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Rhinegeist Truth IPA Clone 1.0

Truth on the left, clone on the right
Some time ago I came across a post online where someone set out to clone the Rhinegeist Truth beer. They got feedback from a brewmaster at Rhinegeist about how they formulate the beer and hops additions.  Using their feedback, I created the recipe below.  Although I'm not an IPA fan, several people I know are, and it's nice to have something to offer them when they visit.  It's also appropriate to say that on those rare occasions where I do order an IPA in a bar or restaurant (often because it's all they offer, sadly), Rhinegeist Truth is one of the few I'll intentionally order.

The Ingredients

9 pounds, 3 ounces Pale Ale Malt
2 pounds, 11 ounces Golden Promise Malt
11 ounces Vienna Malt
9 ounces Flaked Rye
5 ounces Carared Malt
0.65 ounces of Bravo hops @ 16.2% AA - 60 minutes
0.35 ounces of Simcoe hops @ 13.6% AA - 20 minutes
0.70 ounces of Centennial hops @ 10.4% AA - 20 minutes
0.45 oz. Simcoe hops @ 13.6% AA - 10 minutes
0.90 oz. Centennial hops @ 10.4% AA - 10 minutes
2 oz. Centennial hops @ 10.4% AA - 0 minutes
1.5 oz. Simcoe hops @ 13.6% AA - 0 minutes
1 oz. Citra hops @ 12% AA - 0 minutes
2 oz. Amarillo hops @ 9.2% AA - dry hop 7 days
1.5 oz. Simcoe hops @ 13.0% AA - dry hop 7 days
1 oz. Citra hops @ 12% AA - dry hop 7 days
1 Whirlfloc tablet
1/2 tsp. Yeast Nutrient
1 package White Labs California Ale Yeast
1 Tbsp. pH 5.2 Stabilizer
1 vial White Labs Clarity Ferm

Per BeerSmith and my equipment profile, this beer has the following characteristics:

  • Style: American IPA
  • Bitterness: 63.3 IBUs (the actual beer is 75)
  • Color: 5.9 SRM
  • Est. ABV: 7.0%
  • Total Grains: 13.44 pounds
  • Total Hops: 12.05 ounces
  • Bitterness Ratio: 0.967
  • Estimated Pre-boil Gravity: 1.058 SG
  • Estimated Final Gravity: 1.013 SG
  • Batch Size: 6.0 gallons
  • Brewhouse Efficiency: 80.00%
  • Boil Time: 60 minutes
  • Pre-boil Volume: 7.4 gallons

It's important to note when formulating this recipe that if you want to get the hops balance the same as Rhinegeist's, you'll need to know the following about how they blend the hops:

  • The bittering addition is 30 IBUs worth of Bravo hops
  • The 20 minute addition is 20 IBUs worth of a 2:1 mix of Centennial and Simcoe. I found that the best way to calculate this in BeerSmith was to create a throwaway recipe with 13.44 pounds of grain and put a 20-minute hops addition of Centennial and Simcoe into it. Then I adjusted the amounts of the additions such that it contributed 20 IBUs and was a 2:1 ratio of the two types of hops.  
  • The 10 minute addition is 16 IBUs worth of a 2:1 mix of Centennial and Simcoe. I used the same technique as above to calculate the amounts.
  • The final addition is a mix of hops in specific volumes. The notes say to do a hop stand of 45 minutes with the heat off and without any cooling, so that's what I did.
The grain amounts above are based on the Rhinegeist brewer's stated grist percentages.

The Mash

Truth uses a simple single-step mash.  I used The Grainfather to brew this one, so I began by putting 5.5 gallons of mash water in the kettle and treating it with a Campden tablet.  This was heated to 150F and the grain added to it.  The grain was mashed for 60 minutes, then heated to a mash out temperature of 170F.  2.8 gallons of sparge water were added, and some additional water added to hit the desired pre-boil volume of 7.4 gallons.

My actual pre-boil gravity was 14.3 Brix versus an expected 14.3 Brix, so I came out right on target.

The Boil

The Grainfather was set to begin the boil as I sparged the grain, since it takes a while to heat up.  By the time the sparge was finished, the wort had reached a temp in the 196F range.  That dropped a bit when I topped it off to 7.4 gallons.

Once the beer was boiling well, I began the 60-minute countdown:
  • 60 minutes:  Add Bravo hops
  • 20 minutes: Add the Centennial/Simcoe mix
  • 15 minutes: Add Whirlfloc tablet and yeast nutrient
  • 10 minutes: Add the Centennial/Simcoe mix
  • 7 minutes: Recirculate wort through the counter flow chiller to sterilize it
  • 0 minutes; Turn off the heat, add the final hops mix that includes Centennial, Simcoe, and Citra. Leave the kettle alone for 45 minutes, heat off, no chilling.
  • "-45 minutes": Pump wort through the counter flow chiller into the sanitized fermenter
My final gravity registered 16.2 Brix versus an expected 16.1 Brix.  Final kettle volume was 6 gallons as anticipated.  Volume into the fermenter was only 5.5 gallons due to the massive amount of sediment in the kettle, probably a combination of the hops and grain sediments.  These clogged the filter and pump in The Grainfather and prevented all the wort from being sucked out. Given that much of what was left was gray sediment, I chose not to dump that into the fermenter and accepted the loss of a half gallon.

The Fermentation

The White Labs California Ale Yeast was pitched into the fermenter along with a vial of Clarity Ferm.  An airlock was inserted into the fermenter.

My temperature control system was busy handling a BJ's Millennium Ale clone brewing in another fermenter, so I let the beer sit at ambient basement temps (approximately 69F this time of year) to ferment. When the other beer is past the high stage of fermentation, I'll transfer the chiller to this beer to keep fermentation temps in check.

Update 06/14/2017:  The beer has completed primary fermentation and has spent an additional 7 days with dry hops in the fermenter. Since the real Truth is a bright beer, I wanted my clone to look just like it.  I mixed up some gelatin finings and dropped those in, noting that there is no longer a krausen or any yeast visible on top of the beer now - another indication that fermentation is over.  There was a significant hop aroma when I opened the fermenter to put the finings in, so the dry hops are doing their job.  I'm expecting to bottle it this Saturday.

Update 06/16/2017: A family member who is very familiar with the real beer (and had in fact just finished drinking one) was given a sample of the clone. He thought the aroma had been "nailed" and the flavor was a very good match. He thought the clone finished a little more cleanly but otherwise couldn't tell the difference.  It will be interesting to see what others think when it's bottle conditioned.

Post-Mortem and Other Notes

The beer is still fermenting, but I was curious to see how it's coming along. I took a small sample of it from the fermenter and compared it side by side with the real beer:

Clone sample on left, actual Rhinegeist Truth on right
The clone beer appears slightly lighter in color than the real beer, but this may be because it's a much smaller volume in the glass (so light can penetrate it more easily and make it appear lighter in color).  Given that the clone is not yet carbonated and has only had a little time with its dry hops addition, the two are very similar already. It was difficult to tell the original and clone apart by only the flavor. The clone's aroma is primarily grapefruit at this point, while the real beer's aroma is more intense and varied. This may change as the clone spends more time with its dry hops.  I'm looking forward to comparing the two when the clone is finished.

June 25, 2017:  At least three people who are familiar with the real Rhinegeist Truth IPA have weighed in on this clone. The consensus is that it hits the aroma, bitterness, and flavor notes well. The real Truth has a bit of a harshness in the finish, like an almost astringent hoppy flavor, that my clone is lacking.  My clone also finishes more cleanly than the real beer - but the two are extremely close to untrained tastebuds.  I'm sure a Rhinegeist brewmaster would identify other things wrong with it... but casual drinkers seem to enjoy it.  Yield for the batch was 46 bottles, 10 of which were 22-ounce bombers and the other 36 were 12-ounce bottles.

July 25, 2017:  I visited Rhinegeist last Saturday, and took their sensory folks a bottle of the beer.  They wrote a nice message back today saying "I just got a chance to taste your clone. Well done! I've tasted a number of Truth clones, and they're usually thin-bodied and way too light in color - you hit both of these attributes very well.  The hop profile is also very similar to the real thing, which is another problem I often find in homebrewed clones." It finished with "The consensus from those of us who tasted it was that we'd definitely be proud of it had we homebrewed it ourselves. Again, well done!"  I think that's about as high a praise as I could expect for the beer.


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