Soft, fruity, pillowy, vibrant, New England IPAs. Seriously – what’s not to like? I’ll admit to a certain fascination with the style.
Prior to becoming fairly heavily involved in brewing sours, I read just about every article I could find on the emerging style. Michael Tonsmeire (The Mad Fermentationist) has been a guiding light in my brewing right from the start, and to me he’s also a humble authority on this topic. Yes, his brewing partner Scott Janish wrote ‘the book’ on The New IPA, however Tonsmeire effortlessly translates the scientific knowledge required into brewer-friendly guidance. His most recent article in BYO magazine was an excellent summary of the evolution of IPA, though I was a touch surprised as how he’s stopped dry-hopping during active fermentation!
Since its publication, Tonsmeire’s ‘Rings of Light’ recipe has stood out to me as a sensible base for a NEIPA. Sure enough, it’s become Sapwood Cellars’ go-to recipe for many of their beers, with the addition of Chit Malt likely playing a big role in the admirable haze and head retention. Interestingly, Tonsmeire aims a touch lower on the Cl:SO4 ratio than other brewers of the style (around 150:100-150). This probably reflects his disdain for ‘sweet’ milkshake IPAs (refer to his rant in the article mentioned). He’s probably on to something though, as The Alchemist’s Heady Topper – arguably the real OG of NEIPA – is well known for leaning fairly heavy on the sulphates (and IBUs for that matter!).
Being my first shot at a hazy, I wanted to emphasise the characteristic features of the style:
- Soft mouthfeel – as per WeldWerks ‘Juicy Bits’, I targeted a Cl:SO4 ratio of 175-200:75-100 ppm, while aiming to keep calcium < 150 ppm. I also prioritised heavy use of high-protein adjuncts.
- Haze – I hit this beer with two dry hop additions during active fermentation, to promote biotransformation and permanent haze through interaction of hop polyphenols with proteins from the malt bill.
- Juiciness – I only used a small (3.0 IBU) kettle hop addition (added solely to prevent boil-overs), with >99% of the hot-side additions being at whirlpool. Also, massive biotransformation dry-hopping as above.
To increase the juiciness, I had intended to use The Yeast Bay’s Vermont Ale (i.e. The Alchemist’s famous Conan strain). Unfortunately, my starter only decided to take off several days after wort production, hence I compromised with the Safale S-04 I had reserved in our fridge. Future (funky) renditions will hopefully involve a spirited mix of Conan, Sacch Trois, and Brett C.
I actually ended up basing my recipe on this year’s SOBA NHC Best IPA award winner, Mark Meyburg’s Flash Flood in the Tropics. Hence my addition of lactose. I was initially hesitant on this, though felt confident that the small addition would add a subtle sweetness, without blundering into Milkshake IPA territory. Further tips from Mike included:
– Sanitise like a bastard
– Temp control at 18C for first part, after second dry hop raise to 22C. After diacetyl rest crash and keg
– Limit oxygen
– Pitch a good amount of yeast
– Consume fresh
Batch Size (L): 25
Total Grain (kg): 6.65
Anticipated OG: 1.059
Anticipated SRM: 4.4
Anticipated IBU: 38.6
Brewhouse Efficiency (%): 70
Wort Boil Time (mins): 60
72.20% 4.80 kg. Gladfield German Pilsner Malt
9.00% 0.60 kg. Rolled Oats
6.00% 0.40 kg. Gladfield Wheat Malt
6.00% 0.40 kg. White Flour
5.40% 0.36 kg. Lactose powder
1.40% 0.09 kg Gladfield Aurora Malt
2.50 g. Magnum (Pellet, 11.80% AA) @ first wort.
150.00 g. The Bruce (Pellet, 9.60% AA) @ whirlpool (15 mins at 90 °C.
100.00 g. The Bruce (Pellet, 9.60% AA) @ high krausen (day 1) dry hop.
26.70 g. The Bruce (Pellet, 9.60% AA) @ day 3 dry hop.
48.90 g. Citra (Pellet, 12.30% AA) @ day 3 dry hop.
24.4 g. Simcoe (Pellet, 12.90% AA) @ day 3 dry hop.
Safale S-04, 1 x packet
Profile: WeldWerks Juicy Bits
Ca 109 | Mg 19 | Na 6 | Sulphate 75 | Cl 177
Sacch Rest – 60 min @ 68 °C
– Mash temp settled at 67 °C, dropped to 65 °C
– Lactose added at 20 mins left of boil, Koppafloc at 5 mins remaining
– OG = 14.4 Brix (1.059)
– Yeast pitched without rehydration at 1650hrs, 21.7 °C, set to 20 °C
– Active fermentation 10:00hrs
– 1810hrs – very active (high krausen), hence 100 g dry hop with ‘The Bruce’
– 1710hrs – >50% AA (via Tilt), hence final dry hop with 48.9 g Citra, 24.4 g Simcoe, 26.7g The Bruce –> set to 22 °C
– gravity stable, kegged without cold crashing prior
– very difficult kegging via D-type spear due to copious hop material. Hop filter also blocked. Would crash next time to avoid this issue! Set to 14 PSI at 2.5 °C.
Billowing, pillowy head with very good retention. Golden to light orange, boasting a respectable haze, though nowhere near the realms of the orange juice-like NEIPAs being pumped out these days.
Fan-bloody-tastic. Bright, expressive tropical fruits, with mango, passionfruit, mandarin, and a dank note from the Citra. Yes please!
Much of what I find in the aroma is communicated here – soft mouthfeel, bright fruity hops, with a definite Citra varietal and a tiny dank note adding interest at the end of the sip. Bitterness is firm, but squarely in the realm of what I enjoy for this style – i.e. the hint of residual sweetness from the lactose balances things out nicely.
No flabbiness to be found here. Soft and round from the high chloride, though still finishes fairly crisp. A paradox indeed.
Drinkability and notes
This beer is eminently drinkable. It’s bright, complex, fruity, and super fresh. Despite the heavy use of high-protein adjuncts, the beer remains refreshing, and surprisingly light. Any changes for the future? To be honest, more of everything! I’m excited to push this recipe into DIPA territory, and see if I can pull off a more impressive haze. I’ll keep you posted!