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. Water profile target is 100+ Ca, 5 Mg, 5 Na, 130 SO4, 130 Cl.

17 thoughts on “Crafting a New England IPA – Part 2 – Style Description and Sample Recipe

  1. Great post. I have also been trying to tweak my NE IPA recipe. Going to build off some ideas you have for sure. One note: when I imported the .xml file to Beersmith it didn’t transfer over on the hops very well for some reason. All the dry hops came up as a 4320min boil addition, and the 30min steep hops came up as 30min boil hops. Just an FYI and thanks!

    • That’s a bummer about the XML. It came from Brewer’s Friend, so there may be a small compatibility issue. Sorry about that!

  2. Hi! I’m curious to try this recipe but a wonder about a few details since i’m a beginner brewer 🙂
    How much yeast do you use for this? Beersmith says 3.5 packages.
    Do you have a specific ph in mind or does it not matter?
    Do you add the whirlpool hops during chilling when it reaches 165F?

    • I use a starter for the yeast. I typically use the BrewUnited Starter Calculator and input the appropriate numbers. I think for 10/11 gallon batch 4 packages would be adequate, especially if they were fresh.

      5.4 mash and sparge pH. You can target 5.2 if you want, because it has been reported in scientific literature that lower boil pH results in more pleasant hop bitterness and aroma.

      I chill the batch to about 165-170F and then add the whirlpool hops and try to hold the temp there during the whirlpool, then chill the rest of the way. I use a plate chiller, so I recirculate the wort through the chiller back into the kettle to get to 165, then I turn off the chilling water and whirlpool with the hops, then turn the chilling water back on and flow through the plate chiller into the fermenter, ideally at pitching temp.

      Hope that helps!

  3. Thanks for the recipe and tips. I am combining much of your schedule with a different hop bill. I am a fairly new all grain brewer and my question is based on fermenter to keg.

    If I understand correctly, after fermentation is complete……(roughly 5-6 days), I would cold crash the fermenter for 24 hours without racking to secondary?

    After the 24 hour crash and transfer to keg, do you recommend any conditioning period prior or during CO2 pressurization?

    Last question. Have you had any issues with a 20% Oat bill gumming up your mash? Thanks!

    Tony

    • Yes, cold crash after the dry hop for 24 hours and do not rack to secondary. Racking to secondary would introduce oxygen and oxygen is the enemy of NEIPA.

      Fermentation might take as much as 10 days, but it will be fine if the dry hops stay in that long.

      Purge with CO2 and carbonate immediately and keep the beer relatively cold. It drinks better a little warmer (45-50F I think), but cold will keep it fresher a touch longer.

      I have not had any issues with a 20% oat bill sticking my mash when using a grain bill like this one. I suppose it could get stuck, so if you’re concerned on your system you could use rice hulls.

      What hop bill are you using?

      Good luck! Let me know how it goes!

      • Thanks for the info!

        I’m trying a 5.5gal batch and the all pellet hop bill currently planned is this:

        60 min Boil

        Centennial .5 @30
        Centennial .5 @20
        Azacca 1 @10
        Citra .5 @10
        Amarillo .5 @10

        Whirpool @165

        Mosaic 1.5
        Citra 1.5
        Amarillo 1

        Dry Hop midway through fermentation

        Mosaic 2
        Citra 2
        Amarillo 1

        Pluggin in the boil hop schedule, I get an estimated 50ish IBUs. I’m looking for a well balanced ale without too much dominating bitterness. Does this sound achievable with my proposed hop bill/schedule?

        Thanks!

        • Personally, I’d probably just do all citra at 10 and ditch the azacca and move the amarillo to WP, but I prefer amarillo to be whirlpool and dry hop only, and I don’t really have any experience with Azacca. That said, I’m sure it’ll be good as is, or you could leave the azacca and move the amarillo to WP.

          Overall, looks solid to me!

          • i think I will take your advice and ditch the Amarillo in the boil. I’m going to decrease the Azacca to .5 and increase citra to 1 at 10.

            I should be brewing this weekend so I will keep you updated. Thanks!

  4. Awesome article and will help but I’m looking for a lower ibu like 20-30. Using Vermont IPA yeast ( I also have london 1318) and mosaic, citra, el dorado, nelson sauvin, Amarillo, cascade ( all the fruits) . Really enjoyed your first part and now trying to work out my hop profile for like a 30 ibu with AAs around 12. 🙂

    • For lower IBU, especially that low, I would just skip all of the boil additions and just do whirlpool. There’s a surprising amount of IBU (or maybe just perceived bitterness) that comes from the whirlpool additions, even at 165F. I would be a little concerned about going too low on IBU because some of the fruitier hops have a bit of sweetness impression to them that still needs some bitterness to balance, but you can probably find the balance you’re looking for with some experimentation. Also note that the beer does not taste anywhere near as bitter as the IBU number in the recipe would indicate.

      I switched from Vermont yeast to 1318 because I get better and more reliable attenuation from it than Vermont. Vermont works well in this style obviously, but make sure it’s a healthy second or third pitch that really has the legs to attenuate a beer like this.

      Good luck, let me know how it turns out!

  5. I brewed my version of this yesterday. I used a similar grain bill reduced for a 5.5gal batch. The only thing I changed was adding 1lb. of white wheat. So my frsin bill was:

    5lb pale 2 row
    5lb Maris otter
    2.75lb. Quick oats
    1lb. White wheat
    .5lb honey

    Prepped 10gal of water with appropriate additions for target composition and ph. 5 gal if strike water and 5 gal if sparge water yielded just over 7 gallons of wort. 5.5 gal after flame out with an OG of 1.06. I used one London Ale smack pack with a 2000ml starter on stir plate for 48 hours. I also added 2 grams of centennial hops to starter.

    Wow! This stuff looks like carmel taffy. Almost like a cream heavy latte. The wort pre-boil was like caramel glass. It separates as it sits which I can only assume is the oats? Carboy had two distinct layers within 1 hour after pitching yeast. I woke up this morning to a wonderfully active fermentation and a beautiful hop tinged krausen .

    Really looking forward to how this one turns out.

    Do you have any suggestions on how to achieve a more “orangish” color in this style?

    Anyway, I’ll continue to update. I appreciate the support!

    Tony

    • Cool! Thanks for sharing!

      For a more orangy color, I recommend using maybe 5% cara-vienne or CaraRuby malt. But just about any malt in the 15-30L range should work to get the color more orange.

      • So after 36 hours and an aggressive Fermentation, my Krausen has fallen off and my gravity is 1.024. Does that sound about right for dry hop time?

        I’ve never had a beer ferment this quickly but I generally don’t use a starter like I did.

  6. 5 days in. Pulled a sample and I’m at 1.018. Nose is amazing……i tasted the sample and it was extremely astringent…….akin to a ginger like character. Any thoughts? Not what I was expecting.

    Fermentation remains steady with airlock pops every 5-6 seconds.

    Thanks.

    • Did you add the dry hops already? They can be really astringent. In fact, as long as fermentation is going on, I’d expect it to be pretty astringent because of the tannin extracted from the hops in the whirlpool. I imagine after the yeast and hops fall out when fermentation stops it will be much better.

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