Around 2005 a style of beer emerged from San Diego’s craftbrew scene called Double IPA. Like many things Southern Californian, it’s pretty over-the-top. Soon brewers were doubling down on double IPA, leading reviewers to warn potential drinkers they might be brewed with “a ridiculous amount of hops” or were a malty extravaganza.
Of the San Diego IPAs my favorite so far is Stone Brewing’s Arrogant Bastard. It certainly is an aggressive mouthful, but with a smooth balance like a pool parlor grifter. The label copy suggests “you probably won’t like it” but, as BDSM has taken its place in mainstream culture, so has imbibing in beverages for which “you are not worthy.”
Audacious Blackguard started out as a straight-forward IPA recipe I concocted first in July, 2004. Along with equal amounts of four progressively more-roasted crystal malts, plus a touch of black malt, the light malt base was boiled with a moderate amount of moderately bitter Centennial and Liberty hops. The original recipe was pitched with Irish ale yeast, which gave it a slightly fruity but rather dry-finished flavor. Dry-hopping defines the IPA style, and this one aged on Challenger and Eroica. My first taste was a bit overwhelming, but I realized that it was very much like Stone’s Arrogant Bastard.
Spring 2012 I decided to update the recipe. With 12 types of grain and seven hop additions Audacious Blackguard is a salute to its San Diego Roots. But it is very approachable. While it is a nice heavy-in-the-mouth malt bomb, its hop character ranges from piney bitter to flowery citrus. Six weeks of dry hopping with Simcoe and Willamette strains provides the aromatic volatiles.
As a further tribute to my time in San Diego I brewed this version with White Lab’s San Diego Superyeast.
Audacious Blackguard is monstrously malty, with a clean, dry yeast contribution. Finished with a flowery citrus aroma, it’s a nice heavy IPA, very true to the San Diego style. OK, it’s January, good time to check out the north swell at Torrey Pines.