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IPA : Bent Nail Clone


Moving from MT to OR opens up a huge new world of beer, and honestly most Oregon beer is like comparing a college student to a freshman in high school.  Plenty of reasons, but the beer culture here is so hard core that you can make some pretty niche stuff.  Montana breweries often have to please a less refined palette.  Not to say they aren’t good, but there’s just a lack of interesting styles.  While I’m rambling… It’s worth mentioning that the best Scottish & Scotch Ales you can find anywhere are being made in MT (Cold Smoke, Jacks 90 Shilling, Copper John).

Anyways… there’s a beer I missed after moving.  Bent Nail IPA from Red Lodge Ales is one of my favorite beers.  It’s not the hoppy-est, it’s not the booziest, it’s not the anything-est, but it’s light, refreshing, tasty, and everything I love about an IPA.  It’s a pretty basic IPA, and I decided that I wanted to take a swing at creating something similar.

I was able to tour the brewery years ago, and I vaguely remembered which hops I was told they use.  They don’t publish many details about the beer, so I was basically guessing on everything.  That’s part of the fun, right?  My “clone” is more of a tribute than anything else, especially since my final product wasn’t even close!

All-Grain Recipe: Bent Nail IPA Clone



  • 12.75 lb. – Great Western 2-row
  • 1 lb. – Crystal 60L
  • .75 lb. – American Munich
  • .25 lb. – Caramel Malt 40L

Hop Additions / Boil Additions:

  • 1.5 oz. – Northern Brewer (8.6%) – added during boil, boiled 50 min
  • 1.5 oz. – Cascade (6.4%) – added during boil, boiled 20 min
  • 1 Whirlfloc Tablet & Wort Chiller – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • 1.75 oz. – Northern Brewer (8.6%) – added during boil, boiled 5 min
  • 1.6 oz. – Cascade (6.4%) – added at flame out



  • Wyeast 1056 American Ale

Additional Details / Notes

  • Style based on 14B – American IPA
  • OG 1.060 / TG 1.007
  • 7.1% ABV | Color: 11.0 SRM | ~75 IBU’s
  • Brewed: 08/10/2013, Secondary: 08/24/13, Bottled/Kegged: 09/07/13
  • Mash Temp: ~149°, Thickness: 1.08 qt/g, Efficiency 59%, Attenuation 89%

Brewing the Bent Nail IPA Clone


The Mash. Too much grain for my setup, so I was forced to go with a thicker mash than usual.  Efficiency suffered big time as a result.  Nailed my temp of 149° and let it sit for 75 minutes.


The Boil. Pulled off 6.5 gallons for the boil.  Let it boil 20-30 minutes before adding hops.  Screwed up and added Cascade at 30 min.  The original recipe had called for a 10 minute addition.  Shortened the overall boil by 10 minutes to reduce bitterness.  Didn’t boil down as much as usual.  Ended up with almost 6 gallons to ferment.

Cooling. Indoor in shop sink. ~30 min.

Fermenting. 30-45 seconds of oxygen, plus yeast nutrient added before fermentation.   Created a yeast starter the day before brewing.  Had a good start, 2 or 3 days would have been nicer.

Racking to Secondary & Bottling. Racked to secondary 2 weeks later.  Kegged entire batch.

Drinking the Bent Nail IPA Clone


Swing and a miss!  The hops are pretty close to what I wanted, but the beer is cloying.  It’s okay to drink, but it’s just so damn sweet.  It’s unbalanced and needs to be way dryer to come across as an IPA.  My next batch was another IPA with crystal grain levels dialed way back and more 2-row.  THAT is the body I was shooting for.  This combination of hops, with that combination of grains should get pretty close to the desired result.  I haven’t tried that yet, but it’ll happen soon.

It’s worth mentioning, if you’re ever brewery touring in MT, make a point to get to the tiny town of Red Lodge to visit Red Lodge Ales!

  • Jon Harris October 30, 2015, 2:00 pm

    Do you happen to have an updated recipe that you’d like to share? Did you ever try a batch with the corrected grain bill? We just drank a bunch of bent nail in MT in september, and I’d like to make a batch at home since we can’t get it in LA.

  • Jeremy October 30, 2015, 2:43 pm

    I never got a chance to circle back, but I did find an IPA base that has been working much better.

    The hops were in the ballpark, but the grain bill was too sweet. My next batch has the grain balance that I’ve been happy with on a few batches since – http://www.makinghomebrew.com/grizzly-tears-ipa-v2-batch-52/ Even simpler would be sufficient.

    If you ever give it a whirl, I’d love to hear how you end up!

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