Sour IPA.             Soured Hoppy Ale.

Sour IPA. Soured Hoppy Ale.

What: A kettle soured IPA

Why: Hops + Sour = delicious

My recipe and process here is adapted from information in a blog post by Crooked Run Brewing over in Leesburg and Sterling, Virginia which lays out their kettle soured, dry hopped and fruited Sour IPA. 

My thanks go to them for being so open as to put their recipe and process online.

“First, what is a sour IPA?  There are various examples, but I believe that a sour IPA is a beer that exhibits both sourness and IPA qualities–some hop bitterness, and a firm dry hop.  A sour IPA is not just a dry-hopped sour.  That style has been done really well, but it is different, because a sour IPA also has some bitterness, and that is a key difference.” Crooked Run Blog

What follows is my adaptation and interpretation of their recipe.

IPA is a contested enough term as it is and with all the lore and ‘mystery’ around the origins of the style. What we call IPA today isn’t what IPA was a few decades ago and what we think IPA was 150 years ago is wildly off in many cases anyway.

This is a recipe with minimal bitterness and is primarily balanced by the acidity with a bucket load of hops added in at various stages. Call it a sour IPA, call me names for calling it a sour IPA.. call it what you will.

Either way there are quite a few ways to make a sour beer that has a lot of hop character. This method – kettle souring – is perhaps the most common, but I’ll add another recipe for a no-boil ‘North-East’ style hoppy sour in the future which takes a different and lazier approach.

Acid Session 2 – Empress

An approachable but impressionable sour beer with ample hop character. “Juicy” due to both hop additions and fruit, but nicely brought together by acidity.

Original Gravity Final Gravity Colour (SRM / EBC) Bitterness Alcohol by Volume
1.060 1.012 4.1 / 8.1 15 IBU 6.2%


Lager Malt – 70%

Wheat Malt  – 25% (can be replaced entirely with flaked wheat)

Flaked Wheat – 5%


Swansons L. Plantarum or similar strain.


US-05 at 1.5x the standard pitching rate

I stick to US-05 for sours, but Crooked Run suggest S-04 or WY1318 London Ale III.


Name AA% Amount Use Time
Kohatu 7.0% 4g per litre. Whirlpool 20 mins
Kohatu 7.0% 6g per litre Dry Hop 5 days

Crooked Run use Mosaic and Simcoe here and they would work wonderfully. There are no right or wrong answers. Just stick to between 3-5g/I for the whirlpool to keep the bitterness palatable.

I happened to have Kohatu in the fridge and was looking for something to go with the orange zest I planned on adding. So in it went.

Some interesting combinations could include:-

  • Simcoe/Mosaic + Pineapple
  • Galaxy/Vic Secret + Raspberries
  • Nelson Sauvin + Mango


  1. Mash in grain @ 68c / 151f for 60 minutes

  2. Bring wort to boil and cool

    • This is the pasteurisation step
  3. Cool quickly to pitching temperature – probably around 20c / 68f and pitch Lactobacillus Plantarum (or other similar strain)

    • Re-hydrate ~1 plantarum capsule per gallon/4L in luke warm water
  4. Leave for 24-48 hours and check acidity.

    • Be extremely diligent with cleaning and sanitisation.
    • Aim for a pH of between 3.2 – 3.7 to suit your tastes. (I stopped at 3.5)
  5. Transfer to Kettle – Boil for 60 minutes

  6. Add hops and steep/whirlpool for 15-30 minutes at end of boil

  7. Cool to pitching temperature – probably around 18c / 64.5f and add yeast

  8. Leave to ferment until terminal gravity, fruit, dry hop.

    • FG ~1.012 in around two weeks.
    • Add fruit. I added the zest of one large orange per gallon/4.5L
      • Most fruit is best added as fermentation winds down. Be aware it may prolong the fermentation time if it is high in sugars.
    • Dry hop when desired. (If unsure then about 10 days into fermentation/after fruiting is safe.)
  9. Carbonate or prime to 2.2-2.5vol Co2 in keg/for bottling.

29/4/17 – Bottled. Taste and aroma are predominantly lime and orange. Pretty fantastic at this stage. Will be interesting to see how the fruit flavour changes with time and if the oil from the orange zest limits head retention even futher.


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