2021 is bringing with it a lot of changes here at KBC; first and foremost being a revision of the recipes for each of our year-round beers. A recent blog post described the changes for our flagship Saison, Ichigo Ichie , and a future one will address Kuro Shio no Gotoku. For this post, however, we look at the changes for Ichii Senshin, our Belgian IPA.
A Look Back
IPA is undoubtedly the style that is most associated with craft beer and for good reason. What’s not to love about a well-made IPA and its inviting hop aromas and flavours? Behind Saison, IPA is without doubt our go-to style whenever we see it on a menu. While it went without question that we would have one in our year-round lineup, the harder question to answer was what kind of IPA it would be. What we realised was that this was the perfect style to straddle the gap between the two brewing traditions we took inspiration in when founding the company, American and Belgian. Thus, Ichii Senshin was brewed to be the middle ground between citrus forward American IPAs and earthy and herbal European hops, all tied together with fruit forward Belgian yeast character.
Why the Desire to Change?
While this is an admirable goal, what we began to find is that in many ways Ichii Senshin can be a jack of all trades while mastering none. Not quite citrusy enough to satisfy modern hop cravings yet too bold and not yeast driven enough to keep up with hoppy Belgian beers. When the combination came together in perfect harmony it is an incredibly complex IPA like no other, but one character always tended to dominate the others when it wasn’t at its peak.
How has it changed?
We decided that the best way forward was actually to take a step backwards. Instead of trying to accomplish too many things in one beer, we decided that the best path forward was to get back to the citrusy basics that are the hallmark of the IPA style.
Hop varieties were dropped from six to three, with classic Cascade and Centennial hops taking centre stage. The overall amount of hops has changed very little, but the timing of their usage modified to pair as much of their sharp grapefruit and orange character with the fruit-driven components of our house yeast as possible. Munich malt has also been added to the recipe to enrich the flavour and body of the beer while also giving it a lovely golden hue. These changes combine to create a much more versatile, straight forward, and reliable year-round brew.
What's the Takeaway?
While we are certain there are times that we will reminisce about the Ichii Senshin of old, we are 100% confident that the result of the changes we have made is a much better representation of what KBC has built a reputation on: pairing Belgian yeast with new world hop flavours, aromas, and techniques. We hope you are excited to join us in welcoming this new iteration of an old favourite to our year-round lineup!