The Anatomy of Doc Perdue’s Boxing Bruin

  • December 21st, 2017
  • By Stephen Rich

India Pale Ale, also known as IPA, is without a doubt the style that helped advance craft beer into the future and into hearts and minds of those who love it. Since the dawn of craft beer in the mid 1980s, hop-forward IPAs have steered the craze for more flavour in beer. The IPA category is the most popular of craft beer styles in North America. When a beer fan or homebrewer walks into a brewery, they will inevitably try the brewery’s IPA as the measuring stick of total beer quality.

From day one at Cowbell Brewing, we dreamed of what our IPA would be and how it could represent us. How would it smell, taste, and feel? There are so many variations of IPA - what is right for us? We went straight up, no nonsense, and honest, IPA. Doc Perdue’s Boxing Bruin is that IPA, coming in at 6.3% ABV, 50 IBU, and 10 SRM. It is brewed with a simple malt bill, five outrageously aromatic hops, a clean English Ale yeast, and one special ingredient unique to the style, in true Cowbell fashion.

At the Cowbell Farm in Blyth, Ontario, Boxing Bruin is brewed with fresh water from our onsite well, passed through sophisticated carbon and UV filters to ensure the water is clean and pure. We treat the water in the Mash Tun with Calcium Sulphate to help emphasize the crisp and refreshing bitterness in the beer, and to better showcase the bright hop sensations.

Boxing Bruin starts with traditional Floor-Malted Pilsner Malt from Weyermann Malts, Bamberg Germany. Chosen as our base malt, this Pilsner Malt is malted the old-fashioned way, and produces a smooth and elegant flavour, perfect for this IPA.

We add Flaked Oats right to the mash to add some body, mouthfeel, and foam retention to the beer. In general, Boxing Bruin’s final sugar level is very low, allowing hops to shine, but also leaving a light body. The flaked oats help to build some body and balance the beer.

Caramel 60 is a classic specialty malt often used in IPAs and Pale Ales to add caramel and honey sensations. We use a small amount for that reason, and for a touch of colour.

Finally, we include Carapils Malt to increase body and foam retention.

Boxing Bruin is loaded with hop character, using El Dorado, Citra, Denali, Mosaic and Amarillo in this delicious IPA. We balance it with medium strong bitterness at 50 BUs, but crank up the hop aromas and flavour by utilizing late kettle and whirlpool hop additions, as well as proprietary innovative dry hopping techniques.

Tasting notes:
El Dorado: Tropical fruit, pineapple, mango, pear, candy
Citra: Citrus, grapefruit, lime, tropical fruit
Denali: Pineapple, citrus, lemon zest, citrus
Mosaic: Tangerine, papaya, blueberry, tropical fruit
Amarillo: Orange peel, zest, citrus, pineapple

Compared to Doc Perdue’s Bobcat, which primarily showcases pine and citrus, Doc Perdue’s Boxing Bruin is all about tropical hop sensations. These five amazing hops push pineapple, mango, orange zest and candy forward on the nose and palate.

Unique to this IPA is Belgian Candi Syrup. These flavourful sugars are commonly used in Belgian beer styles to add flavour and colour, but without adding body or final sugar content. Boxing Bruin gets both Clear and Golden Belgian Candi Syrup to add a slight candied-like character to the hops, but leaves the body elegant and firm.

White Labs 007 Dry English Ale Yeast is a classic yeast strain for IPAs of all sorts. The yeast ferments clean, dry, and leaves the beer’s flavour and aroma to focus on hop sensations. It’s the perfect fit for Cowbell’s India Pale Ale.

We recommend pairing Boxing Bruin with curried dishes, pizza (btw...our restaurant, Cowbell Kitchen, has amazing wood-fired pizza!), wings, carrot cake and Cowbell Kitchen’s Lemon Tart dessert which has Boxing Bruin in the recipe!