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Carbonation levels of IPAs

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erway
beers 1004 º places 41 º 16:34 Fri 3/1/2013

So, for a while, we have been playing with different carbonation level in our IPAs and DIPAs. When we first starting packaging Elevated, we were aiming for 2.3 volumes in the can and we were pretty happy with that, yet we kept on receiving feedback that complained about a lack of head retention. So we tested some of the higher rated IPAs on this site and BA and low and behold, sure enough lots more CO2. So we tried 2.4 volumes...then 2.5 volumes. We have gotten as high as 2.6 and we have noticed a huge difference in mouthfeel. Dryer due to carbonic acid no doubt. Better head retention. Bigger bitterness (again carbonic acid), and bigger aroma (think Willy Wonkaís fizzy lifting drink). That being said, the mouthfeel to me is a bit, well, spritzy. So I ask all of you, because I canít test every top IPA out there, do you like IPAs and DIPAs that are truly lively with carbonation, or would you rather have one that is more tame and less fizzy? I tend to find the overall hop flavor to be more intense with a lower carbonation, but thatís only one part of the story. What do you all like?

 
Art
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beers 2310 º places 116 º 17:49 Fri 3/1/2013

There is a delicate balance between aroma and flavor with the hops. You need to get the aromatics in there but I definitely favor the less carbonated mouth feel. You canít completely abandon the head retention issue but I donít think itís the key to success. If a vigorous pour leaves a finger or two of head that slowly dies but releases the aromatics of the hops, I am happy. From there I want the hop flavor to take over.

I hope that helps. Iíd probably like your beer before adding the extra carbonation.

Good luck!

 
NobleSquirrel
beers 3438 º places 209 º 06:51 Sat 3/2/2013

Iíve found a bit more carbonation can help carry the hop oils across the tongue without making them cloying. Some iPas seem to have a lot more of a candied note from late hopping and a resulting cloy to them...

 
BenH
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beers 3083 º places 21 º 07:16 Sat 3/2/2013

I prefer slightly higher levels of carbonation in ipas, it can be toned down a little bit for a double

 
GT2
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beers 9410 º places 661 º 08:40 Sat 3/2/2013

I like higher carbonation in almost any style, thatís just me I guess. Though when I tried Elevated I thought the appearance was quite good. For me I like the head formation on hoppy Brett stuff like rayon Vert. Just ridiculous and unnecessary, but I love it.

 
JLLSU
beers 238 º places 1 º 10:01 Sat 3/2/2013

Originally posted by GT2
I like higher carbonation in almost any style, thatís just me I guess. Though when I tried Elevated I thought the appearance was quite good. For me I like the head formation on hoppy Brett stuff like rayon Vert. Just ridiculous and unnecessary, but I love it.


Iím the exact same way and I even go as far as preferring IPAs over DIPAs simply based on the carb levels. Lightly carbed IPAs just feel thin and weak to me, but Iím not a brewer/scientist/judge, just a beer drinker.

 
wnoble
beers 1251 º 10:34 Sat 3/2/2013

I think it depends on the IPA. I think you need to find the balance between bitterness, dryness, and carb level. Overall I like the less carbonated IPAs. Would a recipe modification not possibly be a better way to attack head retention issues? The elevated cans I had last summer were great, Iím surprised people would actually complain about the head retention.

 
lithy
beers 2996 º places 156 º 11:10 Sat 3/2/2013

Jeff as a comparison, we aim for 2.65 on our IPA. This is half because it aids in fobbing on our Meheen, but we really do like it at higher levels as well. I think it tends to make the beer drier like you mentioned as well as give an additional carbonic bite as well as the hop bite. To me, lighter beers are generally higher carb and heavier lower carb. This is a crazy general statement of course, but I tend to think of IPA as a style I want to seem ligh even if it might be pushing 7-8%. People want to be able to drink a few and I think the higher carb mouthfeel helps that. Now DIPA like mentioned above, can be lower.

Sorry for the rambly posts just a few thoughts I have.

Cheers

 
Gazza
beers 726 º places 163 º 11:27 Sat 3/2/2013

Anything over 2 is just too fizzy.

 
lithy
beers 2996 º places 156 º 12:08 Sat 3/2/2013

Originally posted by Gazza
Anything over 2 is just too fizzy.


I was waiting for this. Americans donít like flat beer. ;)

 
oteyj
beers 2139 º places 14 º 15:38 Sat 3/2/2013

Iíve founder higher carb levels produce more hop aroma, perhaps because the co2 bubbles carry volatile aromatic compounds. IPA must be dry for me to like it, and carbonic bite helps with that as well.