Feb 27, 2014

Tasting: Brewdog Hardcore IPA Clone

This was the Hardcore IPA clone I brewed for Jason's birthday back on December 14. This tasting was on the 27th February. No photo because it was dark and I was lazy.

OG: 1.082
FG: 1.020
IBU: 86
ABV: 8.3%

Aroma: Pine, resin, sweet malt. Some floral aroma too. No alcohol detectable.
Appearance: Verging on red, very clear and with a nice sticky white head that lingers.
Flavour: Intense. Layers of malt and resin. Pine again and some passionfruit. Some husky malt happening at the end. The alcohol is very well hidden.
Mouthfeel: A little more full than the original, with a lowish-moderate carbonation. Assertive but not rough bitterness that lingers in the aftertaste.

This was my first attempt at cloning a beer and I guess it's moderately successful as a clone. It's not something that has interested me at all in the past but over the last couple of months I've turned around on that. It's a measure of where my brewing is at and a chance to learn from the recipe formulation of the pros.

The big difference between this one and the original Hardcore IPA is the extra sweetness and body that came from the lower than expected level of attenuation. I did everything right in terms of pitching rate and yeast management so my hunch is that I just need to alter the process a little and mash at a lower temp. Aside from that it seems pretty similar to how I remember the official version but with lots more hop aroma. I guess that's got to do with the suffering that a Brewdog goes through as it's shipped to the other side of the world. I think I've got one more bottle left so I'll try to track down a commercial one and see how they actually compare.

As a beer rather than a clone it's pretty good, definitely one of my better brews. It's very balanced and the resinous bitterness is very satisfying. There's plenty of malt from the Maris Otter and when it was fresh the hop aroma was climbing out of the glass. If I was going to brew my ideal IIPA I'd prefer a drier version but with a similar balance but this is very nice nonetheless.

At the request of Jason and Luke and so I can try to get it exact for my own satisfaction I've got two more shots at this one planned for later in the year. I'm looking forward to seeing if I can get it right.


  1. I too have Mitch's book and tried my hand at brewing FatHead's Headhunter. Turned out very well but i too didn't get the attenuation of the recipe despite mashing at the same recommended temps. I've just invested in an 02 kit which will help with the higher gravity brews. A lot of the IPAs in the book see attenuation around 84%.

    Next on my list is the Stone IPA.

  2. Ok, that's interesting. I wonder if there are some pro brewer jedi mind tricks that help get that level of attenuation? I normally do a first mash step of 62C for my pale ales/IPAs so that's what I'll do next time instead of the 65C from the recipe.

    I found oxygen has helped the flavour profile of my beer heaps but hasn't made a noticeable impact on the attenuation levels. That's after 12 oxygenated batches and using several new strains (for me) so I'll have a better idea about that by the end of the year.

    I'd love to try the Stone IPA when you've brewed it!


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