Crafting a New England IPA – Part 2 – Style Description and Sample Recipe

In part 1 I covered the controversial haze that is inherent in this style and hit the high points of what the style is all about. In this post I’m going to provide a BJCP-esque style description. If you stumble across this post and are judging in a comp, feel free to use this description for beers described as hazy NE IPA. Do keep in mind that I’m not the foremost authority on the subject, I’m just a BJCP judge with a blog. Please leave some feedback below or on Reddit on what you think about this style description and how I can make this description better and more accurate.

Specialty IPA: New England (North East) IPA

Overall Impression: A fruity, hoppy, and hazy version of an American IPA, but with a lighter color, and softer and often lower perceived bitterness.

Aroma: Hop aroma is medium-high to extreme, American or New World type with dominant stone fruit, citrus, and  tropical aromas. Hop character may have some grass, spice, pine, or dank character, but these should be less intense than the fruit character. Low to moderate fruity esters from yeast should blend with the hop character and highlight the fruity character of the hops. Low to moderate sweet grainy malt, but the impression of maltiness may be subdued by hop and ester character.

Appearance: Pale to deep golden color. Clarity may vary from slightly hazy as is typical of dry hop or chill haze to opaque or even slightly murky. Small to large, dense white head that persists.

Flavor: Low to medium malt flavor, typically bready or toasty, with little to no caramel flavor. Fruity esters are low to moderate, typically with stone fruit character like peach, but can be citrusy and should blend with the hop character. Hop flavor is medium-high to extreme with dominant citrusy, fruity, and/or tropical aspects. Some grass, spice, pine, or resinous hop character is acceptable but should be lower than the fruity hop character. Bitterness is low to moderate which leads to a moderately dry to medium, refreshing finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-full body with low to medium-high carbonation. The best examples are smooth on the palate and are sometimes silky or creamy from the use of adjuncts such as wheat or oats. The mouthfeel should enhance the drinkability of the beer and not be thick, or chewy. Slight astringency from copious whirlpool hop additions may be present, but should not detract from the drinking experience overall.

Comments: A focus on fruity hop flavor and aroma over bitterness with a light but creamy body enhances drinkability. English and ester forward American type yeast strains are frequently used to impart fruity esters that complement the hops. High chloride water, protein rich adjunct use, and dry hopping during fermentation contribute a permanent haze to the beer. May less commonly be referred to as North East IPA.

History: American craft brewers in the New England region developed these beers as an offshoot of IPA by focusing on hop flavor, hop aroma, and mouthfeel to create extremely drinkable IPAs. John Kimmich of The Alchemist brewery is credited with first brewing the beer with Heady Topper DIPA.

Characteristic Ingredients: Pale malt, protein rich adjuncts such as wheat (malted and unmalted types) and/or oats, low lovibond crystal malt, English or American yeast, citrusy, fruity, and/or tropical American or New World type hops, high chloride and sulphate water.

Style Comparison: Similar to an American IPA, but focused on hop flavor, hop aroma, and mouthfeel with reduced perceived bitterness. Hoppy like an IPA but with fruity esters from the yeast and a distinctly hazy appearance.

Vital Statistics:
OG: 1.045 – 1.085
IBUs: 40 – 70
FG: 1.008 – 1.016
SRM: 5 – 8
ABV: 5.0 – 8.5%

Commercial Examples:

The Alchemist Heady Topper (double), Tired Hands HopHands (session), Treehouse Julius (standard), Trillium Congress Street IPA (standard), Lawson’s Finest Liquids Sip of Sunshine (double)

FAQ:

Q: Why does the description not use the word juicy?

A: Juicy is an aggregate descriptor that works well for these beers, however the style description focuses on specific aspects of the beer like hops, esters, and appearance. These things together frequently lead to tasters using the descriptor “juicy,” but there really isn’t a good place in the style description to use a term like this. Additionally, many have made the complaint that the word “juicy” doesn’t make sense when applied to beer. I don’t really agree with this because “juicy” in this context just means “reminiscent of juice”, and the appearance and fruity aspects of the beer make it reminiscent of juice. In the end, due to the technical requirements of the style description, and the potential ambiguity in the word “juicy” I choose to leave it out, even if it has become the hallmark descriptor of the style.

Q: In the ingredients section it says “low lovibond crystal malt” but many examples use no crystal malt at all. What gives?

A: The ingredients section is meant to give typical ingredients, not an exhaustive list or to indicate an ingredient as mandatory. The main purpose of including that is to indicate that crystal malt can be used (and many do use crystal malt) and that typically the crystal malt that is used is of lighter colored varieties. From looking at the other style descriptions, this seems to be standard procedure.

Sample Recipe

This recipe is the best NE IPA I’ve made to date. We killed the kegs in record time. I’m sure it can still be improved upon, but if you want a recipe to give this style a try, this should be a good one.

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
11 gal 60 min 81.88 6.67 1.071 1.013 7.53

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
American IPA 14 B 1.056 - 1.075 1.01 - 1.018 40 - 70 6 - 15 0 - 0 5.5 - 7.5 %

Fermentables

Name Amount %
Pale 2-Row 11 lbs 38.94
Maris Otter Pale 11 lbs 38.94
Flaked Oats 5.25 lbs 18.58
Honey Malt 1 lbs 3.54

Hops

Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Magnum 1.23 oz 30 min Boil Pellet 16
Galaxy 1 oz 20 min Boil Pellet 14.3
Galaxy 3 oz 10 min Boil Pellet 14.3
Amarillo 2 oz 30 min Aroma Pellet 8.6
Citra 2 oz 30 min Aroma Pellet 11
Galaxy 4 oz 30 min Aroma Pellet 14.3
Amarillo 2 oz 3 days Dry Hop Pellet 8.6
Citra 2 oz 3 days Dry Hop Pellet 11
Galaxy 4 oz 3 days Dry Hop Pellet 14.3

Yeast

Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
London Ale III 1318 (1318) Wyeast 80% 64°F - 74°F

Mash

Step Temperature Time
152°F 60 min

Note: 5.25 lbs of oats is one of the large cans of “minute oats” from the grocery store and is a cheap and easy way to dose ~20% oats into a 10 gallon batch. “Aroma” hops are hops added to a 30 min whirlpool at ~165F. Dry hop is added ~3 days into fermentation, or approximately when krausen begins to fall and there is 2 days left in fermentation. Hops are left in the beer until fermentation completes through a 24 hour cold crash until closed transfer into a keg that has been fully filled with star san and then purged by pushing the star san out with co2.

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