How Ska Doubled the Fun of its Flagship, Modus Hoperandi

Normally the staff at Ska Brewing believes that a new beer should have its own identity. Yet, in the latest release by the Durango, Colorado brewery, that didn’t happen.

Often coined ‘Colorado’s IPA,’ Ska Brewing’s Modus Hoperandi was first released in 2008, and quickly rocketed to become Ska’s flagship beer. It still is the company’s best-selling beer to this date. Now after 15 years Ska has announced a Double IPA version, Double Modus.

“Modus Hoperandi being so iconic, though, gives us the foundation to build off the strength of this flagship recipe with Modus Mandarina and now Double Modus,” Marketing Director Kristen Muraro said. The point of this “double flagship” was to use the beer and flavor that was already known and loved, and take it up a notch.

“We have talked for years about making a Double Modus because we love how it tastes, and we wanted more,” she said.

“Modus Hoperandi has always been a beer along the lines of the classic West Coast style of IPAs, and staying true to its namesake, we really didn’t change the recipe for Double Modus,” added Ska COO Steve Breezley in a release.

But bumping up a flagship’s recipe isn’t as simple as doubling the ingredients. To bring up the original gravity, the brew team had to make the brew smaller actually.

“Our mash tun can only hold so much grain,” Muraro said. “This also affects the amount of specialty grains we’ll use for color and malt flavor — specifically C-80 and C-120 — so we had to play with the ratios for those two grains quite a bit.”

They also had to play with the ratios of hot-side hopping to get desired IBUs and still maintain the aroma profile wanted.

“The dry hops stayed the same as Modus Hoperandi… but only because there was less beer they were added to, so the weight of hops per volume of beer actually increased,” Muraro said.

The flavors and aromas are very similar, she told Brewer.

“The Double Modus has a slightly fuller mouthfeel, is a bit sweeter, and at the same time slightly more bitter,” she said. “It truly tastes like a bigger version of its little brother.”

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