The American IPA is a go big or go home beer style. You want citrusy, piney hop flavor and lots of it. First you need to use generous doses of aggressive hops that have a great flavor affinity for one another. Second you need to make the beer strong enough to stand up to the hops without being too thick or sweet.
One of the most famous and effective hop combinations among double IPAs is shared by the C Hops — American varieties starting with the letter C. It's weird, but it works. The classic C hops are Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Citra, and Columbus. Each offers varying levels of bitterness, citrus, and pine flavors. Use them all together with big charges at the end of the boil and in dry-hopping to maximize the aroma and flavor.
To keep the malt sweetness in check, use a modest dose of corn sugar in the boil. The sugar will ferment out completely, leaving the body of the beer drier, relative to its strength.
Batch Size: 5 Gallons
Boil Size: 6 Gallons
Malt Extract & Sugar
10 lbs Light Liquid Malt Extract
.75 lbs Dextrose (Corn Sugar)
.5 lb Crystal 45 Malt
.5 Carapils Malt
2 oz Columbus (15% AA) boiled for 60 minutes
1 oz Columbus (15% AA) boiled for 15 minutes
1 oz Chinook (12% AA) boiled for 15 minutes
2 oz Citra (13.7% AA) boiled for 0 minutes (ie: throw them in, and turn off the flame)
1 oz Columbus (15% AA) boiled for 0 minutes
1 oz Cascade (7% AA) boiled for 0 minutes
1 oz Centennial (10.5% AA) boiled for 0 minutes
2 oz Citra dry hopped for 3 days (1st charge)
1 oz Chinook dry hopped for 3 days (1st charge)
1 oz Cascade dry hopped for 3 days (2nd charge)
1 oz Centennial dry hopped for 3 days (2nd charge)
1 oz Columbus dry hopped for 3 days (2nd charge)
Wyeast 1056 American Ale or White Labs WLP 001 California Yeast
Steep the Crystal 45 and Carapils malt in 150F water for 30 minutes. Remove the grain and bring to a boil. Add the malt extract, dextrose, and 2 oz Columbus hops. After 45 minutes add another 1 oz of Columbus Hops and continue boiling. At the end of the boil, add 2 oz of Citra, 1 oz of Columbus, 1 oz of Cascade, and 1oz of Centennial, then turn off the flame. Chill and ferment at 68F. Allow a week to ten days for fermentation. Once fermentation is complete add the first charge of dry hops using a sanitized nylon sack. Remove the first charge after three days and add the second charge for another three days, again using a sanitized nylon sack. Remove the second charge, check your final gravity and rack the finished beer to bottles or a keg.
Substitute 15 lbs of two row pale malt for the extract malt and mash with the other grains for 60 minutes at 149F.
Another set of hops with a great flavor affinity is Warrior, Simcoe and Amarillo. Use the Warrior for the early bittering charges and similar amounts of Simcoe and Amarillo for the late additions and dry hops for a deeply piney and tropical take on the IPA.