I'm new to the home brew scene, and I've made a couple of extract brews from recipes in the beginners books that I own, so I've decided it's time to move on to attempting my own recipe.

I want to make a Black IPA, but I don't want to blindly follow a recipe. What I did was looked through some of the recipes up on beersmith and found one that looked promising. Then I looked up a few clones of my favorite IPAs (Lagunitas and Modus Hoperandi). I took the grain bill from the Black IPA and the hops profiles from the other IPA's, made some minor modifications with beersmith to achieve gravity, color, and IBU that I thought sounded good.

My worry is that I'll just end up with something more like an imperial stout. I'm still really getting used to which ingredients affect the beer in certain ways, so I'm not sure how this recipe will end up. Take a look and let me know what you think.

Specialty Grains:
8 oz Black Patent Malt
8 oz Cara-Pils/Dextrine
8 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L
8 oz Pale Malt (2 Row)
4 oz Roasted Barley

1 lb Light Dry Extract
6 lb Dark Liquid Extract
3 lb Lyle's Golden Syrup

1 oz Columbus (60min)
1 oz Horizon (60min)
0.75 oz Summit (60min)
1.25 oz Willamette (30min)
0.75 oz Centennial (30min)
1 oz Cascade (1min)

Dry Hop:
3 oz Cascade (5 days)
1 oz Centennial (5 days)

OG: 1.075
ABV: 7.4%
IBU: 68
Color: 34 SRM

3 Answers 3


I don't have a lot of experience with recipe design, but I can provide some links.

Check out this excellent 2010 article from Brew Your Own magazine on Black IPAs. It says that the Great American Beer Festival adopted that style as "American-Style India Black Ale", and the characteristics are:

  • Color = 25+ SRM
  • Original Gravity = 1.056–1.075
  • Final Gravity = 1.012–1.018
  • Bitterness = 50–70 IBU
  • Alcohol by volume = 6–7.5%

BYO seems to suggest you should replace your black malt and roast barley with debittered black malt. I also found this this blogger's article on a hypothetical splitting of the pale ale styles, including his/her interpretation of a new black IPA category.

The BJCP has not added a Black IPA category yet, AFAIK, but can check out the BJCP Style Guidelines for Russian Imperial Stouts (Category 13.F.) to make sure you aren't straying too far into that area. Seems like there is some overlap between the GABF's black IPA description and BJCP's RIS, and you are in the intersection in terms of metrics. But at the end of the day, what difference does it make how the beer would be categorized if you achieve the flavor and other characteristics that you desire?

Personally, as a fan of Black IPAs, I differentiate black IPA from RIS by prominent American aroma and flavor hops (citrus/pine notes), roasty and coffee flavors being muted despite the darkness, and no alcohol heat or vinous character. Maybe look to commercial examples for inspiration - my own models would be 21st Amendment's Back in Black (first one I had, so it defines the style for me), New Glarus' Blacktop, and Lakefront's IBA.

Isn't it nice to be able to brew what you want and have fun?

  • Thanks a bunch. I think rather than try to Frankenstein my own recipe together I'll start with one of the ones listed in the BYO article and modify the hops profile just a tad. I live in Denver and all of the craft breweries are starting to make Black IPAs and I can't get enough of them!
    – sabrams
    Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 17:49
  • +1 for replacing the roast barley and black patent with debittered black. My experience with black patent has been almost universally negative. 1/2 pound will make your beer taste like a stale ashtray. Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 18:47
  • Answer is now outdated. 21B. Specialty IPA contains Black IPA definition. Will you update, or I have to put another answer? I'd rather not do it.
    – Mołot
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 17:16
  • @Molot Seeing how this answer was over two years ago and Chino Brews hasn't been here since Aug of 2015, you could have embedded your update as an edit in this answer.
    – brewchez
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 12:39

Current BJCP guidelines have Black IPA under Specialty IPA category. And it does have difference with American stout and porters defined:

Not as roasty burnt as American stouts and porters, and with less body and increased smoothness and drinkability.

That's official now. Basically this answer is still true, only more canonical source became available.


One other approach is to cold steep the dark malts over night and add the results to the top of the mash just before you start sparging. For that much black patent I'd suggest a couple of pints of cold water for the steep, and ditch the roasted barley. Remember you're only interested in the colour from the black malts, not the roasty flavours.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.