March is my absolute favorite month of the year. Celebrating my birthday, getting in some late-season snowboarding trips, gearing up for outdoor festivities, and MARCH MADNESS!
I’m a bit of a basketball nut, especially when it comes to my alma mater, VCU! Anyone recall the Rams’ historic Final Four run in 2011? What a time to be a Ram!
In honor of VCU’s continued success on and off the court, I wanted to brew something that embodies the spirit of VCU.
Something unique and different, but quickly gaining popularity, something diverse, yet very relatable, something easily lovable and enjoyed by many.
Thus, the Black & Gold BIPA was born. Black IPA was the only style that truly made sense to me. It fits all of the above criteria, plus it matches the school colors (IPAs are usually a golden hue)!
Black & Gold BIPA Recipe
Brew Method: All Grain
Style Name: Black IPA
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 5.5 gallons (fermentor volume)
Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.055
Efficiency: 70% (brew house)
11lbs (81.5%) – Pale Malt (2-Row) US
1lb (7.4%) – Corn (or Cane) Sugar
8oz (3.7%) – Carafa III
8oz (3.7%) – Chocolate Malt
8oz (3.7%) – Caramel/Crystal Malt – 80L
1oz – Warrior @ 60 min
1oz – Chinook @ 15 min
1oz – Simcoe @ 5 min
1oz – Zythos @ flameout (whirlpool for 5 min)
Dry hop 1oz Simcoe 5 days before bottling/kegging
RVA Yeast Labs Chico Ale (RVA 101)
Fermentation Temp: Pitch at 68F and let rise to 70F. Hold at 70F
If you live in Virginia or the Carolinas, you’ve probably heard about RVA Yeast Labs (Richmond, VA). RVA Yeast Labs is my preferred yeast vendor, and it’s not just because they are local. They produce exceptional yeast and bacteria harvested from some of the greatest beers on Earth.
They also produce unique, local strains isolated from the fruit trees and hop farms of Virginia. In addition, at 200 billion cells per vial there’s no need for a yeast starter unless you’re making a big batch or high gravity beer (over 1.070 OG)!
Plus, it would be a sin to make a Richmond-inspired beer without Richmond-based yeast!
If you can’t find RVA Yeast Labs locally, contact them with the strains and quantities you desire and they will grow your yeast up fresh and have it ready for shipping in ten days!
Alternatively, you can use White Labs California Ale (WLP001). In that case, I would recommend a yeast starter.
- Mash at 152F for 60 min or until conversion is complete
- (Optional) Mash-in dark grains at last 15 minutes
- Add sugar at last 10 minutes of boil
Appearance: Dark enough to call it black, but not the harsh tar-like black you see in some stouts. The head is medium thickness with a light brown hue. Good retention. Very pleasing to the eyes.
Aroma: Truly smells like two beers sitting next to each other. A roasty stout and a citrus IPA. Intriguingly complimentary.
Flavor: The roasty and slightly bitter backbone is well balanced by the sweet citrusy mix of hops. Think dark chocolate and pineapple. The little bit of spice from the Chinook hops add a nice bite. Yeast is muted, allowing the malt and hops to shine.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, but very clean and easy to drink. Carbonation is medium.
Overall Impression: This is a SOLID Black IPA and it’s one of my favorite recipes in general. It’s a great beer for those hop heads like me who can’t decide between a nice fruity IPA and a roasty stout in the colder months.
Black IPAs can play with your mind. It’s two very different styles in one. You can almost choose which style you’re tasting.
Some of my friends have reported that they get more “black” than “IPA” while others say the reverse. Fellow homebrewer and beer enthusiast Shawn Cooke said it best:
“If Black IPAs have a fault it is that they’re often TOO big, with the flavors competing against each other to see how loud they can be. This was not the case with yours. It was a nice, easy drinking beer that left me eyeing an empty glass far sooner than I might have wished.”
Do you have a recipe dedicated to your favorite team? Let us know in the comments!
If not, find one! It helps the team win (for sure). GO RAMS!!