How do you brew a New England IPA?

The new craze in craft beer is the New England IPA. If you haven’t had one yet, you’re in for a treat. It’s usually a hazy, hop aroma bomb with almost no bitterness and tons of hop-forward fruitiness. The word is that the style was started by Heady Topper, from The Alchemist.

Since it’s a relatively new style — if it is a proper style — there’s disagreement over what it really is.

Does it have to be cloudy? Should it be pale, or more amber colored?

Personally I think the cloudiness isn’t as important as the smooth, creamy mouthfeel, and I think these beers should not be too dark. But … I’m not a style Nazi, and besides, it’s your beer, do what you want.

If you’re thinking of brewing one yourself, here’s a reasonable set of guidelines.

  • “First make sure to use high protein grains like oats, wheat, and rye,” says Ryan from Push Brewing.
  • It’s unfiltered, so don’t use any fining agents.
  • There’s not much bitterness. Some brewers don’t use any bittering hops at all.
  • Aroma hops tend to be fruit forward, and you use a whole lot of them. (Think six ounces or more in a five gallon batch.) Some brewers only use hops at flame out, or they dry hop.
  • You should adjust the water for your mash to favor higher chloride levels, which creates a smooth, creamy, softer mouth feel.
  • You should use a lower attenuating yeast, like an east coast ale yeast. Fermentation temperature should be around 70-72 to promote fruity ester production.
  • These are short turn-around beers — not something you expect to age, or brew in July for a Christmas treat.

I get my supplies from Maryland Homebrew, so here are some links that might help.

If you want to give it a try, here are some of the items you might want to consider.

Yeasts

Wyeast 1318 London Ale III

WLP095 Burlington Ale Yeast

Grains

Thomas Fawcett Oat malt

Wheat malt

Rye malt

Water treatment

Calcium Chloride

Hops

Citra hops

Amarillo hops

Mosaic hops

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