Thursday, 14 March 2013

IPA stories: Jan Halvor Fjeld

Hello beer lovers, I'm currently working on a huge article on India Pale Ale. I f**king love IPA's! Since it's taking more time than I like and I'm pretty busy these days you can consider this a teaser. Nøgne Ø brews one of my favorite IPA's and the originator of my favorite Nøgne IPA is Mr. Jan Halvor Fjeld, let's see what he has to say on the subject:

Photo: Kenn Hanssen

Around 1995 I was flying longhaul and the interest for other types of beer than the “fizzy yellow stuff” started to evolve. Someone told me about a Norwegian pilot who was much crazier about beer than I was. He’s name was Kjetil Jikuin. So after some years when I finally met him, we started talking about beer and we've been friends since.

Two Captains DIPA is Nøgne Ø’s version of “HumleHelvete” (HopHell). I changed the name and the recipe some to adapt to their ingredients. I read an article about Double IPA’s in Zymurgi by Vinnie Chilurzo, Russian River. He gave a homebrew recipe. I adjusted the recipe to my own ingredients, brewed it and suddenly I was Home brewer of the Year 2010.


I gave Nøgne Ø “Cart Blanch” to brew Two Captains. It was supposed to be brewed as a single brew, but it sold very well, so they brewed 3 batches before they decided to stop. Someone liked Two Captains so much that they started a Facebook group to get Two Captains back. I was of course very flattered and supported the movement. In the same period Nøgne Ø won a medal in Australia with Two Captains and they decided to continue brewing the beer. Last Wednesday I was at the brewery and they were brewing batch # 8 of Two Captains, I think. For me it is a great compliment, pleasure and honor to have “my” beer brewed at a world class brewery. To walk into a liquor store in the US and find “my” beer on the shelf is an adventure. Priceless.

I do not remember tasting my first IPA. But I remember very clearly my first American Pale Ale. It was a revelation. I was mostly into English and German style beers. Easter 2009 I was in Trondheim, at “Den Gode Nabo”. Nøgne Ø Pale Ale was on tap. After one sip I was hooked on American Style Beers.  So thank you Kjetil, once more.

Photo: Nøgne Ø

How is the perfect IPA? It’s a matter of personal taste. I prefer the more light colored, drier versions, not to bitter, but with plenty of hop taste and aroma. I am a great fan of Matt Brynildson at Firestone Walker, try their “Double Jack” or “Union Jack”. Other good commercial examples are Bell’s ”Two Harted Ale” and “Lagunitas IPA”, almost a session IPA. To brew an IPA/DIPA to my taste you must restrain the use of (dark) crystal malts and use a most of the hops late in the boil. The fermentation is important, I like them fairly dry (FG around 1.012) and not too estery, keep the temperature down, both in mash and fermentation. Home brewers that use an immersion wort chiller have an advantage; they can cool the wort down immediately after the last, big hop addition and get lots of hop taste and aroma. And remember that hoppy beers are best fresh.

I do not think I have a favorite hop or hop combo. I have tried several, but my latest IPA/DIPAs are conventional, mostly Cascade, Centennial, Simcoe and some Amarillo. I often use Warrior as a bittering hop, but also Chinook and Columbus. In dark beers I like Northern Brewer. Good combos are Cascade/Centennial and Amarillo/Simcoe. Do not use too many types, the taste can be muddy. I like several additions throughout the boil and most in the end.


I started thinking about home brewing about 1998 and set my first extract brew in November 2007. Not too good. 5 more extract brews, the switched to all grain, first brew 26th February 2008. Now I have 171 batches made. Only home brewing so far, but you never know…

Thank you so much Jan Halvor for sharing your story, more on IPA coming soon. If you enjoy “Die By The Beer” please comment, subscribe & share...

- Haffy

1 comment:

  1. I bought a bottle of Two Captains in my very good off-licence in Clonakilty, West Cork, Ireland. I seek out beers I have never had before, so this was a must-drink, especially as it said it was a double IPA. I love India Pale Ale, which of course was created by the British Empire supplying beer to its troops in India. The extra hops kept it fresh, but also helped quench a thirst in the heat. Well done on an excellent recipe! This is one of the best beers I have ever tasted!