“I used to be with ‘it,’ but then they changed what ‘it’ was. Now what I’m with isn’t ‘it’ anymore and what’s ‘it’ seems weird and scary. It’ll happen to you!” – Abraham Simpson
Occasionally I hear a beer drinker bemoan that with all the “hazies,” IPA has lost its way over the last few years and isn’t what it is supposed to be. Where did all the dry, bitter, West Coast IPAs go? Where are the malty, balanced IPAs?
The India pale ale “style” has been changing over its entire 200-year history. But how did we get from the dry, herbal, English origins to the juice-bombs and milkshakes of today?
Like most cultural trends, each shift in the IPA style has been a reaction to what came before it; influenced by technology, economics, agriculture, and consumer tastes. There were branches along the way, but I wanted to present a timeline (even if it is dramatically oversimplified). The two graphs above show how IPA evolved in terms of malt sweetness (OG vs. FG) and hop usage (bitterness vs. dry hopping). The data points are estimated averages, so don’t be worried if your favorite recipe doesn’t fit exactly.
Here’s my take on each of these “periods” of IPA. I included an example for each — they aren’t necessarily the first or best, just a classic.
1800s – Burton IPAs (Allsopp IPA)
The original IPAs grew out of the pale ales created after the invention of pale malt. It is likely that wild yeast played a role during the long aging time, interacting with hops to create a dry, bitter beer of considerable strength. More than anything “India” was a marketing term from the start, according to Mitch Steele in his book IPA: “This would imply that the original IPA was a standard pale ale-style beer that was already being brewed.” (pg. 46) High-sulfate water was a natural feature of Burton-on-Trent where the style was primarily brewed.
Fermentables: English pale ale
Yeast: English ale (optional Brettanomyces claussenii)
Hops: Golding (especially East Kent)
Dry Hopping Rate: 1 oz./gallon (7.5 g/L)
Burton Recipe example:
14 lbs. (64 kg) Maris Otter malt
70 IBUs East Kent Goldings @ 30–90 minutes
English Ale Yeast
5 oz. (142 g) East Kent Golding (dry hop)
Brettanomyces claussenii added with dry hops
Age 6 months before packaging
1950s – Mid-Century Modern (McEwan’s IPA)
“Burtonization” of water allowed IPA brewing to spread around Great Britain. World Wars, ingredient rationing, and changes to alcohol taxation resulted in the slow erosion of the original gravity, hopping-rate, and aging time. Ron Pattinson, Martyn Cornell, and others have done a fantastic job tracking how recipes changed by studying brewing logs. The eventual result was something that was closer to what we think of as a bitter with ABV under 5%.
Fermentables: English pale ale
Yeast: English ale
Hops: Golding (Especially East Kent)
Dry Hopping Rate: 0.25 oz./gallon (2 g/L)
Mid-Century Modern Recipe example:
Take Burton Recipe and cut ingredients in half, shorten dry hop to one week, and no Brettanomyces.
1970s – American Originals (Anchor Liberty)
Early American craft brewers adopted and adapted beers from all over the world, often looking to extinct or endangered styles for inspiration. The most significant change they made to IPA was to substitute in American ingredients. Cascade hops’ grapefruity flavor became the signature of the style all because they were cheap and accessible when all the bigger breweries wanted European-style hops and alpha acids. ABVs bumped up to 5–6%. Many breweries still added gypsum, but generally not to the same levels as Burton’s water (600+ ppm sulfate)
Fermentables: American pale, medium crystal
Yeast: American ale
Dry Hopping Rate: 0.5 oz./gallon (4 g/L)
American Originals Recipe example:
Take Mid-Century Modern recipe and increase malt by 50%, switch to American pale malt and add crystal malt. Switch to American ale yeast. Switch to Cascade hops, 2X dry-hop rate.
1990s – 90s Kid IPA (Bell’s Two Hearted)
As more aromatic American hop varieties were released like Chinook (1985), Centennial (1990), and Columbus (1990s), brewers quickly found a place for them in IPA. With increased alpha acid concentrations, brewers boosted bitterness and gravity to compensate. The result was a 6–7% beer that was largely similar to the American Originals, but bolder in flavor and aroma.
Fermentables: American pale, crystal
Yeast: American ale
Hops: Centennial, Chinook, Columbus
Dry Hopping Rate: 0.5–1 oz./gallon (4–7.5 g/L)
90s Kids Recipe example:
Take American Originals recipe and slightly increase amount of base malt. Increase hopping rates, switch to Centennial/Chinook/Columbus.
2000s – West Coast IPA (Russian River Pliny the Elder)
The IBU brag became a central feature of IPA labels in the early 2000s with breweries attempting to outdo each other with 100, 200, and eventually 1,000 theoretical IBUs. Breweries often used hop extracts to increase bitterness. New hop varieties like Simcoe® (2000), Amarillo® (2003), and Citra® (2008) were released by hop breeders focused on fruity but not necessarily citrusy hop aromatics.
Fermentables:: American pale, light crystal or dextrin, sugar (in higher-strength examples)
Hops: Amarillo®, Simcoe®, Citra®
Dry Hopping Rate: 1–1.5 oz./gallon (7.5–11 g/L)
American Originals Recipe example:
Take 90s Kid recipe and switch to light crystal or dextrin malt and add sugar (in higher-strength examples). Increase hopping rate, and switch to Simcoe®, Amarillo®, or Citra®.
2010s – New England IPA (Trillium Congress Street)
The transitional beer to here was Alchemist’s Heady Topper in 2003, really gaining traction when they began canning it in 2011. It still had the high IBUs and sulfate, but was more focused on fresh hop aroma, along with fruitiness from their house English ale strain (Conan). Hill Farmstead pushed IPA further into what we think of it today by leaning more towards chloride in their water treatment, and backing down on IBUs. Combined, these soften the bitterness and create a softer finish. Trillium, Tree House, and others kept marching towards juicier, smoother beers with fewer IBUs and higher final gravity. Pounds-per-barrel of dry hopping has become the new brag with beers pushing 8 lbs./bbl (4 oz./gallon or 30 g/L).
Fermentables: American pale, dextrin, oats, wheat
Yeast: English Ale
Hops: Citra®, Mosaic®, GalaxyTM
Dry Hopping Rate: 1.5+ oz./gallon (11+ g/L)
New England IPA Recipe example:
Take West Coast recipe and eliminate any sugar and add oats/wheat. Increase hopping rate, switch to Citra®, GalaxyTM, Mosaic®. Optionally move some dry-hops to mid-fermentation.
Present – Milkshake IPA (Tired Hands Milkshake IPA)
To help boost the final gravity of their IPAs some breweries began adding lactose (or maltodextrin). The result is a huge rounded mouthfeel and dull sweetness to complement the fruity flavors of the hops, usually boosted with fruit and vanilla. In this age of political strife and impending climate disaster more people want escapism whether that’s a superhero movie or a beer that tastes like a Creamsicle. At least that’s my theory for the current trends of pastry stout, pastry sour, and milkshake IPA.
Fermentables: American pale, dextrin, oats, wheat, lactose
Yeast: English ale
Hops: Citra®, Mosaic®, GalaxyTM
Dry Hopping Rate: 1+ oz./gallon (7.5 g/L)
Milkshake IPA Recipe example:
Take NEIPA recipe and add lactose (or maltodextrin) to the boil, plus vanilla with dry hops. Fruit optional.
There were a few side-branches to the IPA evolution not included here that I’ll discuss later, like white, black, brown, red, sour, and brut. None of these replaced the previous IPA or became the dominant style. We’ll see if milkshake ever does that, but I already see its influence pushing the final gravity of standard hazy IPAs up and bitterness down. Double/Imperial IPA has coexisted for the last 20 years mirroring the IPA trends.
The biggest sustained shift is an increasing focus on fresh hop aroma. The most obvious result is the ever increasing dry-hopping rate. In addition, modern hops are selected for oil content and aroma quality (rather than alpha acids). Hop storage (cold, oxygen-barrier packaging) also increases the hop aroma of today’s IPAs compared to those before 1990. The additions of new hop products (e.g., Cryo® and distilled oils) is continuing to push hop aroma.
The second result of the push for hop aroma is beer freshness. The original IPAs were often aged for months before serving (whether on a ship or at a brewery). For the first IPA from Russian River Brewing’s Vinnie Cilurzo in 1994, “He aged it on oak for nine months and served it on [Blind Pig’s] first anniversary as ‘Inaugural Ale.’ It was 15 months old when he hauled it to GABF.”1 Of course now when I see his Pliny the Elder on the store shelves in California it is more often than not within a week of bottling.
Modern IPAs are almost always released within a month of brewing. A beer can only be so fresh when it is distributed though, because of the risk that it will warm in transit or sit on a shelf for months. That helps to explain the rise of buying IPA at the source, whether on draft at a brewer’s tap-room, or in cans to go. It also allows brewers to capture enough revenue to afford the colossal amount of hops the style is known for. It’s also one of the reasons even with the wide availability of IPA that brewing it at home holds an allure.
The second sustained trend is towards sweetness. Humans are predisposed to think sugar tastes good. I’ve been most happy with our hoppy beers at Sapwood Cellars in Columbia, Maryland (from 3.8% session IPAs to 10% triple IPAs) finishing between 1.020–1.026. The key for us is that a beer with that much residual sweetness can stand up to more bitterness than you’d expect: From 50 calculated wort IBUs in session IPAs to 100 in triple-IPAs. Dry hopping high IBU beer can reduce IBUs, as the green material absorbs isomerized alpha acids while contributing less-bitter compounds.2 We target a more balanced water profile than some breweries, usually 150 ppm chloride and 70–150 ppm sulfate.
Before we get into reviewing modern IPA-brewing techniques, let’s take a look at the other IPA styles that have made waves over the last decade or so.
I don’t love kettle souring, except for brewing sour IPAs. The best approach I have found for substituting acidity for the bitterness typically found in an IPA is to boil the wort and then kettle sour with Lactobacillus (preferably an active starter of L. brevis and/or L. plantarum). Once it reaches the target pH (3.2–3.4), heat the wort to pasteurize and add the whirlpool hops. Hold the wort between 170–180 °F (79–82 °C) for 30 minutes before chilling, aerating, and pitching. I think fruity hop varieties work best, especially those from the Southern Hemisphere. Push your water profile heavily towards chloride (>150 ppm) while minimizing sulfate (<50 ppm) to avoid clashing bitterness and acidity. And ferment with a fruity yeast strain (e.g., Conan, Sacch/Brett Trois) and then dry hop. For more on these styles see my article “Hoppy Sour Beers” at: https://byo.com/article/hoppy-sour-beers/.
Brut IPAs made an initial splash when the style was first devised in 2017. Compared to New England IPAs, which grew slowly and organically, Brut IPA sprang into being almost fully-formed when it was first brewed by Kim Sturdavant at Social Kitchen and Brewery in San Francisco. Most recipes call for the addition of glucoamylase enzyme to either the mash or fermenter to allow the yeast to ferment the beer close to 1.000. If you add it to the fermenter the enzyme can remain active, leading to eventual over-carbonation if active yeast is in the bottle or keg. Another option is to pitch a var. diastaticus brewer’s yeast strain that can ferment dextrins without assistance. Omega Labs released a strain specifically bred for this: Gulo® Ale OYL-501. Focus on hop aroma over bitterness (pre-chilled whirlpool and dry hopping) to avoid overwhelming the dry beer. Use low mineral water to avoid excessive bitterness or body. Carbonate to 2.8–3.0 volumes.
The most important recipe design feature for the spectrum of IPA colors is to match hop variety to malt flavor. I prefer white IPAs (wheat, coriander, Belgian yeast) with citrusy hops to help mimic the addition of orange peel in Belgian wits. Black and brown IPAs work best with piney-dank hops (e.g., Chinook, Simcoe®, Columbus), which meld with the subtle roast in a way that fruity hops do not. Red IPAs can meld with a wide range of hops. For Red Branch, our only attempt at the style, we featured DenaliTM/SultanaTM (pineapple-forward aroma), which resulted into a grilled-fruit character when combined with caramel malts.
No matter the IPA you brew, most of the best practices are the same.
Hop variability is important to recognize. Just because there is a great hop name on the outside of the bag, doesn’t mean the hops inside will be great. Larger craft breweries (contracting 5,000+ lbs./2,300+ kg of a given variety each year) can sample and select the lot of hops they want. At our scale (1,000 bbl/year) we buy on the spot market and have small contracts, but much like homebrewers sometimes we open a bag of hops that isn’t great. When that happens, don’t be afraid to vacuum seal and dry hop with another variety. It pays to have some backup hops in the freezer. Mediocre hops are best added to the kettle where most of their delicate aromatics are volatized.
Once you have good hops make sure you get the most out of them. Mid-fermentation “biotransformation” dry hop additions are a common practice for hazy IPAs. The timing allows the yeast to scavenge incidental oxygen introduced with the dry hop. However, at Sapwood Cellars we’ve achieved the most intense hop aroma by first chilling to 50–58 °F (10-14 °C) and removing most of the yeast before dry hopping. The easiest way to do this at home is to transfer the soft-crashed beer into a purged keg with the hops. Gently agitate the keg once or twice a day for three days to increase hop extraction before transferring to a serving keg.
Dry Hopping vs. Kettle Varieties
Just because a hop works well for dry hopping doesn’t mean you should use it in the kettle, and vice-versa. Heat volatilizes many of the signature aromatic compounds, and yeast can scrub and interact with others. Taste your beer before dry hopping to get a sense of what was contributed. We’ve been blown away that some varieties have a persistent kettle character compared to others. Idaho 7 is a great example; a whirlpool addition can result in a beer that tastes like it has already been dry hopped. That said, the flavor of Idaho 7 isn’t for everyone with a pineapple-fruity character that can sometimes stray towards onion. Some of those classic C-hops (Cascade, Centennial, Columbus, Chinook) are our favorites for laying down a base of hop character, while allowing the more expensive varieties to shine in the dry hop.
My Sapwood Cellars partner, Scott Janish, dug into hop research for his book The New IPA and we’ve been trying the scientifically-driven suggestions. Does a hop like Calypso with the highest-level of hop-derived esters make it a great hot-side hop? Turns out, not really, or at least it didn’t seem remarkable when we tried it. We’re currently working with a lab to analyze Idaho 7 to try to determine what makes it such a potent whirlpool variety in the hopes that we can identify other hops with similar potency.
I don’t enjoy the flavor of the “Zero IBU” IPAs I’ve sampled. I put that in quotes because dry hops alone (no kettle additions) will add IBUs. Opposed to what you might expect, I often find beers with no hot-side hopping to have a harsh polyphenolic bitterness. I similarly don’t love no-boil IPAs. While I enjoy the “doughy” flavor of a no-boil Berliner weisse, I find that same flavor distracting when it comes to the juicy-hoppy flavor of hazy IPAs.
There are two primary ways to limit oxidation: Reduce the contact with oxygen (air), and be as gentle as possible when oxygen is present. No matter how well you purge a keg with CO2, there will always be some oxygen present. We run CO2 from the bottom of the vessel and vent from the top, then pressurize to 15 PSI and vent twice. This removes most of the oxygen, but even being generous saying that the initial purge removes 90% and the two pressurizations remove 50% each of the remainder, we still have 2.5% of the original oxygen in the tank or keg (about 0.5% oxygen since air is 20% oxygen). That may not sound like much, but breweries target oxygen levels below 10 parts per billion in packaged beer. Sadly, dissolved oxygen meters with that sort of precision cost more than $10,000. The best way to remove 99.99% of oxygen is to fill a vessel with water and push it out with carbon-dioxide or nitrogen.
If there is any oxygen in your receiving vessel, the key is to allow the beer to flow in and the gas to flow out as gently as possible. Turbulence and especially splashing dissolves oxygen into the beer. Filling from the bottom slowly, especially at first, and using CO2 pressure rather than pumps is our approach. We adjust the pressure of the kegs before filling so that the pressure on the tank and gravity cause the beer to trickle in until we start venting pressure.
Luckily, physics work in your favor at the typical homebrew scale with smaller pressure differences. You might consider starting a transfer with the fermenter and keg at the same height, then lower the keg down as the siphon slows.
Some sanitizers have the potential to oxidize beer. For craft brewers, peroxyacetic acid (PAA) is the industry standard. We allow time for the sanitizer to collect at the bottom of the tank or keg and blow it out with CO2 while purging. When that isn’t an option (like bottles), we use SaniClean as it is non-oxidizing. StarSan is a fine option for homebrewers for most applications, but the air trapped in the bubbles bothers me. Switching to a non-foaming sanitizer for post-fermentation applications can’t hurt!
Adding an oxygen scavenger for insurance is another option. Sodium or potassium metabisulfite is the standard in the wine industry. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is another choice. Add a couple grams to the receiving vessel before a transfer begins, but still do everything you can to limit exposure.
Let the Yeast Contribute
Yeast can produce some fun fruity esters that help to increase the perception of hoppiness. We’ve been happiest with English strains (Conan and London III). Sacch Trois and kveik (e.g., Voss, Hornindol) are interesting options, but just be aware of how attenuative they can be compared to the English strains.
We have also tried some blends of English yeast with 3–5% of a more characterful strain (i.e., wine, hefeweizen, and Belgian). The concept is that a subtle amount of fruity banana or bubblegum aromatic can provide longevity to a beer. As the hops fade there is still some flavor that isn’t as sensitive to time or oxygen. These strains (especially the wine ones) are also more likely to have interesting interactions with hop compounds.
We’ve been surprised how much character such a small amount of yeast can provide. The problem we’ve run into is phenolics, the spicy character of several of the yeasts we’ve tried (e.g., SafAle T-58, SafAle WB-06) has been disruptive to the bright fruity flavor of the hops. We’ve had better luck with Wyeast 3068 (Weihenstephan Weizen) in our 8980 Rt. 108 beer, but even at 5% of the pitch the beer tastes more like a hefeweizen rather than an IPA with extra fruitiness. We’ll continue to experiment with rates, times, temperatures, but as of yet we haven’t found a blend that we are enamored with for our “core” IPAs.
The Pursuit of Haziness
When hazy IPAs first came to prominence, you’d hear a lot of traditional brewers talk about how “lazy” the brewers were. That the beer was murky, yeasty, and in general wasn’t suitable to be served. It didn’t take long for things to swing the other way and consumers now complain if a beer is too clear.
We’ve gotten plenty of brewers asking what the secret is to keeping beers hazy. We don’t add Tanal A, flour, or pectin to our hazy IPAs. In fact, we add Whirlfloc to every batch, and many of our hazy IPAs are fined with Biofine Clear to help drop out the “hop burn” of yeast and hop particulate. We even add ClarityFerm/Clarex enzyme to some of our hazy IPAs without experiencing excessive clarity. The only thing that seems to create a really clear beer for us seems to be crashing to below 32 °F (0 °C) in combination with Biofine.
The haze and haze stability are a result of interactions between the polyphenols from the hops and proteins in the beer. This is affected by how much protein is in the wort, how much is left behind by the yeast, and the exact composition of the hops. There are some hop varieties (like GalaxyTM) that will always create a hazier beer than others.
My goal is to create the best beer, appearance be damned! If some of our beers are lightly hazy while others are opaque and cloudy, that’s OK as long as the aroma, flavor, and mouthfeel are where we want them.
The Next IPA
I’m often asked whether a new or hot style is the “next” IPA. My answer is that IPA is the next IPA. For anyone who thinks what’s next will be a celebration of drinkability and balance, I’ve got bad news for you. At each stage of IPA’s evolution the flavor and aroma have gotten bolder, and the beer has swayed from dry to bitter to sweet. Currently the market is being pushed by two forces: 1. The increasing taste for “fresh” IPA, that is to say the volatile hop compounds that don’t survive well even in pristinely packaged beer. 2. Novelty, many breweries survive on attracting customers to them to reap higher margins — releasing new/surprising/gimmicky beers helps.
As a homebrewer you get to decide exactly how you want your IPA to taste. If you want the dry-bitter base of a West Coast IPA with the fruity aroma of a NEIPA you can create that. Want to taste what an 1800s Burton IPA would have tasted like fresh and aged, split the batch! Want to taste what Anchor and Sierra Nevada would have been like if Citra® and Mosaic® were available in the 1970s? You can!
IPA has been the signature craft beer style for so long because it changes with the times. Nothing is the “next” IPA other than IPA, but you might not recognize what IPA is in 20 years!
Sapwood Cellars’ Western Shore clone
(5 gallons/19 L, all-grain)
OG = 1.070 FG = 1.017
IBU = 80+ SRM = 4 ABV = 7.1%
Our take on a West Coast IPA, through the lens of hazy IPA brewers. Drier and more bitter, but not quite as dry and bitter as the classics. Strata® is a relatively new variety that, like Simcoe®, has a range of aromatics from fruity to dank.
12.5 lbs. (5.7 kg) Rahr Standard 2-row malt
0.75 lb. (0.34 kg) BestMalz chit malt
0.75 lb. (0.34 kg) dextrose
1 oz. (28 g) Columbus hops (mash)
15.2 AAU Columbus hops (first wort hop) (1 oz./28 g at 15.2% alpha acids)
38.4 AAU Simcoe® hops (0 min.) (3 oz./85 g at 12.8% alpha acids)
15.2 AAU Columbus hops (0 min.) (1 oz./28 g at 15.2% alpha acids)
3 oz. (85 g) Simcoe® hops (dry hop)
6 oz. (170 g) Strata® hops (dry hop)
Wyeast 1272 (American Ale II) or White Labs WLP051 (California V) or Lallemand Nottingham yeast
3⁄4 cup corn sugar (if priming)
Step by step
Mash at 154 °F (68 °C) with the mash hops added at the outset. Adjust brewing water by adding calcium chloride to achieve 50 ppm chloride and gypsum to achieve 200 ppm sulfate. If needed, add phosphoric acid to achieve a mash pH of 5.2. Collect wort and boil for 60 minutes, adding hops as noted. When the boil is complete add the whirlpool hops without cooling the wort, and allow to sit for 45 minutes before force chilling to 66 °F (19 °C). Transfer the chilled wort to an oversized fermenter. Aerate the wort and pitch the yeast. Ferment at 68 °F (20 °C).
Once the gravity stabilizes, chill to 40 °F (4 °C). Transfer to a purged keg with dry hops placed in screens. Dry hop for three days at 50 °F (10 °C), agitating once or twice daily for 30 seconds. Transfer off the hops to a serving keg. Pressurize to reach 2.5 volumes of CO2.
Partial mash option: Replace 11.5 lbs. (5.2 kg) of the 2-row malt with 6 lbs. (2.7 kg) of extra light dried malt extract. In a muslin bag, heat the crushed pale and chit malts with mash hops in 3 qts. (3 L) of water to 160 °F (71 °C). Mash at around 154 °F (68 °C) for 45–60 minutes. Remove the grains and wash with 1 gallon (4 L) of hot water. Bring volume up to 6 gallons (23 L) and stir in the malt extract and dextrose. Follow the remainder of the all-grain recipe.
Sapwood Cellars’ Nu Zulund clone
(5 gallons/19 L, all-grain)
OG = 1.055 FG = 1.007
IBU = 0 SRM = 3.5 ABV = 6.3%
Sapwood Cellars’ one and only kettle sour was a sour IPA showing off Wai-iti and Waimea hops from New Zealand. The result was fruitier than some of our fruited sours, with big lime and stone fruit aromatics. The post-souring whirlpool serves both to kill the Lactobacillus and impart “kettle character” from the hops.
6.75 lbs. (3 kg) Rahr Standard 2-row malt
3 lbs. (1.4 kg) Rahr Pilsner malt
0.875 lb. (0.4 kg) Crisp oat malt
0.875 lb. (0.4 kg) BestMalz spelt malt
6 oz. (170 g) Waimea hops (hop stand)
6 oz. (170 g) Wai-iti hops (dry hop)
3 oz. (85 g) Waimea hops (dry hop)
~10–15 mL 88% lactic acid
Omega Lactobacillus blend
Omega Yeast OYL-200 (Tropical IPA) or White Labs WLP644 (Saccharomyces “Bruxellensis” trois) yeast
Yeast nutrient per manufacturer’s directions
Step by step
Mash at 157 °F (69 °C), adding calcium chloride to achieve 150 ppm chloride. If needed to achieve a mash pH of 5.2, add phosphoric acid. Collect wort and boil for 60 minutes. At the end of the boil, add lactic acid to achieve a pH of 4.4. Chill wort to 95 °F (35 °C). Pitch an active starter of Lactobacillus. Don’t worry about maintaining this temperature. Allow to sour to a pH of 3.3 (or as desired), approximately 12–24 hours. Heat to 175 °F (79 °C) and add whirlpool hops and nutrient. Allow to sit for 40 minutes before force chilling to 66 °F (19 °C). Transfer to a fermenter, aerate, and pitch yeast. Ferment at 68 °F (20 °C).
Once the gravity stabilizes, chill to 55 °F (13 °C). Transfer to a purged keg with dry hops placed in screens. Dry hop for three days at 55 °F (13 °C), agitating once or twice daily for 30 seconds. Transfer off the hops to a serving keg. Pressurize to reach 2.5 volume of CO2.
Partial mash option: Replace 2-row and Pilsner malts with 3.5 lbs. (1.6 kg) extra light dried malt extract and 1.6 lbs. (0.73 kg) Pilsen dried malt extract. In a muslin bag, heat the crushed oats and spelt in 3 qts. (3 L) of water to 164 °F (73 °C). Mash at around 157 °F (69 °C) for 45–60 minutes. Remove the grains and wash with 1 gallon (4 L) of hot water. Bring volume up to 6 gallons (23 L) and stir in the malt extract. Follow the remainder of the all-grain recipe.
Sapwood Cellars’ Cheater X clone
(5 gallons/19 L, all-grain)
OG = 1.079 FG = 1.026
IBU = 80+ SRM = 4.5 ABV = 7.1%
This is the culmination of what we learned during our first year of brewing hazy IPAs. It utilizes two of our favorite “cheater” hops for dry hopping for an intense aroma of passion fruit, gooseberry, and all sorts of citrus.
8.5 lbs. (3.9 kg) Rahr Standard 2-row malt
4 lbs. (1.8 kg) Weyermann Pilsner malt
1.5 lbs. (0.68 kg) Crisp naked malted oats
1.5 lbs. (0.68 kg) Rahr white wheat malt
0.75 lb. (0.34 kg) BestMalz chit malt
1 oz. (28 g) Comet hops (mash)
3 oz. (85 g) Simcoe® hops (0 min.)
2.5 oz. (71 g) GalaxyTM hops (0 min.)
5.5 oz. (156 g) Nelson Sauvin® hops (dry hop)
5.5 oz. (156 g) GalaxyTM hops (dry hop)
RVA 132 (Manchester Ale), Wyeast 1318 (London Ale III), Imperial Yeast A38 (Juice), or LalBrew New England yeast
2⁄3 cup corn sugar (if priming)
Step by step
Mash at 156 °F (69 °C) with the mash hops added at the outset. Adjust brewing water by adding calcium chloride to achieve 150 ppm chloride and gypsum to achieve 150 ppm sulfate. If needed, add phosphoric acid to achieve a mash pH of 5.2. Collect wort and boil for 60 minutes, adding hops as noted. When the boil is complete add the whirlpool hops without cooling the wort, and allow to sit for 45 minutes before force chilling to 66 °F (19 °C). Transfer the chilled wort to an oversized fermenter. Aerate the wort well as this yeast is sensitive to under-oxygenating, then pitch the yeast. Ferment at 68 °F (20 °C).
Once the gravity stabilizes, chill to 55 °F (13 °C). Transfer to a purged keg with dry hops placed in screens. Dry hop for three days at 55 °F (13 °C), agitating once or twice daily for 30 seconds. Transfer off the hops to a serving keg. Pressurize to reach 2.4 volumes of CO2.
Partial mash option: Replace 2-row, Pilsner, and wheat malts with 4 lbs. (1.8 kg) extra light dried malt extract, 2 lbs. (0.91 kg) Pilsen dried malt extract, and 1.6 lbs. (0.73 kg) wheat dried malt extract. In a muslin bag, heat the crushed oats, chit malt, and mash hops in 4 qts. (4 L) of water to 164 °F (73 °C). Mash at around 156 °F (69 °C) for 45–60 minutes. When the mash is done, remove the grains and wash with 1 gallon (4 L) of hot water. Bring volume up to 6 gallons (23 L) and stir in the malt extract. Follow the remainder of the all-grain recipe.
Sapwood Cellars’ Sorbet clone
As a vegan brewery, we don’t add lactose to our beers, but we do a lot of hoppy beers with vanilla and citrus. Without milk sugars we usually call them “sorbet” IPAs rather than “milkshake” IPAs. In general, we take an already finished beer (dry hopped and carbonated) and make a variant. The Cheater X recipe would be a good starting place, but any moderate-bitterness fruity-hopped beer can work. Even a sour IPA like Nu Zulund can be a good base for a pastry sour. From there we have two primary approaches:
1. If we don’t want to enhance the sweetness, or we need the beer to be stable for an extended period, we add one vanilla bean per 5 gallons (19 L), split and roughly chopped. Plus the zest of 1–2 citrus fruits. Pick a variety that will complement the hop flavor. I’m especially fond of orange, grapefruit, and Meyer lemon. My favorite way to zest citrus is to use a vegetable peeler to take off large strips, and then a knife to scrape-off and discard any of the white pith. We’ll infuse it in the cold beer for 2–3 days until the desired intensity is reached. Maltodextrin or lactose could be added after to increase the sweetness to taste.
2. If we want sweetness and are planning to serve the beer quickly, we’ll add juice in place of the zest. Obviously “to taste” is the best advice, but around 10% juice for the total volume is where we are happiest. The quality of the juice is important — get cold pressed, or even better, squeeze your own. Ideally pulp-free juice, unless you want to give the keg a shake to redistribute before each pour. You can infuse the beer with the vanilla to taste first, and then add the juice by placing it in the keg before transferring the beer in.
3. A final option is to add a non-dairy “milk” for richness and body. We’ve experimented with oat, cashew, and soy. Ideally choose a product that is well stabilized. If you want to get really weird, infuse the milk with a box of the breakfast cereal of your choice. We blended Cheater X with Trix-infused oat milk to celebrate Sapwood Cellars’ first anniversary because GalaxyTM hops already add some similar fruity aromatics. You can watch the process at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=_v9Wn1IqiCc