What Is An IPA Beer?

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Pretty sure no American beer ever travelled to India. I can accept that American IPA is a "style" of beer, but really, gotta be a token homage at best. There's more that its not like (when compared to a true IPA) than it is like.

Personally, I hate the grassy effect from dry hopping. I'd rather add lawn clippings. But a hop-back - now, there's a bit of wizardry.

Debate will follow...

Grassy? Cut the dry hopping down to 24 hours.

About the pond and ale styles:

Re American vs British, Americans brewed IPAs in the English style before the big, fruity hops came out (see my above comments on Ballantine). As you no doubt know, English brewers today variously do traditional British, West Coast and New England versions. I'd call some of my favorites from there transatlantic.

A few years back the first commercial grower of Cascade hops claimed that her first customers were British breweries, before Sierra Nevada, and her impression was they used it in dry-hopping.

A historical note. Back in the seventies, according to the GM at Greene and King, they blended an oak-aged 10% abv ale into their Suffolk Strong. The oak was noticeable. Not in the modern version.


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I like to think I have a pretty fair general knowledge of things beer and brewing; just enough to know how little I really do know; and to give me a real appreciation of the work by some of the authors out there today. When people like Charlie Bamforth say something, if my first instinct is to disagree with him, rather than saying so I'll go find out why I'm wrong as that is the most likely outcome.

There are traditional names for all the parts of an Ale cask.

There are two types of spiles Hard and Soft, the soft spiles are made of bamboo root (among other things) and you can literally blow through them, a fair fraction of the Hard spiles were made from Oak, I suspect trimmings from when the staves were cut to a taper, and again probably lots of other woods to.

The Shive was traditionally made from Beach wood.
The whole Shive/Hard/Soft Spile would have leaked some CO2, more as pressure built up, I suspect more than one Shive hit the cellar ceiling when not all went to plan, but it allowed for some gassing off.
There is lots of information out there on Casking, a lot of it contradictory, a fair amount is just made up BS. More than one beer writer has a chunk of his manhood invested in the arguments, personally I love Stainless, accurate PRV's and the fact that there are lots of different ways to get to great beer.
If you want the best book I know of on the subject try to get a copy of Cellarmanship from CAMRA


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The whole Shive/Hard/Soft Spile would have leaked some CO2, more as pressure built up, I suspect more than one Shive hit the cellar ceiling when not all went to plan, but it allowed for some gassing off.
Thanks Mark, you clearly have a fair grasp of cask ale but I should point out the Shive/Hard/Soft Spile bit does not sound quite right.

The shive and hard spile do not leak CO2. Well obviously being made of wood they would leak a minute amount but that is not what they were supposed to do. Only the soft spile is supposed to vent CO2.

The shive will not hit the cellar ceiling with spiles in place as the cask has been vented and not under any great pressure when they are in the cask. More pressure will not build up with spiles in place, at least not enough to blow the shive.

The spiles are not used until the beer is in the pub cellar and being prepared for tapping. Wood shives have holes drilled about half way through them and a tool is used (though often just a screwdriver or hard spile) to punch the hole all the way through. The spiles are then used to seal the hole (hard spile) or allow the cask to breath (soft spile) venting CO2 and allowing air into the cask as beer is poured.

Spiles are not used as pressure release valves to stop the cask bursting or shives and keystones being blown out.

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