Serendipitous Something: Slap-dashed Conan IPA

Nothing’s better than a slapped together success and low expectations. This beer was so last minute I was still figuring out the recipe as the wort was coming to a boil. I originally planned on making a Sour IPA/dry hopped Gose. I bought lacto, Brett Trois, and half a pound of Nelson Sauvin with the hopes of making some delicious something, but life got in the way and something entirely different happened. I went to my local homebrew store for the malt for the Gose… and came back a few days later for more malt. Maybe next time sour, salty IPA thing. Instead we have this somewhat thrown together IPA/pale ale thing.

IMG_3914
Gelatin does miraculous things for clarity

Serendipitous Something (brewed 2/22/15)
Batch Size: 6 gallons
Original Gravity: 1.056
Final Gravity: ??? (I forgot to measure)
Estimated Color: 5 SRM
ABV: ~6.3% maybe?
Mash: 150 F for 75 minutes

Grain
9.00 lb Avangard 2-row
3.00 lb Briess White Wheat
1.00 lb Briess Carapils

Hops
0.25 oz Warrior 15%AA (60 min)
2.5 oz Nelson Sauvin 11.4%AA (5 min)
0.5 oz Simcoe 13.2%AA (5 min)
0.5 oz Ahtanum 5.2%AA (5 min)
2.5 oz Nelson Sauvin 11.4%AA (20 min Whirlpool @ 185F)
0.5 oz Simcoe 13.2%AA (20 min Whirlpool @ 185F)
0.5 oz Ahtanum 5.2%AA (20 min Whirlpool @ 185F)
1.0 oz Nelson Sauvin (Dry Hop 4 days in primary)
1.0 oz Meridian (Dry Hop 4 days in primary)
1.0 oz Wakatu (Dry Hop 4 days in keg)
1.0 oz Nelson Sauvin (Dry Hop 4 days in keg)

Yeast
Conan cultured from a can of Heady Topper

IMG_3920
Pictures don’t do this beer justice but it’s super clear I promise

Oh man, dry hopping this beer was a disaster. Typically I put keg hops in a sanitized grain bag and suspend them half way down the keg with dental floss and a weighed shot glass. I guess my dental floss tying game wasn’t on point this time because when I went to take the hops out the string broke and the bag sank to the bottom of the keg. Oh, no problem, I’ll just carb it as normal and tap it in a few days. What’s this? Nothing’s coming out of my tap? Shit. All those dry hops clogged my keg dip tube. I had to siphon the beer into a carboy, then back into the keg sans dry hop sack. So much for having a nice oxygen free IPA. Might as well add gelatin too, why not? At this point I was sure this would be an oxidized mess. Boy was I wrong.

Tasting Notes
Oh Conan, I have such a love/hate relationship with you. You know how to take over a beer, make it weird and Belgian for a week, and then make it delicious and juicy for the last half of the keg. The first week it basically had all the same aromas and flavors as my German pale ale, orange creamsicle, odd Belgian quality and all. Drinking it nearly a month later, all the Conan oddities have faded and a juicy, if not slightly boring IPA/pale ale thing remains. Conan is great, but I find it incredibly one dimensional in that every beer brewed with it ends up having the same quality to it. If peach/apricot juciness is your thing then go for it, but frankly I may just be bored of it.

This beer isn’t my favorite, but everyone who drinks it seems to love it. I get it. It’s really well made (patting myself on the back here), hoppy but not bitter (almost to a fault), and quite tasty, but it just isn’t my favorite. People would pay money for this. I’m not sure if it’s the wheat or the carapils, but there’s some sort of sweetness to it that I just don’t like. It reminds me a lot of just a generic well made pale ale. It’s good, I’d gladly drink more of it, but it’s not blowing me away. Maybe I’m just too critical. At least it’s super clear thanks to gelatin! It’s not an IPA because it lacks the bitterness, and it drinks more like a pale ale. It’s in that weird in between territory without quite being good at either. Too boozy for a pale ale, not bitter enough for an IPA.

The hops come off as somewhat melony, grapefruit, and other citrus followed by a lime-like sweetness. Malt is a tad sweet and bready. At this point the aroma is almost gone, but the smell was peach/apricot mixed with cantaloupe and grapefruit in it’s prime. I have some Nelson left over that I want to use again (maybe in a Saison?) but I have to say it’s an interesting hop. It’s complex but subdued and not all up in your face like Mosaic.

I’ll chalk this one up to an unexpected success, but I’m not dying for more of it without some tweaks to the grain bill (I’m looking at you pound of carapils!). Conan is a weird yeast and I’m going to give it one more shot before I get rid of it for good in favor of my new love, Wyeast 1318 London Ale III.

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