I think that my favorite thing about the Hazy IPA style (aside from drinking it…) is the fact that its origin is a function of the desire to create a very, very specific product. Thus, every aspect of the recipe formulation has intent and purpose. Previous IPA styles rose from a more simple drive; make them stronger, make them more sessionable, make them dark, make them sour, etc. At a certain point, it seemed like breweries were making IPA styles because they represented style innovation and not necessarily because they were actually good. The beauty of New England IPA is that the haze is simply a byproduct of utilizing various ingredients and processes to yield the flavor/aroma/mouthfeel that brewers wanted; the haze was never the goa,l and that mindset has been lost in some circles.
In determining how to brew a style that I’m interested in, I usually like to rely on a combination of methods. The BA guidelines are a place to start, and forums can provide some good information too; however, I find the most useful information comes from a combination of my own taste and insights provided by professional brewers producing quality examples of the style. I generally start by sampling beers from the style in question, take note of those I truly enjoy, and then research what ingredients were used. Then I start to look for articles or Q&A’s featuring these brewers and what their approach to the style is. After I feel like I have a good handle on what folks are doing and why, then I reach out to the breweries that made my favorites, and I start asking them questions. What I’ve learned from my reading and conversations is that none of the big names in IPA right now are concerned with how hazy their beer is. They’re all focused on making it smell, taste, and feel the way they want, and the haze comes naturally.
When I decided I wanted to find out more about brewing New England IPA I knew there was one brewery I definitely wanted to talk to. Burial Beer Co. in Asheville, NC is easily one of my favorite breweries in the state, and the producer of one of the most interesting examples of hazy IPA out there. The folks at Burial have always been extremely accommodating and never hesitated to educate me about their beers in an effort to help me formulate my own versions of their excellent products. Doug Reiser, co-founder and COO of Burial, was kind of enough to answer some of my questions and provide us with a recipe to feature! Check out my Q&A back and forth with Doug here for some excellent insights into how they approach brewing their Hawkbill IPA and other brews. Also, don’t forget to scroll to the end of the article to catch that recipe!
All beer starts with water, and you’d be surprised at the role it can play in the final product. No surprises that Hazy IPA requires its own particular approach to water adjustments. Since you’ll be aiming for more of a soft and round presence in the mouth (as opposed to the traditional crisp and dry IPA) you will want to shoot for more chloride than sulfates in your water profile. I’ve seen ranges from a 1:1 ratio of Cl:SO4 all the way to 3:1 and I’ve even known folks who don’t add the sulfate at all. Regardless of your approach, you’ll want to make sure you’re catering towards soft more than crisp, and round more than lean. I also asked Doug of Burial about his thoughts on pH, as I hadn’t seen much reference to that in my NEIPA foray. Doug says that they shoot for about a 5.2 pH wort for a 4.5 pH final product in their IPAs.
One plus side to the construction of a Juicy IPA grain bill is that it can be super simple. The base grain should be clean and light in color, 2-row pale malt is the most common with some relying on a pilsner malt. I would recommend avoiding malts like Maris Otter or Golden Promise as those have a little bit more character to them. You’ll want to aim for your base grain comprising anywhere from 50-85% of your grain bill. Then you’re definitely going to want to include a significant portion of flaked wheat, flaked oats, flaked rye, or some combination thereof. Remember, the flaked adjuncts can gum up the works and we recommend using rice hulls to avoid this. The flaked grains help to add the characteristic full/soft mouthfeel, and these grains are also higher in their polyphenolic content.
Polyphenols tend to stay in solution in a beer (as haze!), and research is showing that suspended malt polyphenols help keep hop polyphenols in suspension and ergo add to flavor and aroma. Neat! I also see CaraPils, CaraFoam, and other dextrin malts in a marked number of recipes. This addition is going to be pretty targeted at increasing mouthfeel and body. I think you’d be safe starting out with a grist somewhere along the lines of 70-75% base malt, 20% flaked adjuncts, and 5-10% CaraPils. Once you feel comfortable working with the adjunct grains then consider adjusting the grain bill out from there. One thing I do recommend avoiding are the crystal/caramel malts.
Now we’re talkin’! Hops are the centerpiece for any IPA style, and NEIPA is no exception; however, the New England style has a more specific set of aromatic requirements. As we’ve already discussed, Juicy IPAs are so named due to the fact that their aromatic profile should be dominated by fruity, tropical, and juicy hop aromas. That isn’t to say that other hop character isn’t acceptable, and I’ve had many examples with notable showings of citrus, berry, earthy, allium, and woody aromas. That being said, those aromatics should not predominate and should mostly play a supporting role. Fleshy/juicy citrus aromas are absolutely acceptable at higher levels, but you shouldn’t be dominating with zesty notes or citrus rind. The most popular varieties include: Citra, Mosaic, and Galaxy; however, the rise of Juicy IPAs has also provided the opportunity for a number of other varieties to shine. There are tons of different options out there and infinite combinations. Feel free to play with any of these in your NEIPAs: Amarillo, El Dorado, Vic Secret, Denali, Nelson Sauvin, Cashmere, Ekuanot, and Pacific Jade.
NEIPA yeast selection is much different from other IPA styles, and there are characteristics sought from these strains that would be out of place in most IPAs. Typically, Juicy IPAs use yeast strains that are more expressive, do not flocculate well, and do not attenuate as much. This shift in yeast preference is completely intentional and plays a marked role in the final product. Yeast strains that don’t flocculate as well are more likely to leave in solution hop compounds that contribute to aroma. The lack of attenuation contributes to the full and round body associated with the style, and the fruity esters produced add to the overall aromatic quality. As you can see, yeast selection in this style is as intentional as every ingredient. There are a number of yeast strains available that work well for this style. From White Labs: WLP066 London Fog, WLP095 Burlington Ale, WLP008 East Coast Ale, and WLP644 Saccharomyces Brux Trois. From Wyeast: 1318 London Ale III.
Brewing a Hazy IPA is pretty similar to most other beers styles, with a couple of exceptions. There are a few differences in process and method that brewers use to achieve the haziness, round body, and upfront juicy hop aromas. So, for the most part you can approach the brewing for a Hazy IPA the same as you would any other beer with a few exceptions.
- Mash – For the most part, your mash will be the standard single infusion. There will be some differences in grain selection as previously discussed, and I will say that I definitely recommend the aforementioned rice hulls in order to avoid a stuck mash. I also see that it’s not uncommon to extend the mash time out a little bit from 60 minutes in order to ensure complete conversion of the flaked grains. Other than that, consider mashing a little bit higher (152-154˚ F) in order to encourage a bit more body in the final product.
- Hopping- In my opinion, one of the most exciting contributions NEIPA has made to the brewing scene is the change in hopping approaches. Traditionally, IPAs have followed a pretty standard hopping method in which you had a large bittering addition followed by later aromatic additions and then a dry-hopping period after fermentation. You’ll find that many Juicy IPAs don’t have a bittering hop addition and rely solely on dry-hop additions and hop stands to impart bitterness. A hop stand is a post-boil hop addition in which hops are added for a short period of time after the boil has cooled down in order to preserve volatile aromatics. The hops are allowed to either sit in the hot wort OR they’re whirlpooled in the kettle in order to promote clarity. Hop stands are typically held at 155˚- 200˚F with 180˚ F being a common temperature. Doug at Burial Brewing says they typically whirlpool at 185˚F and see about 60% of the conversion they do with boil hops. So, you can get substantial IBU from hop stands!
The other new hopping practice of note is the addition of dry-hops during fermentation.
Heretofore, dry-hopping was only done post-fermentation as the goal was to replace aromatics lost to fermentation off-gassing. However, adding hops during fermentation provides hop compounds for hop/yeast bio-transformations and allows for the hop polyphenols to be held in solution by the yeast activity. All of this results in a brighter, juicier, and more dynamic hop profile.
- Fermentation- I find that an NEIPA has a pretty standard fermentation with little to no variance from traditional styles/practices. There are a few things that you would do differently vis-a-vis yeast selection and dry-hopping practice. However, those have been covered in other sections. I would simply stress that you are pitching an appropriate number of healthy yeast cells and that you’re holding your fermentation temperature within the yeast strains’ optimum range. Otherwise, limit or eradicate any and all post-fermentation oxygen exposure. There’s nothing worse than making an awesome IPA and then having it go south due to yeast off flavors or oxidation!
New England IPA is the latest style to arise from the innovation of the American craft beer scene and one that has garnered an enthusiastic following. The willingness of craft brewers to throw tradition to the wind and adopt new practices has made for a much more dynamic brewing culture in the US and has allowed for styles such as this to arise. We are not bound by region, terroir, tradition, history, or precedent, and the absence of these limitations makes styles such as Hazy Ales possible. So, next time you go to brew up a batch consider making a Juicy IPA! We have a recipe here for you to utilize or you can also check out part 1 of this series New England IPA: Clarifying a Murky Style for a clone recipe from Wilmington Brewing Co!
Recipe courtesy of Burial Brewing Company
Batch Size: 5 gallons
Recipe Type: All-Grain
Original Gravity: 1.056
Final Gravity: 1.011
- 7 lbs Pilsner Malt
- 1 lb Flaked Oats
- 1 lb Flaked Rye
- 0.5 lb CaraPils
- .5 lb Rice Hulls
- 2oz Mosaic – Whirlpool @ 185˚F for 30 mins
- 2oz Centennial – Whirlpool @ 185˚F for 30 mins
- 1oz Simcoe – Whirlpool @ 185˚F for 30 mins
- 2oz Mosaic – Dry-hop for 2 days
- 2oz Galaxy – Dry-hop for 2 days
- 2oz Simcoe – Dry-hop for 2 days
- Burlington Ale Yeast or East Coast Ale Yeast
- WLP095 or WLP007
Mill all of your grains (not the rice hulls) and mash at 152˚-153˚F for 60 minutes. Collect wort and boil for 60 minutes. Once the boil has concluded you’ll chill to 185˚F, add your whirlpool hops, and hold for 30 minutes. Once you’ve finished your whirlpool then chill your wort to 66˚F, transfer to a fermentor, aerate, and pitch your yeast. Allow your fermentation temp to rise to 70˚F after the first 3 days of fermentation. Dry hop for 2 days.
Burial Brewing shoots for a moderate water hardness for they IPAs, about 150 ppm on the Chloride content. Sulfates should be present but not equal to Cl. Keep your pH around 5.2 and aim for about 4.5 in your finished product. If possible, dry-hop during the tail end of fermentation to promote hop character staying in solution. If you can, utilize CO2 during the bottling or kegging process to reduce/eliminate oxygen exposure.