Before Christmas, Jace Gonnerman and other members of the restaurant group that includes Meridian Pint, Brookland Pint, and Smoke & Barrel headed out to Ocelot Brewing Company to brew a collaboration beer. That beer launches tonight at the aforementioned bars (
and Smoke & Barrel also features a Flying Dog rarity tap takeover that event is tomorrow, my bad). "Talking Backwards" is a Triple IPA that will be brewed once a year.
The incredibly hoppy brew weighs in at 10.8% and uses CTZ, Simcoe, Mosaic, and Citra hops. Beer director Jace Gonnerman provided what he calls "the nerdy stuff":
This beer has been in conversation for about 6 months. We decided to shoot for an early February release date, partially inspired by Russian River Pliny the Younger (one of our main inspirations for this offering).
Adrien and Mike at Ocelot spent considerable time and energy writing a tricky recipe. We wanted the beer to be big (around 10.8%) and with enormous hop flavor and aroma, but also maintain a sense of crispness and dryness so often lost in hoppy beers at this ABV.
The grist bill is primarily English Maris Otter with just a touch of Pilsner. We decided on Maris Otter as a base malt for a couple reasons. First, Maris Otter is a nice pale base malt with just enough subtle nutty and bready character to stand up to the hop assault that we planned to launch at it. Second, Maris Otter is able to ferment to very high levels of ABV. This was essential for us, as it eliminated the need for any darker malts.
Like most of the world's highly praised Imperial/Triple IPAs, we also added some brewing sugar, to help ensure the finished beer was as dry as possible.
For hop selection, we went with three of our current favorites for the flavor and aroma additions: Simcoe, Citra, and Mosaic.
And we used a lot of them. After a bittering addition of CTZ, we added a combined 22 pounds of Simcoe and CItra during the kettle and whirlpool. Ocelot is in the midst of dry-hopping the beer with 76 pounds of Simcoe, Mosaic, and Citra (52 total pounds of Citra!) spread out over two additions.
In total, 104 pounds of hops for a 30 barrel batch of beer. Almost 3.5 pounds per barrel (a lot)!
Talking Backwards will be available primarily at our three restaurants and in the Ocelot tasting room, with very small quantities at select accounts across DC and Virginia.