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NE IPA reviews

On the upcoming Episode 15 of Experimental Brewing (5/25/16), we talk NE
IPA. To get you in the mood, here are Denny’s reviews of 10 NE style

Nice write-up! Appreciate the comment about “juicy,” as I think that’s one of the other generic terms that people throw around without knowing what it actually means. Like spicy from rye, or barnyard, grainy, etc.

Looking forward to trying my version of this, which has only been in the fermenter for a couple of weeks. The wort was nice and clear going into the fermenter, even with a huge amount of flameout hops, so if it develops a haze then it most likely is due to some fermentation problem.

That has me thinking, though - the murkiest beer I’ve ever made was a galaxy IPA fermented with Conan. My pH was higher than I thought it was due to not having a pH meter at the time, so probably 5.5-5.6. The beer had a fantastic aroma and incredible tropical fruit flavors, but it looked like pouring a glass of milk. Also kind of a harsh bitterness, which I think was also due to the high pH.

Could that be part of why these beers are so murky, though, with a higher pH during fermentation causing more haze in the finished beer? I’m sure if I had kept the bittering hops lower in that beer, the hops would not have come across as harsh. Couple that with a large dose of late hops to compensate for the reduced bitterness, and a higher finished pH for a rounder, less “crisp” (another one of those words that kind of means nothing!) mouthfeel? Maybe it has nothing to do with the higher level of chloride and more to do with a too-high pH, which also would result in a beer that doesn’t store as well, and should be served fresh.


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I’ve heard several theories about the haze. One is that it’s from large amounts of late hops. Another is that it’s from the yeast in suspension. Another is that they use large amounts of chloride. And yet another is that they add wheat, oats, etc. to induce haze. As far as I can tell, it’s not a single thing. One thing I can tell you, though, is that none of the haziest ones I tried had a harsh bitterness. Pretty much the opposite. If anything, the flavor was subdued and muddled, not harsh. Wish I would have thought to check the pH of them, though. Hmmmm indeed!

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I’ve heard those reasons, too, but west coast IPAs use plenty of late hops as well, and are usually crystal clear. I’ve done plenty of beers with plenty of flaked oats and wheat, and they drop clear with a good hard boil and some irish moss. My one murky beer was with Conan, but I repitched the yeast from that beer into another and it dropped brilliantly clear as well. So I’m not so sure I’d buy any of those… you can certainly make a clear beer with any of those techniques. Chloride? Maybe… but I’m pouring a gose that was dosed with sodium chloride at the start of fermentation, and it’s as clear as can be.

But that one galaxy IPA… I just don’t see why it was so murky. And extended cold conditioning did not drop the haze, it was good and suspended. 7# 2-row, 1# Vienna, 4oz wheat, 6oz C20. Estimated mash pH 5.4, but knowing what I know now it probably was 5.6. Sparge pH was also adjusted to 6.0, whereas I started adjusting to 5.3 after this beer. Maybe another experiment is in order, same beer but adjusted to 5.0 versus 5.6!

Checking my notes, the galaxy IPA used 10% phosphoric, and the one immediately after with the same yeast cake used 88% lactic, so the weaker acid could have dropped the pH even less.

I’m not saying you don’t have a valid theory. Just that there are a lot of rumors and ideas about what causes the haze.

No, I’m with you on that. Just kind of thinking out loud here. But it certainly could be any number of combinations as well.

Edit - it’s times like these that make me wonder where @pietro has been!

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you rang? :sunglasses:

One of the Kimmich talks he does mention that some is due to hops, some due to yeast, but a lot of it is actually due to the malt, which as it comes in in lots, can vary widely in (protein/gluten?) content.

People love Treehouse’s beers, but they look and taste like a glass of Fleishmann’s to me :smiling_imp:

Could it be due to the flour that some of these breweries have admitted adding to their beers? Seriously, flour…

yeah, somewhere awhile ago I heard of someone (maybe Doc Lothamer?) adding flour to a wit to make it cloudy.

The idea of adding flour to a wit to make it cloudy has been around for at least 15 years. But it doesn’t work. After some time in cold storage, the beer clears out. I don’t think you can attribute hazy NE IPAs to any single thing…it could be four, it could be water chemistry, it could be hops, or a combo of any or all of them.

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One thing to note that the unconverted starch really wreaks havoc on the shelf life as it can provide nutrients for bacteria. Not too much an issue if you drink it young and fast.

More so, if you brew a beer you want hazy swirl the bottle or keg and it will stay hazy…

Sea hag is only one of the great ipas from nebco. Try to get your hands on fuzzy baby ducks or Gandhi Bot

First off, let me start by saying I really enjoyed the review by Denny of these NEIPA/NEDIPAs. At least he has tried them now, and if some of them aren’t for him, so be it. Thanks, Denny!
As far as the amount of animosity some of these threads have generated(one amusing post called it butthurt)I am not in either camp as I love both west coast IPAs as well as the best of the bunch of these NEIPA’s . Hill Farmstead to me is the pinnacle of these brews. Fresh heady topper on tap and Lawson’s sips of sunshine also are standouts. The mouthfeel that Sean Hill can get has launched a 30 plus page thread on another site. Done well they are transformative. Look at the top 250 IPAs now on beer advocate(I know,I know ) but just humor me and look…
Trying to replicate these ales is obviously tough. The brewers who are producing these ales are notoriously(and understandably)vague on the details, really just giving broad brush strokes. I am now contemplating the details of my third attempt at a NEDIPA even as the second version bubbles away in the fermenter! I HAVE employed various adjuncts, water chemistry that defies the usual, such as lower sulfate and higher chloride, early and massive dry hopping etc with encouraging results.

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Well said!

“Understandably” vague on details? I don’t understand why they should be. And anyone who believes that haziness is necessary to getting huge hop flavor needs to try Sticky Hands by Block 15 in Corvallis OR or Top Cutter or Bottom Cutter from Bale Breaker in Yakima. These beers rival or exceed any of the NE IPA I tried inhop flavor and character, yet aren’t thick and hazy. I’m not trying to dissuade anyone from liking that type of beer, but it certainly isn’t necessary for the flavor.

Well, they(NEIPAs) are “THE NEXT BIG THING”. Based on the long lines, inability to keep up with demand, competition within a relatively small geographic area, and presumably significant financial rewards for these breweries I don’t find it hard to understand at all.
They are new, they don’t conform to BJCP quality criteria, they are cloudy, hazy to downright murky, and they sell like hotcakes. Go figure.

I agree with @denny about the secretiveness, by any brewery really. I’ve come to the conclusion that one will NEVER truly be able to clone a beer. There’s too many factors from water, to recipe, to mash, to boil, to hop timing, to yeast choice, to fermentation control, to post fermentation treatment. Its unbelievable that some are so secretive. And, at least myself, could never brew often enough to keep my favorite cloned beer in rotation. To each their own, I guess.

@voodoo_donut I see what you’re saying. Then again I can’t seem to keep my beers on tap either. My point being that they could up production but that is part of the frenzy with this style… Increased demand decreased production. It’s playing “hard to get” which drives the frenzy.

As far as it being murky, not meeting the BJCP criteria… Another reason the frenzy is there. I’ve discovered that people will drink bad beer (not saying THIS beer is bad) because it’s ‘different.’

VERY true. And that goes far beyond craft beer.

“Frenzy” is definitely a good description. The level of excitement/buzz these beers generate is amazing. Probably rivaled on the other coast only with the Pliny the Younger release every spring. Too bad the NEIPA brewers aren’t as forthcoming about the process as Vinnie Cilurzo is. Actually a few of the brewers do list ingredients on their website but very little as to process. I agree that the “juicy” thing is hard to describe but it is there just the same( I sound like Dr. Seuss). Very different that say, a Stone IPA. Not dry, not Bitter. Just “Juicy” :wink:
I also think that the haze is part of that package, like it or not, and I agree that no single item will get you there. Again, early massive dry hopping(3-5 ounces of citra on day 3-4 of fermentation for example) is one of the techniques employed. Adjuncts, yeast choice(eg 1318 or Conan), water chemistry, flour, citric acid, prolonged or multiple hopstands and whirpools are also used by the brewers or those trying to clone their brews.

Even worse is people drinking bad beer because it’s local. I get hometown pride, but when I went to the new brewer everyone was buzzing about, stood in a crappy line and couldn’t finish any of the three pints I tried, things are getting out of hand. And I don’t even think I have that high of standards.

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