Brewing the perfect New England IPA

For a while now, I have been obsessed with brewing the perfect New England IPA (NEIPA). If you’ve ever cracked open a can of this style of beer, you are immediately hit with the smell of fruity hop goodness which is then followed by a hazy appearance once it hits your glass. To add to this, the smooth, pillowy mouthfeel of this style is a beautiful thing to behold.

Originating from, you guessed it, New England - this style of beer is heavily dry hopped to the point of being hazy. It also has a fuller body, a smoother flavor, and is definitely less bitter than other members of the IPA family. For more detail on this style, I thoroughly recommend reading the following article. Some of my favourite examples of this style that I’ve tried are Brewdog vs Cloudwater NEIPA and Modern Times’ Clear and Present Dankness.

Cloudwater Brewdog New England India Pale Ale

I’ve only been home brewing beer for about a year now and feel like I’ve come a long way since I first started. I’ve attempted to nail this style of beer a few times and have come up short. My previous versions have been close, but just not close enough. That is until now - in this article, I am going to share my version of a NEIPA that I think is worthy of showing off.

The Recipe (BIAB)

The recipe below is for the all-grain Brew in a Bag method, but it can be scaled to suit your needs depending on your setup.

Batch Size: 5 gal
ABV: 5.2%
Boil Time: 60 mins

Malt Bill

Name Amount
Golden Promise 3.5 Kg
Torrified Wheat 1500 g
Rolled Oats 1500 g

Hops

Name Amount Time Use Form
CO2 Hop Extract 4.5 ml 60 mins Boil Hop Extract
Citra 20 g 45 mins Boil Pellets
Eukanot 20 g 45 mins Boil Pellets
Azacca 20 g 45 mins Boil Pellets

Dry Hop

Name Amount Time Use Form
Citra 20 g 7 days before Dry Hop Pellets
Eukanot 20 g 5 days before Dry Hop Pellets
Azacca 20 g 3 days before Dry Hop Pellets

Yeast

Name Lab Temperature
Juice A38 Imperial Yeast 22 Celsius

Looking at the recipe above, you may also notice the introduction of rolled oats. Personally, I have found that this is key to achieving the best haze possible in my NEIPAs. I’ve previously experimented with just Torrified Wheat and Wheat malt, but on their own I just wasn’t getting that misty haze that I was looking for. In the UK, we have these Scottish rolled oats that I have found to be very successful.

Sainsburys Scottish rolled porridge oats

Let’s get started brewing. I started out measuring up the water for the brew and getting it up to strike temperature. While this was on the go, I measured out the grains and added it to my brew bag.

Homebrew brew kettle

I also really wanted this beer to have a clean bitterness to it. Lately I’ve been experimenting with CO2 hop extract to achieve bitterness in my beers and have been surprised with the results. If you’ve not heard of CO2 extract before, it is produced from soft hop pellets by supercritical CO2 extraction.

CO2 Hop Extract - Homebrew

CO2 hop extract is the pure resin extract of hops containing alpha acids, beta acids and hop oils. What does this mean for the average homebrewer? Well, CO2 extract gives you a cleaner bitterness and hop aroma as well as enhanced foam stability, not to mention the fact that it reduces the amount of vegetative matter in your kettle.

In fact, I’ve used CO2 hop extract for everything from Saisons to Pale Ales - you just need to adjust to achieve varying levels of bitterness. I bought mine from Malt Miller here in the UK, but it is available from many other online retailers throughout the world. I used about 4.5 ml to give me around 35 IBUs for this brew.

Next up was the hop additions. Once my boil had been going for around 45 mins, I added all of my hop pellets. In order to get the maximum fruity hopness in this beer I went for three rather fruity hops - Citra, Azacca and Eukanot.

After the boil time was complete, I cooled the wort to around 24 degrees and pitched the yeast. This was the first time using any yeast from Imperial Yeast Labs, but overall I was impressed with it. I went with Imperial Yeast 038 Juice strain which is aimed at East Coast IPAs (perfect for our NEIPA).

Imperial Yeast Juice - Homebrew

The idea behind this strain is that it brings out the aromas and flavors of the new school hops and creates a beer that is greater than the sum of its parts according to the Imperial Yeast website.I opted not to make a yeast starter and simply pitched the entire contents of the pack directly into my fermenter.

The waiting game

With the airlock bubbling away, I patiently waited for my brew to be ready. During fermentation, I was keen to get the maximum fruity, hoppiness into this brew. I dry hopped three times before bottling which involved adding 1 oz Citra 7 days before bottling, 1 oz Eukanot 5 days before bottling and finally 1oz Azacca 3 days before bottling.

The final product

I couldn’t be happier with the finished beer. The aroma out of the glass hits you with the fresh, fruity smell of tropical fruits and melons. In terms of flavour, the beer comes across with more tropical fruit, citrus and the crisp bite of bitterness. I was also pleasantly happy with the smooth mouthfeel that the oats contributed to this beer.

Finished New England India Pale Ale IPA

You might notice the aptly named title of this beer Hoppy McHoperstin. I’d like to think that if this beer was a person, it would be named Mr McHoperstin on account of its fruity, hoppiness!

In terms of improvements, if there was anything that I could change, I would have held back ever so slightly on the CO2 extract to reduce the bitterness. Overall this is a great beer that I plan to brew more of.