Let’s be honest – my previous attempts at brewing a NEIPA have been lacklustre. That dense opacity has eluded me thus far. Has it been my yeast choice? Have I not added enough high-protein adjuncts? Has my hopping schedule not been conducive to biotransformation? With so many factors at play, I’ve found it difficult to pull the right levers to get the thick, stable haze I’m after.
Thankfully, my good friend Tim has done the research, read The New IPA by Scott Janish, and compiled a ‘cheat sheet’ of sorts – as the following brew demonstrates, it seems that if you stick to Tim’s general guidelines, ‘CloudState’ can be easily achieved.
The following recipe is based on Tim’s base NEIPA – he mixes and matches the hop varietals a bit, but the ale:wheat:oats ratio stays fairly consistent. Tim’s top tips when it comes to dry hopping when brewing this style include:
a) Aim for a relatively short dry hop contact time – most of the extraction of desirable hop compounds (>90%) occurs within the first 24hrs, and prolonged contact introduces harshness from polyphenols. Research also indicates that the vegetal material can start reabsorbing aroma compounds after a prolonged period of contact.
b) Higher temperatures extract disproportionate amounts of polyphenols, so ideally we minimise prolonged periods of dry hop contact at high temperatures.
Interestingly, Tim noted that a number of breweries undertake a partial cold crash before the dry hop addition – benefits of this compared to cold-side dry-hopping include avoidance of any hop creep issues, and an improvement in utilisation. A theoretical downside, is that yeast dropping out of solution as you continue to cold-crash the beer can pull some hop compounds out of the beer.
c) You don’t need a very big dry-hop dose at at high krausen – a relatively small dry hop addition seems to achieve the haze production related to biotransformation. Utilisation at this point is quite high (minus the hop compounds blown off via CO2 and what drops out with the yeast), but given prolonged hop contact at relatively high temperatures throughout fermentation, in order to avoid polyphenol extraction this dose should be kept to a bare minimum.
So, with all of this in mind, and “shorter and cooler” being the aim with our dry-hopping, and example cold-crash schedule would be:
- Fermentation completes, partial crash to 16°C, then dry hop.
- 12hrs @ 16°C
- 24hrs @ 10°C. Agitate with CO2.
- 24hrs @ 5°C. Agitate with CO2.
- 48hrs at 0°C (possibly too long – Tim spent longer at this temp with aim of trying to crash hops out)
Despite a lack of haze with previous brews, I was generally happy with the WeldWerks water profile I’d used previously – sufficient softness from the chloride, with enough sulfate to make the hops pop. So no changes here!
One issue Tim has been having is hop material clogging his kegging equipment during transfer. To overcome this, I made a couple of adjustment to his process:
- Hot-side hop additions (aside from the small first-wort addition used to prevent boil-overs) were added to a hop-spider, reducing the vegetal material going into the fermenter.
- For the second (largest) dry hop addition (once crashed to 16°C) I used two stainless steel hop tubes, splitting the dose between the two tubes (80g per tube). Tim had previously used one hop tube for the full dry-hop dose, and believes he achieved poor extraction due to the hops expanding and packing the tube with dense hop material. With my dose split across two tubes, the hops had plenty of space to interact with the beer – I suspect you could get away with 100 g per hop tube without running into extraction issues.
Brew day and progress
29.7.23 – 1 hr mash. Approx. 35 min boil (my son needed dinner!). No WhirlFloc added to the boil. ~28.5L post-boil volume @ 80°C. Approx. 6 gallons into fermenter (appeared slightly too full compared to usual). 14.2 Brix OG = 1.058. Wort 16.1°C once in fermenter –> pitched one packet Verdant without rehydration at 1750 hrs on same day, set chamber to 18°C.
31.7 1740hrs – 1st DH at high krausen, reading 1.025 on Tilt.
1.8 0700hrs – Explosion of yeast and hop matter through airlock noted – changed to blow-off tube. 1700hrs – cleaned lid whilst bubbling CO2 through drainage valve. Despite having attached blow-off tube, still a lot of yeast bubbling through. Set to 18°C ambient (probe removed from side of fermenter).
4.8 1654hrs – 1.017 Tilt, increased to 20°C ambient.
8.8 1930hrs – 1.012 Tilt (1.013 day prior hence likely stable approx. 24 hrs), minimal CO2 being produced – crashed to 16°C ambient, CO2 balloon attached.
9.8 2015 hrs – Added 2nd DH split into two hop tubes whilst blowing CO2 through drainage valve (and for 1 min after). 85g Citra, 25g Mosaic, 50g Simcoe.
10.8 1830hrs – Roused with CO2, dropped to 10°C (wondered if this was possibly too long on 2nd DH?)
12.8 0730 hrs – Dropped to 1°C as thought likely too long spent at 10°C.
13.8 1700 hrs – Sitting at 1.7°C on Tilt, kegged easily! Hop tubes appeared to work very well at preventing vegetal material from creating an issue during kegging.
20.8 – Nice carbonation level and astringency/green hop flavour diminishing.
Brilliant-white head. Yellow/golden – in certain light (as above) it has the typical orange-juice hue, though I think a small addition of Aurora malt for colour is in order for the next brew. As you can see, the proper impenetrable haze is finally there, and lasted for the entire keg (over 2 months!).
Peachy nose, some mango.
Solid bitterness, a little green initially though this cleared up over a fortnight. Dank, tropical and fruity. Pretty soft mouthfeel though could have marginally more chloride in the next rendition. Overall, I felt the hop contact time was about right, and would stick to a similar temperature/contact-time schedule going forward. No signs of oxidation over the 2+ months it spent in the keg – surprising in light of the airlock explosion this brew suffered. Goes to show what bubbling CO2 through a drainage port can achieve.
Not chewy or sweet, and initially I felt some lactose would work well in a future brew. After 2 weeks though, this became a bright, punchy, well-balanced NEIPA that I wouldn’t change.
Drinkability and notes
Eminently drinkable (I’ve written that before… **hic**). Bright, tropical, punchy, and a true crowd-pleaser.
Changes for next time? Ferment at 17°C to minimise explosions, consider a full 60 min boil to break down gluten for the same reason, and consider less hop-contact time at 10°C (maybe 24 hrs at 16°C, rouse with CO2, then drop to 1°C ambient?). As I said though, after a fortnight this beer softened up and left me with little to change.
And one final point – Tim and I have brewed a number of hazies now, and have only really achieved a thick, stable haze (that lasts the full keg) when using Verdant. Although yeast selection isn’t everything, it does appear to be a major factor in the success we’ve had with this style. If you have had success with other yeasts do comment and let us know.