In the Tampa Bay area, one of my favorite local IPAs is Sunshine City IPA from Green Bench Brewing. To me, it’s a bit of a hybrid between West Coast IPA and New England IPA. It has the firm bitterness of the former with the “juicy” citrusy, fruity flavor/aroma of the latter. And you wouldn’t consider it necessarily hazy. The only information about the beer that I gleaned from the brewery’s website is that it’s 6.8% ABV, 3 SRM, 68 IBUs and that it’s double dry hopped with equal parts Citra, Mosaic and Azacca. I’ve been tinkering with my “flagship” homebrew IPA for years now and hadn’t settled down yet on what I wanted it to be. But I finally realized that it should taste like my favorite commercial IPA, or in the vicinity of it. Nice solid bitterness with a ton of fruit/citrus flavor and aroma. I deduced from the color that the malt bill is very light and probably uncomplicated. So I drew up a recipe, thinking that it might get me in the ballpark. I got around to brewing and kegging it this month (November).
Big Mane IPA (5 gal), 6.4% ABV (actual), 3.9 SRM, 111 IBUs (calculated)
Malt: 10 lbs Pale 2 Row, 1lb Flaked Oats
Hops: 1 oz Centennial @ 60min, 1 oz Citra @ 30 min, 1 oz Amarillo @15 min, 1 oz Amarillo & 1 oz Azacca at flameout, Dry hop last 5 days of fermentation with 1 oz Citra, 1 oz Mosaic and 1 oz Azacca.
Mash: 60 min at 152, Boil 60 min
Yeast: US-05 dry yeast (1 pack, no starter), fermented at 67F for 7 days and then 73F for 5 days.
Cold crashed to 35F over 36 hours, then force carbed at 30 psi for 36 hours, then reduced to 10 psi for serving.
I then proceeded to do a side by side tasting of the two beers. Sunshine was more orangey in color while Big Mane was more golden. Sunshine had a bit more aroma, but both beers smelled nice and fruity that was sweet and satisfying. Regarding flavor, Big Mane was light, crisp, citrusy with a little peach. A nice subdued bitterness entered mid palate into the finish. Sunshine was a bit more “punchy” in its hop flavor but with the same citrusy flavors and the bitterness was a little more assertive than Big Mane. It’s like the the two beers were definitely in the same family but Sunshine was the bigger, bolder sibling and Big Mane was more mild mannered. So I think I succeeded in being in the same ballpark but there were definitely differences, which is expected considering I had no information about Sunshine’s malt bill, yeast or any hops used besides the dry hop. But I really enjoyed Big Mane. It was easier to drink and my wife loved it. I think I finally settled on my “flagship”.