The Haze Craze (NEIPA)

Background

Love it or hate it, the New England IPA (NEIPA) is a style of beer that is here to stay. It’s definitely one of the more challenging beers to brew at the homebrew level. This article will hopefully provide some background on the style and provide some tips on how to brew this beer. There are also details of a my current, proven recipe.

NEIPA is a fairly new style of American IPA that features an intense fruity hop aroma and flavour. The smooth, juicy mouthfeel is the polar opposite of its cousin: the West Coast IPA, being ultra-low in bitterness (IBUs). Imagine tropical fruit juice with an ABV! Achieving this hoppy profile, hazy appearance and mouthfeel requires a complete re-think of how you would typically brew an American IPA.

I have brewed the recipe below at least four times, each time I use the same grain bill and method, but I’ll typically play around with different hop combinations.

On the subject of hops, this beer is made for new world / American hops. These hops are associated with tropical fruit flavours like: mango, passionfruit, guava, as well as stone fruits like apricots and peaches. Try to avoid the more resiny, piney, dank hops. Personally, I recommend Citra, Mosaic, Galaxy, Topaz, Simcoe and some of the newer, more experimental hops. The grain bill is a great base to showcase the style with these type of hops.

There are very few to no bittering hop additions in this style of beer. All hops are added post boil in a large whirlpool addition and via dry hop additions during fermentation.

Water

Getting the right water profile for a NEIPA is important. Unlike a traditional IPA, where you tailor your water for a higher Sulfate to Chloride ratio, NEIPAs require the extreme polar-opposite to give the soft mouthfeel with a much higher Cholride to Sulfate ratio. This ratio will help to round out any hop bitterness and give a much fuller mouthfeel. The table below show my typical water profile. Note the ratio of Chloride to Sulfate on BeerSmith this is classed as “Extemely Malty”.

Calcium90 ppm
Magnesium15 ppm
Sodium82 ppm
Sulfate54.4 ppm
Chloride175 ppm
Bircarbonate140 ppm

I use some Lactic Acid to bring down the mash Ph but you will need to adjust according to you source water profile.

Grain Bill

The grain bill for a NEIPA tends to include a fair percentage of flaked wheat, corn and oats. In my case, I use all three (see below). I feel this helps give the full body hazy appearance required for the style. I also like to use a mix of pilsner and Maris Otter for the base malts. I find 100% pilsner adds too much honey-like sweetness to the beer.

Pilsner Malt50%
Maris Otter30%
Flaked Wheat7%
Flaked Corn (Maize)5%
Faked Oats5%
Cara-Pils / Dexterine3%

Mash

A simple single infusion mash at the higher end of the mash range. Aim for 68C-69C and mash for 45 mins. This will ensure you have a full body to the beer with some residual sweetness. Sparge however you typically would to collect the required amount of wort for your kettle.

Boil

As there are virtually no boil addition hops, typically I’ll only boil for 30 mins. There is one small hop addition at the start of the boil where the hops are added to the kettle before the wort is drained from the mash tun (first wort hopping) I find this give a small amount of subtle bitterness to ensure a good balance given the mash schedule and water profile.

Hops

Hops are what make this style, typically I will stick to a combination of two hops but feel free to experiment with your own combinations. As stated above there is a small first wort additional but all other additions come in the whirlpool and dry hops. For this recipe I used Topaz and Galaxy with the following schedule.

Topaz17%6g (14 IBU)First Wort Addition
Galaxy14%40g (14 IBU)Whirlpool at 87c for 20mins
Topaz17%40g (17 IBU)Whirlpool at 87c for 20mins
Galaxy14%60gDry Hop (2 days in to active fermentation)
Topaz17%50gDry Hop (3 Day before fermentation is done)

NOTE: there are two dry hop additions, one during active fermentation then an additional one towards the end of fermentation.

Fermentation

For yeast you can go down one of two route, typically this style is fermented with an English style Ale yeast the fruity esters they produce complement the hops. Something like Wyeast 1318 London Ale III or LalBrew Verdant IPA yeast is a good option for a dry yeast.

The other option is to go with a Kviek strain. This type of yeast works well with this style of beer and this is the route I took in this recipe.

OMEGA Yeast – OYL-090 – ESPEPitched at 32c then ferment at 32c-34c for 7 days

Post-Fermentation

Normally I would suggest you package your beer as usual, carbonate, condition and enjoy! but with this style of beer there is one thing that will ruin all your hard work more that anything, oxygenation.

If you have the setup I would recommend a closed transfer from the fermenter to a keg for serving, if you don’t have a keg setup or the means to do a closed transfer try to minimize oxygen as much as possible when transferring your beer. If you plan to bottle then make sure you drink this beer as soon as possible as it won’t last as long as some other styles.

Either way this beer is best enjoyed young and fresh! Happy brewing….

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