 days
32 g NZ Cascade [7.7 AA] – 7 days
32 g Citra [14.3 AA] – 7 days
Other Ingredients
0.5 tablet Whirfloc (Boil 10 minutes)
1 tsp Gelatin (2 days before packaging)
2 Packets Wyeast American Ale II 1272 or Safale US-05 (or appropriately sized starter)
Target Water Profile
Ion Target (ppm or mg/L)
Calcium 140
Magnesium 18
Cloride 25
Sulphate 55
Bicarbonates 300


Mash the grains at 68ºC for 70 minutes, adding the de-husked carafa II and chocolate malts in the final 15 minutes of mashing. Fly or batch sparge at 75ºC until you have reached the pre-boil gravity. Bring the collected wort to boil and wait for the hot break to form. Boil for 75 minutes adding hops just after the hot break drops. For whirlpool hops, take the wort off the heat and allow wort temperature to reach 85ºC. Stir vigourously to get a whirlpool happening and add the whirlpool hops. The lower temperature will help prevent the alpha acids in the hops from isomerising as much and prevent the volatile oils and resins from dispersing, leaving an awesome aroma. After whirlpool hopping, either cool quickly using a chilling device or hot can into a no-chill cube and let it cool naturally. Aerate and pitch yeast. Ferment at 20ºC.

If you want to dry hop, add the hop charge a few points before the ferment reaches terminal gravity. Leave the beer to dry hop for no more than 7 days – unless you enjoy the herbaceous grassy notes that come with long dry-hopping regimes. Rack into a secondary fermentor or into a keg (if you’re lazy like me). Clarify your beer if you so choose (see here on how to do it).

Carbonation and Storage

Carbonate to 2.6 volumes and if bottling store for at least 30 days prior to drinking.

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