Following on from last year's successful launch of the Festival Premium Ale range, Ritchies have released a brand new kit - Razorback IPA. It is a pale straw coloured, heavily hopped IPA, designed to be around 5.7% ABV. Like several of the kits in the Festival Range, it contains a bag of brewing sugar that is used to increase the starting gravity and helps to produce the high alcohol content without needing to increase the amount of malt extract present, thus avoiding the risk of introducing too pronounced a "Malty" flavour to the beer. It also contains a sachet of hop pellets that can be added to the wort during fermentation to increase the hop flavour and aroma.
Whilst most IPAs are designed to be heavily hopped, I have found that all of the kits from this range that I have made so far (Landlord's Finest Ale, Pigrims Hope, Father Hooks Best Bitter and Golden Stag Summer Ale - the last two of which are currently (June 2013) available as tasters in the shop) have been a bit too hoppy for my personal taste, if made with the full complement of hop pellets provided in the pack. The first two kits that I made, I dry hopped with half of the hop pellets, but for the latest two, I have adopted a different method.
Ritchies thoughtfully provide a straining bag with these kits that is designed to act as a filter over the end of your syphon tube to avoid it becoming blocked with hop residue when transferring the beers to bottles or barrels. Instead of dry hopping the beers, I have discovered that if I place only ¼ of the hop pack into the straining bag and use it to create a "hop tea" by infusing it for 10 minutes in the hot water that I use to rinse the contents of the Malt Extract pouches, I can add this "tea" at the beginning of the fermentation process and obtain a gentler, less aggressive (to my palate) hop flavour.