Make Juice, Not Haze

Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine - - Contents -

It’s time to call a truce by ramp­ing up the juici­ness of the NEIPA style with­out re­sort­ing to murk-in­duc­ing tech­niques de­signed to send a vis­ual sig­nal of “juicy.”

Juicy doesn’t have to mean hazy. And therein lies, Josh Weik­ert be­lieves, the foun­da­tion of a com­pro­mise with the po­ten­tial to end the in­cip­i­ent war be­tween the “Haz­ers” and the “Clears.” It’s time to call a truce by ramp­ing up the juici­ness of the style with­out re­sort­ing to murk-in­duc­ing tech­niques de­signed to send a vis­ual sig­nal of “juicy.”

IN THE RE­CENTLY RE­LEASED Brew­ers As­so­ci­a­tion beer-guide­lines up­date, fans of New Eng­land–style IPAS and their lighter/ stronger pale ale and dou­ble IPA cousins had cause for cel­e­bra­tion: They made it! BA recog­ni­tion! GABF medals for NEIPAS!

Mean­while, those who aren’t ded­i­cated fans of the Haze Craze shook their heads and de­spaired of ever be­ing able to or­der an IPA again with­out wor­ry­ing that they’re about to be poured a glass of fruity gravy. Care­ful read­ers, though, might have no­ticed a sub­tle lin­guis­tic nu­ance in the guide­lines. They weren’t ti­tled “New Eng­land Style Beers” or “Hazy Beers.” They were de­scribed in a dif­fer­ent way: “Juicy or Hazy Ale Styles.” (My em­pha­sis added.)

Juicy doesn’t have to mean hazy. And therein lies, I be­lieve, the foun­da­tion of a com­pro­mise with the po­ten­tial to end the in­cip­i­ent war be­tween the “Haz­ers” and the “Clears.” If haze is, as many brew­ers stated in the early days of the NEIPA and its ilk, not re­ally a fea­ture but rather a by-prod­uct of the hunt for brighter, juicier fruit fla­vors, then maybe brew­ers can de­velop pro­ce­dures that pro­duce clear beers that are as juicy as their opaque com­peti­tors. Or, more ac­cu­rately, this is fun­da­men­tally an em­pir­i­cal ques­tion: which beer is juicier? Do they need to be hazy or do they not? It takes haze out of the equa­tion as a fea­ture, at least for those who aren’t pro­duc­ing hazy beer for its own sake (and I don’t see any rea­son why you should). If

I can brew a juicy, brightly fruity IPA or pale ale and avoid haze at the same time, wouldn’t that be prefer­able? It’s a bit like if we could make in­tensely roasty stouts at an SRM of 4—would it make sense to load them down with Mid­night Wheat just to make them ap­pear dark?

So, let’s get into how you can ramp up the juici­ness of your beers with­out re­sort­ing to ap­ple­sauce and wheat-germ ad­di­tions de­signed to send a vis­ual sig­nal of “juicy.”

Hops Se­lec­tion

Clearly, hops se­lec­tion is a ma­jor build­ing block here. It’s not the only build­ing block, as we’ll dis­cuss, but it’s a log­i­cal place to start. We have two ba­sic ques­tions to an­swer. First, which hops va­ri­eties are best suited to pro­duc­ing juicy fla­vors? This could be ei­ther by virtue of the content of their oils or the over­all amount of oils in the cone, or (prefer­ably) both. Sec­ond, what form should the hops take to pro­duce the big­gest, bright­est fla­vors?

Be­tween those two con­sid­er­a­tions, we have a high level of con­trol: the right hops in terms of fla­vor, with the high­est over­all level of oil content, in a form that makes those oils most ac­ces­si­ble is go­ing to be our win­ner. Af­ter that, it’s how you use them, but we’ll save that for the next sec­tion. To start, let’s pic­ture our­selves stand­ing be­fore the hops fridge at the lo­cal home­brew shop.

Your eye and hand might go first to the new and/or trendy hops. Va­ri­eties such as Ci­tra, Gal­axy, and Equinox (or Ekuanot) were de­vel­oped with trop­i­cal-fruit fla­vors in mind and are ob­vi­ous go-to choices. Ter­roir and breed­ing also make the “Down Un­der” hops a solid choice, with va­ri­eties such as Motueka and Ri­waka adding fresh lime notes to the more-con­ven­tional pas­sion-fruit and mango fla­vors. For sure, these are hops that make a state­ment—but they’re far from your only choices.

Some­times it pays to think out­side the box. See­ing the pop­u­lar­ity of fruit-for­ward va­ri­eties and want­ing to get in on the ac­tion, hops pro­duc­ers and re­searchers in clas­sic hops-grow­ing re­gions of Europe are cul­ti­vat­ing cit­rus and trop­i­cal fruit–fla­vored hops such as Po­laris and Pil­grim. These are in ad­di­tion to the older but now more com­monly avail­able Hull Melon and Man­da­rina Bavaria hops that kick in some melon and tan­ger­ine fla­vors. Fruiti­ness abounds.

It also never hurts to re­visit the clas­sic Amer­i­can hops. There’s a rea­son that Amar­illo, Cas­cade, Cen­ten­nial, Ah­tanum, and oth­ers are still widely avail­able: they’re out­stand­ing hops. Blends such as Zythos, Fal­coner’s Flight 7C’s, and Fal­coner’s Flight let you take ad­van­tage of the full range of

cit­rus fla­vors that made Amer­i­can craft beers so pop­u­lar in the first place.

To­tal oil content is an­other vari­able we might con­sider. Con­ven­tional wis­dom and a va­ri­ety of anec­dotes sug­gest that hops with greater oil content are more likely to pro­duce stronger fla­vors. This is in­tu­itively plau­si­ble, but has not been con­clu­sively demon­strated. A 2016 ar­ti­cle in the Journal of the Amer­i­can So­ci­ety of Brew­ing Chemists re­ported on a test of this propo­si­tion in dry hop­ping and found no cor­re­la­tion be­tween to­tal oil content and aroma per­cep­tions. It should be noted that this is only one study, of one va­ri­ety (Cas­cade), in one ap­pli­ca­tion (dry hop­ping), but given the coun­ter­in­tu­itive find­ings on hops pre­sen­ta­tion and the in­ter­ac­tion of hops oils in other stud­ies, it can­not be dis­missed eas­ily. Still, higher oil content is un­likely to re­duce hops aroma, so se­lect­ing a higher oil-content va­ri­ety (Ci­tra, Equinox, Ah­tanum, Amar­illo, Cas­cade, among oth­ers) might still be prefer­able.

Fi­nally, you should take into ac­count the form of the hops. Ac­ces­si­bil­ity of the oils in the cone varies based on whether we’re us­ing whole-flower hops, pel­lets, or pow­ders/ ex­tracts. Broadly speak­ing, it’s eas­ier to de­velop big­ger hops aro­mas and fla­vors us­ing pel­lets over whole-flower hops. There is anec­do­tal ev­i­dence that hops pow­der and ex­tracts pro­duce greater aro­mas still, but my own ex­pe­ri­ence with them has yielded un­cer­tain re­sults rel­a­tive to pel­lets alone. To give your­self the best chance of bright juicy fla­vors and aro­mas, I rec­om­mend a com­bi­na­tion of pel­lets and pow­ders.

The right hops in the right form should get you off on the right foot to pro­duc­ing a juicy beer even with­out the haze that we might as­so­ciate with juicy beers.

Juic­ing Your Hops

Once you have your hops, it’s time to use them.

The most ob­vi­ous piece of ad­vice to hang on to those juicy fruity fla­vors is to push your hops later into the boil (if you boil at all, but more on that in a sec­ond). Hops oils are volatile. Most volatilize 50 per­cent or more within fif­teen min­utes in the boil: linalool hits that mark in six min­utes. If you’re boil­ing it at all, don’t as­sume you’ll get much fla­vor out of it. In­stead, con­sider mov­ing most of your fla­vor/ aroma hops to a whirlpool. Post-boil (but pre-chill) hops can be added and oils ex­tracted sim­ply by steep­ing them in the hot-but-not-boil­ing wort. Wait un­til the tem­per­a­ture drops below 180°F (82°C), then add sev­eral ounces of those juicy hops and leave them to steep for 20–30 min­utes. You’ll still pull some IBUS, but mostly you’ll loosen up those fla­vor-pro­duc­ing oils, and the longer the beer sits at those tem­per­a­tures (140–170°F/60–77°C), the greater the fla­vor and aroma you’ll yield.

You should also make ex­ten­sive use of dry hop­ping—and not just once but

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