I was in Asheville, NC for the second annual Asheville Homebrewers Conference this weekend. It was a fantastic excuse to talk and drink beer with some brilliant brewers. Stan Hieronymus was there speaking about his new book: Brewing Local. While we were talking brewing at the Wicked Weed Funkatorium, he mentioned that he rarely brews IPAs other than to trial new hop varieties because there are so many great IPAs to drink in St. Louis. For me New England-style IPAs are a good argument to keep homebrewing them because they are so delicate, even compared to West Coast variants! Mike Karnowski of Zebulon Artisan Ales (and the highly informative Homebrewing Beyond the Basics) was speaking about NEIPAs and included pictures of a dramatic darkening with only a few weeks of bottling. I bottled one from this batch off tap for a friend and he didn’t have a chance to open it for two weeks… big mistake.
There are some interesting mineral analysis of finished NEIPAs. The question is how reliable are the amounts of chloride, sulfate in the finished beer as targets for brewing water? It turns out that the grain are altering the profile considerably. For example, an observant viewer of this video noted that The Alchemist’s water starts around 10 PPM chloride and they adjust to 30 PPM, but target hardness is 750 (requiring a huge gypsum addition). However, finished Heady Topper tested at 339 PPM chloride and 468 PPM sulfate. Tree House Alter Ego finishes at 421 chloride and 336 sulfate in comparison (according to an analysis emailed to me). A good reason not to worry about a few PPM one direction or another in your brewing water.
There are three English-origin strains that ferment most examples of the style (Whitbread, Boddington’s, and Conan). There are almost certainly lots of other strains that could work well, like my friend Scott Janish’s California Lager version (delicious!). I wanted to put my standard water profile and hop-timing and apply them to a beer fermented with WLP644 Sacch Trois (which I used in a West Coast IPA back when it was still named Brett Trois).
As it is for summer drinking, I kept the alcohol low, but did everything I could to bolster body and mouthfeel by adding malted wheat, Golden Naked Oats, and Carapils, mashing towards the mid-high end of the saccharification range, and sulfate-to-chloride at 120:100 PPM. Then I loaded up with Nelson Sauvin and Mosaic for the hop-stand and two rounds of dry hopping!
For the other half of this batch I fermented with WY3068 Weihenstephan Weizen and hopped with Citra and Amarillo, sort of a Fortunate Islands variation I’ve been threatening for a few years… tasting notes for that later this week!
Smell – Distinct Nelson comes through: fruity-catty white wine. Tropical fruit (mango and pineapple) likely a synergy of yeast and hops. Juicy, bright, fresh. Not especially deep, but an enticing mixture of fruit without being one-note.
Appearance – Hazy yellow, just about perfect for this emerging style. Fantabulous head retention, floating above the rim. A bit of hop powder at the bottom of the glass (maybe the knee-high has a tear…).
Taste – The dank-fruitiness of the hops successfully tempers the tropical-fruitiness of the Sacch Trois. Moderate bitterness lingers for just long enough to clear the perceived sweetness (not nearly as sugary as the 7-8% ABV examples tend to be). Has held up pretty well, but has gotten more pineapple and less Nelson/Mosaic over the last few weeks since kegging.
Mouthfeel – The creamy head helps to bolster the body, but for a sub-5% beer it still has that pillowy-softness. Moderate carbonation.
Drinkability & Notes – Crushable. NEIPAs have a tendency to be sweet between the reduced IBUs and juicy fruit, so I tend to prefer them at or below 8% ABV. This one hits almost everything I want at 4.8%, time for another one.
Changes for Next Time – This isn’t the full-on orange-juice that slightly stronger and more of a Citra-Amarillo-Galaxy thing would bring, but I find it every bit as delicious! The Sacch Trois performed admirably in this role, I’m really interested to see what else might work!
Batch Size (Gal): 6.00
Total Grain (Lbs): 10.75
Anticipated OG: 1.048
Anticipated SRM: 4.4
Anticipated IBU: 42.0
Brewhouse Efficiency: 74 %
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes
41.9% – 4.50 lbs. Rahr Brewers Malt
41.9% – 4.50 lbs. Briess Red Wheat Malt
9.3% – 1.00 lbs. Simpsons Golden Naked Oats
4.7% – 0.50 lbs. Briess CaraPils
2.3% – 0.25 lbs. Gold Medal All Purpose Flour
0.75 oz. Columbus (Pellet, 15.00% AA) @ 60 min.
2.00 oz. Mosaic (Whole 11.50% AA) @ 20 minute Whirlpool
2.00 oz. Nelson Sauvin (Pellet, 12.00% AA) @ 20 minute Whirlpool
2.00 oz. Mosaic (Whole 11.50% AA) @ Dry Hop
2.00 oz. Nelson Sauvin (Pellet, 12.00% AA) @ Dry Hop
2.00 oz. Mosaic (Whole 11.50% AA) @ Keg Hop
2.00 oz. Nelson Sauvin (Pellet, 12.00% AA) @ Keg Hop
Profile: Washington DC, Hoppy
Sacch Rest – 30 min @ 154F
Split batch: hoppy hefeweizen with WY3068 and Citra/Amarillo, plus a Nelson/Mosaic NE-ish APA with Sacch Trois 644! The grains and hops listed are for this batch alone.
7/3/16 Minimal sparge with 50% dilution with distilled water 6 g each CaCl and gypsum, plus 2 tsp of phosphoric acid.
Chilled to 75F with ice-water recirculation. Pitched Left at 68F to cool for five hours before shaking to aerate and pitched a decanted 3L stir-plate starter.
7/6/16 Added first dose of dry hops, bagged and weighted.
7/13/16 Kegged with another dose of hops hanging in the keg. FG at 1.012 (75% AA, 4.6% ABV)
Source: The Mad Fermentationist
Juicy Sacch Trois NE Pale Ale