Imperial Black Rye IPA

Imperial Black Rye IPA

Once upon a time, I was visiting a friend in Montreal, QC, Canada — a great town for beer, as it turns out!  Soon after my plane touched down, the city got doused with approximately 100cm of beautiful, fluffy snow.  It was incredible — The whole city shut down, and we cozied up to watch the Habs play in a wonderful little pub. Later that evening, my friend introduced me to a number of bars and brewpubs throughout Montreal and many beers were drunk.  One, however, sticks out in my mind above the rest.

At an upscale brewpub, I found what I seem to remember being called an “India Cream Ale”, though in hindsight it may have been a “Creamy India Pale Ale”. (For one thing, it was nothing like a Cream Ale). Marked with a bouquet of “C” hop aroma and bitterness, it was a full-bodied beer with a strong malt backbone and a wonderful creamy texture. It was one of the most interesting beers I had had in a long time.  Now several years later, I have no idea what the bar was named, nor indeed what the beer was actually called. However, what I do have is the impression the beer left on me and my hazy recollection of it.  In trying to clone it, I decided to use an AHS recipe for the base, but used WLP007 for better flocculation and added mouthfeel/body.  Similarly, I added some Malto Dextrin as well.

OG: 1.082
FG:  1.023
ABV: 7.7%

Appearance: A very dark (really, almost black) body; with a thick, creamy head that produces beautiful lacing on the glass.

Smell: An ounce of Falconer’s Flight for the aroma addition and two ounces of Falconer’s Flight, Chinook, and Columbus in secondary all lead to this beer having an a big bold West Coast IPA nose.

Taste: The aroma is really a preview of things to come: This beer is damn hoppy. I’m not terribly into IIPAs/DIPAs because more often than not, they’re just out of balance hopbombs. However, this one is actually in balance, and boasts a distinct rye character and a fair amount of roastiness, despite the high IBUs. The mouthfeel is just what I was looking for — I fell in love with WLP007 with this beer and have already used it again in our Barleywine.

Notes: This was the first beer I have made that I was really proud of.  As such, there’s not much of it left! The hop profile is great — I really loved the Falconer’s Flight and would definitely use it again. It’s a great “C” hop blend.  The only drawback was that, since I dry-hopped with pellets (first time doing this), there is a bit of hop sediment in the bottles.  It’s not quite the beer I had in Montreal (that one was not a rye ale, for one thing), but it is a great IPA!