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Double IPA Recipe

HipHopHopotamus – Double IPA Guide and Recipe

Hiphophopotamus – His barrels are bottomless.  Hop resins glow like phosphorus. Tingling on the top of your esophagus.  Two hop puns for this Double IPA.

Hops are an acquired taste but once they get ahold of you it’s a hard habit to break. Unfortunately some of us find ourselves situated in an area of the world where hop forward beers are not readily available to us. That’s an excellent time to turn to homebrewing.  As you try to chase that bitter dragon you can experiment with all sorts of hop combinations to find something that suits you.

Overview of Double IPA:

As this is a homebrewing blog we’ll be using the homebrewers definition of the style which is BJCP category 22A — Double IPA. You may also hear this style referred to as Imperial IPA or IIPA. For ease of writing I’ll be using the IIPA form. The key feature to a good IIPA is drinkability. You need to provide a beer with a heavy punch of hops combined with a high ABV% while maintaining a smooth, easy-drinking experience. This is not a sipping beer. To obtain that we focus on a clean, dry finish that is not bogged down by complex maltiness and sweetness. If you go overboard, then you’re getting into Barleywine territory. Other than that it’s all about the hops, as summarized by this quick judging reference card:

Double IPA Quick Reference

Aroma: Hops
Flavour:  Hops
Appearance: You’re allowed a little haziness because of all those hops you’ll be adding.
Mouthfeel: Remember all those hops you added? Well they better not make it astringent, otherwise add more.

Okay so there’s a little more to it than that, but you get the idea. Malt selection remains important. While it is not the focus of the beer it does need to be supportive. However, as this is a higher gravity beer, it is important to remember that we will be using more malt overall and that this higher amount in and of itself is often enough to provide the balance we need.

In fact, if you have a core American IPA recipe that you enjoy, the easiest way to scale the malt to IIPA levels without throwing off the balance is to simply increase the base malt while leaving all other malts the same. This is a rule of thumb that is seen across many styles including English Bitters and Scottish “Schilling” Ales.

Double IPA Hop Rates:

Back to the hops: Everybody has their own philosophy on hopping techniques. I am part of the group that laughs at your calculated 150 IBUs and believes that you should look more at the quantity of hops being added, and the time at which they are added, as opposed to the resulting bitterness. The truth is, like anything, there is a saturation point at which it becomes difficult to further dissolve more alpha acids into a wort. Matt Brynildson of Firestone Walker even mentions the need to occasionally use hop extracts in order to get Union Jack IPA over 75 IBUs in spite of calculations saying it should be well of 100 IBUs. It’s highly unlikely you are going to make the beer too bitter so you might as well get the most out of the flavor and aroma.

With that said, adding too much hops can still cause issues. Overdoing it can lead to unneeded haziness and grassy flavors, not to mention a waste of money.  I personally like to use 1.3 to 1.5oz  per gallon overall. Of that around 0.5 to 0.6 oz is for dry hops, with an equal amount being used for flavor additions. These flavor additions will generally be between 15 minutes and flameout.

I am also a big fan of pseudo-whirlpool additions. I say “pseudo” as I don’t have a whirlpool, so this is more of a “hop stand”.  I will occasionally use a portion of the flavor addition as “first wort hops”. This technique is said to add a smoother bittering to the beer and increase hop flavor. From my personal experiences it helps a lot with the former and not so much the latter. The rest of the hops will be added as a bittering charge at the start of the boil.

As this is a big beer ensure you use a yeast calculator to ensure you are pitching enough yeast. It would be a good idea to make a big or stepped starter. Ensuring adequate yeast nutrients and wort oxidation is also very important.

Double IPA Recipe Design:

Most of my recipe design strategies were explained above. Oddly enough when I reflected back on this recipe I realized I broke a lot of my own rules. Essentially I experimented a little in what I would say was the wrong direction. In particular, the crystal malt is higher than where I would normally put it and the hop bill is a bit more complicated than I would usually make it.

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
5.5 gal 90 min 101.9 IBUs 5.9 SRM 1.071 1.010 8.0 %


Name Amount %
Pale Malt (2 Row) US 11.5 lbs 82.88
White Wheat Malt 1 lbs 7.21
Caramel/Crystal Malt - 20L 12 oz 5.41
Dextrose (Briess) 10 oz 4.5


Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Amarillo 10 g 90 min First Wort Pellet 8.2
Centennial 10 g 90 min First Wort Pellet 9.5
Simcoe 10 g 90 min First Wort Pellet 12.3
Columbus (Tomahawk) 20 g 90 min Boil Pellet 15.2
Simcoe 10 g 45 min Boil Pellet 12.3
Centennial 11 g 30 min Boil Pellet 9.5
Centennial 23 g 0 min Aroma Pellet 9.5
Amarillo 12 g 0 min Aroma Pellet 8.2
Simcoe 8 g 0 min Aroma Pellet 12.3
Columbus (Tomahawk) 7 g 0 min Aroma Pellet 15.2
Centennial 40 g 3 days Dry Hop Pellet 9.5
Amarillo 20 g 3 days Dry Hop Pellet 8.2
Columbus (Tomahawk) 15 g 3 days Dry Hop Pellet 15.2
Simcoe 14 g 3 days Dry Hop Pellet 12.3


Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
Safale American (US-05) DCL/Fermentis 79% 59°F - 75°F


Step Temperature Time
Mash In 150.8°F 75 min


Flameout hops were allowed to steep for about 30 minutes before siphoning into the fermenter.

This double IPA weighs in at a massive 3lbs of hops per barrel. Feel free to dial it down a bit if you prefer.

I would suggest using a large nylon bag for the dry hops to aid a clean racking into the keg or bottling bucket.

I clarified by using whirlflock 15 minutes prior to flameout as well as gelatin in secondary after cold crashing.


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