Anatomy of a Nelson Sauvin-Calypso Belgian IPA

For months, I shared my home with the most beautiful carboy I’ve ever created, a work of art in red. Hop’s End Belgian IPA was meant to be an experience of the fruitier-grapier end of the hops spectrum, featuring Nelson Sauvin, Calypso, and a touch of Cascade and “Magic Hop Dust” from Austin Homebrew Supply for backbone (full recipe here).

Even the cat thought it was stunning.
Even the cat thought it was stunning.

It went through a true secondary and an additional racking into tertiary, where it dry hopped on yet more Nelson Sauvin, and there it sat for the winter.

Unfortunately, on bottling day, a heavy sulphury aroma greeted us. I’d noticed it in earlier manipulations, but kept hoping it would dissipate. It seems to be DMS, dimethylsulfate, which can hang around if you don’t have a rolling boil happening during the brewing (though I’ve never experienced it before). Fortunately, it seems to be dissipating as the beer bottle conditions, though unevenly.

On bottling day, thus the lack of carbonation.
On bottling day, thus the lack of carbonation.

At its best, this beer has a wonderful, clean bite, with a rounded fruityness and a white grape note that lingers in the aftertaste. It’s a great marriage of the mango-y flavor of Calypso, the clove-banana spectrum of Belgian yeasts, and Nelson’s forthright grape tones. The DMS issue may or may not fully clear, but we were aiming for a big IBU beer – it came in around 100 IBUs – that wouldn’t be bitter, and we hit that mark dead on.

Calypso and Nelson Sauvin are two great hops that taste great together, and I can’t wait to play around with them again.

2 thoughts on “Anatomy of a Nelson Sauvin-Calypso Belgian IPA”

  1. It is late February but the rhizomes of the Cascade hops I grow in my little hothouse here in Michigan are starting to show a little life. Could see the beginnings of the vines soon (while I still have two inches of snow outside)!

  2. I’m so excited to become a hops grower myself this year. We’ve got rhizomes coming in for Cascade and Centennial, and I can’t wait to see what we throw together with those in the fall and winter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *