Bring All the Brewers to the Yard: Strawberry Milkshake IPA

BYOB by | Sep 2016 | Issue #116
Illustration by Ellen Crenshaw

What I’m going to say next is going to befuddle many longtime readers. I hate flavored IPAs.

I think they’re almost universally lazy and pointless. They smack of desperate “brand extension” and SKU-maximizing exercises, like the big guys introducing their next flavor: Guava Banana Mock Cocktail Light. A few ideas work—citrus, for instance. However, to me, a bourbon barrel-aged chocolate chile oak Brett IPA is a ludicrously muddled mess.

Yes, I know it’s slightly absurd to hear this from the Clam Chowdah and Guacamole Saison guy. Having said that, every once in a while I discover a surprising flavor combination that actually works. I found one while wandering the floor of Club Night at the newly rebranded “Homebrew Con” in Baltimore, when homebrew clubs from across the country pour their best creations.

At the Sons of Alchemy (Harrisburg, Pa.) booth, Jeffery John was pouring a “Strawberry Milkshake IPA” inspired by the “milkshake” collaboration between Tired Hands and Sweden’s Omnipollo. His Club Night version was a different iteration of a beer that started as an IPA with the simple addition of lactose.

Embracing the success of his first trial, he took the next obvious step—a fruit milkshake—in this case, strawberry. The sample I had was creamy, fruity, and full of that annoyingly elusive fruit character. The fruit-focused hops reinforced the berry addition and the oats made for creamy sweetness without being heavy and cloying. It’s definitely worth a go! (John’s planned chocolate milkshake IPA? We’ll have to wait and see.)

Strawberry Milkshake IPA
For 5.5 gallons at 1.073 OG | 66 IBU | 5.3 SRM | 8.0% ABV

8.0 lbs pale malt
2.0 lbs Golden Naked Oats
1.0 lbs flaked oats
1.0 lbs white wheat malt

Single infusion mash at 150°F

30 IBU of HopShot (three syringes) | 60 minutes
1.5 oz Citra whirlpool at 180°F for 20 minutes
1.5 oz Mosaic whirlpool at 180°F for 20 minutes
1.5 oz Citra dry hop
1.5 oz Mosaic dry hop

Safale Dry Ale Yeast (S-04)

1.5 lbs lactose (added 2 days after fermentation start)
6.0 lbs strawberry puree (added 2 days after fermentation start)