Whether you call it a Cascadian Dark, a Black IPA, or an American Black Ale, this beer is a new and unique American Ale style with forward hops and some dark malt. The style is not yet recognized by the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) but it is a popular entry as a "Specialty Beer" in homebrew competitions. Here are some rough guidelines:
Original Gravity: 1.056 to 1.075
Final Gravity: 1.0012 to 1.018
ABV: 6.0 to 7.5%
Bitterness: 50 to 90 IBU
Color: 40+ SRM
This beer should smell and taste much like an American IPA, with citrusy, piney Northwest hops on the nose and the palate, along with a medium to light mouthfeel and a fairly dry finish. Unlike an IPA, however, this beer should have dark malt aromas and flavors and a very dark appearance with a creamy white or off-white head. Overall, it is a strong, hop-forward ale backed by complex dark malt flavors.
Note: The recipe below is for extract brewing a 5-gallon batch. For an all-grain alternative, substitute 7.7 pounds of pale 2-row malt (such as Golden Promise or Maris Otter) and 1.3 pounds of CaraPils malt for the pale ale LME. You can add the specialty grains to the mash, or steep them as you would for the extract version. Mash at 156°F. Sparge and lauter the mash into the kettle and bring to a boil, then proceed to step 3 below.
- Wyeast 1056 American Ale Yeast
- 1.25 pounds German Carafa II
- 1.25 pounds Chocolate malt
- 12 ounces Crystal 40°L
- 12 ounces Crystal 80°L
- 2 ounces Black Patent malt
- 7 pounds pale ale liquid malt extract (LME)
- 1.0 ounce Centennial pellets 8.7% AA for 60 minutes
- 1.0 ounce Centennial pellets 8.7% AA for 45 minutes
- 0.5 ounce Cascade pellets 6.0% AA for 30 minutes
- 0.5 ounce Cascade pellets 6.0% AA for 15 minutes
- 0.5 ounce Cascade pellets 6.0% AA for 5 minutes
- 2.0 ounces Cascade whole, for dry-hopping
Heat 2 gallons water to 170°F. Remove from heat and add specialty malts to the water, contained in a mesh bag. Cover and let steep for 1 hour, then discard the malt.
Bring 2 gallons water to a boil. Add steeping tea from step 1. Slowly add extract, stirring. Add enough water to reach a total of 6.5 gallons. Bring to a boil once more on high heat.
When you reach a boil, start a countdown timer for 90 minutes. Add hops quantities at times indicated above.
At the end of 90 minutes, remove from heat. Cool the wort to below 70°F with an ice bath or a wort chiller. Remember to keep things sanitary for every stage after the boil.
Transfer the wort to a sanitized fermentation bucket or carboy. Add an airlock and cool to 62°F.
Once the wort reaches 62°F, aerate the wort and pitch yeast.
Let the wort temperature rise to 66°F and hold for one week or until fermentation is complete. Rack to secondary and add dry-hops addition. Let lager for 5 days.