Tell Us Your IPA Story - Tod Mott
By: Amanda - Love Beer and Life Published:
As you share all of your IPA stories, we want to share some of our own. In anticipation of this promotion, we spent some time reminiscing with some of the folks who have been involved with or supported Harpoon IPA over the past 20 years, and we asked them what they remembered. We are honored to kick off our stories with Tod Mott (second from right), the original brewer of Harpoon IPA. After his time at Harpoon, Tod went on to brew – among other things – the legendary Kate The Great, one of the most respected beers in existence. He is currently searching for a brewery location in southern Maine, and could be back to brewing by next fall. Here is his "story":
A little history about Harpoon IPA. For starters, I had been with the brewery for about 2 years and had made a Harpoon Stout for a spring seasonal in 1992. As 1993 came around Rich and Russ Heisner (original brew-master) asked if there was a beer style I would like to do as a seasonal this year because the Harpoon Stout was not going to be re-brewed. The stout had gone over like a lead balloon in Southie with all the other well established stouts available there.
So, I was thinking about what style was missing from the beer scene as I was imbibing on a Ballantine IPA. It hit me as I was trying to figure out the hop profile that there is not a well-established beer that any brewer was brewing around New England; an IPA. Harpoon IPA was concocted.
I had won a few blue ribbons in homebrew competitions for IPA's and so I had some recipes up my sleeves. I used The Complete Joy of Hombrewing as my brewing bible and decided to incorporate toasted malt into the grist profile to help make Harpoon IPA stand out. Little did I know that no maltsters had a toasted malt available on a large scale. Being the artist in residence and having the Harpoon crew as my team, I sent "all hands" home with 10 pound bags of pale malt for them to "home toast" in their ovens overnight. The crew then brought back the "home toasted" malt back to the brewery to add to the the grist profile for the days brew. So, all things being equal there was a lot of discrepancies in the "home toasted" malt from being really "well done" to "mildly toasted". All in all, we utilized the home toasted malt which made for a truly unique flavored ale.
And for the first time a dry-hopped beer came out of the Harpoon Brewery (which used to be called Mass Bay Brewing Co.). To dry hop the beer, we stuffed two pairs of panty hose (XXL) with 5 pounds of Cascade leaf in each pair and placed the "legs" into the conditioning tank. We purged the tank and then brought the beer from the fermenter on the hops into the conditioning tank. The IPA sat on the dry hops for about 10 days as the beer conditioned. We even got a Jack Daniels barrel and put some IPA into the barrel with more hops and had a "brewers only" event at the mid-session of the 1993 Boston Brewers Festival which started a mass party!! The first and only Harpoon Cask conditioned IPA on record!! It was delicious and started the IPA revolution! Nobody has looked back since.
Have a story like Tod's? Share it with us in our contest for a chance at winning the "Harpoon IPA Experience" for a year, including entry and accommodations at all of our festivals in Boston and Windsor, VT.