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  • Writer's pictureLuke Nyswonger

Designing a Cascadian Dark Ale with Microsoft Copilot

It's been a minute since I last shared my brewing adventures on which highlighted an article I wrote for Brew Your Own magazine and the impact of Artifical Intelligence on homebrewing. The past two months have been a whirlwind of change, marked by an out-of-state move that's had me navigating through a sea of boxes and adjusting to a new environment rather than brewing and blogging.

But before the chaos of moving commenced, I capped off my brewing activities last December with a project that resonated deeply with my love for both tradition and innovation: crafting a Cascadian Dark Ale (CDA), affectionately known in the craft beer community as a Black IPA. This brew, conceived in my previous home, became a symbol of transition, embodying the blend of old and new that my move represented.

The Cascadian Dark Ale: A Study in Contrasts

The CDA, or Black IPA, is a testament to the craft beer movement's love for innovation. Marrying the intense hop profile of an American IPA with the rich, dark malts typically found in stouts or porters, the CDA offers a sensory experience that defies expectations. Its appearance suggests a beer that will be heavy and roasty, yet the first sip reveals a complex dance of flavors where the citrus and pine of the hops balance the chocolate and coffee notes of the dark malts.

Embracing both the rich history of brewing and the possibilities offered by modern technology, I turned to Microsoft Copilot for assistance in creating a CDA recipe that would capture the essence of this dual-natured style. Copilot, acting on insights and knowledge distilled from countless sources, helped me formulate a recipe that promised to delight the palate with its harmonious blend of bitterness and malt.

In crafting my Black IPA, I also revisited a theme I've explored in previous articles: the use of AI in generating beer labels and artwork. Just as AI had guided me in designing the recipe, it played a crucial role in visualizing the identity of my brew. The marriage of AI's analytical capabilities with its creative potential is revolutionizing how we think about the craft of brewing, from conception to consumption.

The Recipe: A Blueprint for Balance

Without further ado, let's dive into the recipe that emerged from this fusion of tradition and technology. I have the full recipe on Brewfather.

Black IPA Recipe

  • Original Gravity: 1.074

  • Final Gravity: 1.017

  • ABV: 7.5%

  • IBU: 80

  • Color: 38.5 SRM

  • Batch Volume: 5.5 gallons

Malt Bill:

  • 12 lb Cargill Pale Malt 2-Row

  • 1 lb Briess Caramel Malt 60L

  • 12 oz Weyermann Carafa Special III

  • 8 oz Thomas Fawcett Chocolate Malt

  • 8 oz Bairds Munich Malt


  • 1.25 oz Columbus/Tomahawk/Zeus (CTZ) - Boil 60 min

  • 1 oz Cascade - Boil 15 min

  • 1 oz Centennial - Boil 15 min

  • 1 oz Citra - Boil 0 min

  • 1 oz Amarillo (Cryo) - Dry Hop day 10


  • Imperial Yeast A07 Flagship

The brewing process follows traditional all-grain techniques, with a mash temperature of 150°F and a boil time of 60 minutes. The hops schedule and the addition of specific water salts and nutrients were meticulously planned to achieve the desired balance of flavors.

Conclusion: Moving Forward, One Brew at a Time

This Black IPA is more than just a beer; it's a symbol of transition, a blend of the old and the new. As I settle into my new home and brewing space, I'm reminded that the heart of homebrewing lies in the joy of creation and the endless possibilities that ingredients and technology can offer.

I invite you to join me on this continued journey at Whether you're an experienced brewer or new to the craft, there's always something new to discover, especially at the intersection of brewing, technology, and tradition. Here's to the next chapter and the many brews it will bring. Cheers! 🍻

A couple of bottles of my AI-assisted Black IPA

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