Tap This: Self-brewing hazy IPAs brings hard-to-find beers into the home
Last week, we discussed the craze of the sessionable hazy IPA. These beers are certainly a growing popular segment in the craft beer industry. The trouble is that sometimes with all the hype and demand they can be difficult to find. One sure fix for this is to brew your own.
Brewing your own beer can sound like a daunting prospect to those unfamiliar with the process. However, if you can read a recipe and make soup or stew, you already have the necessary skills to brew your own beer.
The first main distinction with brewing your own beer comes from the malts. If you are new to the brewing process, you should begin by extract brewing. This uses an LME, liquid malt extract, and/or DME, dried malt extract. These malts are a concentrated version of standard malts and are far easier to use then brewing in an all-grain manner. They are widely available, and once a recipe is put together, you will find what version is needed.
The other, more advanced, version is called all-grain brewing. This is a more sophisticated version and is in the manner in which all commercial beer is brewed. All-grain brewing uses whole malts that are milled to extract sugars. This process requires a few more steps than extract brewing but will yield much better results.
The main difference between extract brewing and all-grain brewing is in the flavor. Many beer lovers will instantly be able to taste the difference between the two as extract beer tends to have a residual sweetness and lingering aftertaste that all grain beers do not possess. However, when brewed in a manner following the recipe and hitting all the numbers, the results can be very difficult to tell apart.
So how do you brew a hazy IPA?
This is where the recipe and also how much haze you would like in your beer will come into play. Some hazy IPAs can take on a resemblance to orange juice in clarity while others have a slightly more clear hue with a slight hazy quality. For this discussion, we will stay more toward, the clearer side of the visual spectrum.
One of the best ways to add haze to your beer without a strong impact on flavor is through oats. Yes, the popular ingredient in oatmeal is widely used in brewing beer. The oatmeal will cloud the water and act as a great base for creating a hazy beer. This will also have a minimal impact on the flavor profile of the beer. The amount used will be dependent on the recipe, but a heavy dose will be required.
There are two other ingredients used that will have a direct impact on clarity: yeast and hops. The malts will vary based on desired flavor profile and overall style and will be the base to which the yeast and hops adhere. The yeast should be one that imparts a juicy flavor but not be as impactful as a Belgian yeast strain. Great choices are Wyeast London Ale III, Omega Yeast DIPA Ale, and The Yeast Bay Vermont Ale.
The most important and impactful ingredient in any IPA is the hops. The selection of hops will determine every flavor showcased in the beer, so this is critical. The juicy aromas and flavors of the NEIPA require hops that impart these flavors directly. Popular hop choices are: mosaic, galaxy, citra, and amarillo, and these can be used together in some combination. The important aspect with hops in an NEIPA is the dry-hopping component. Heavy dry-hopping is standard for the style and imparts a strong amount of haze into the beer.
While discussing recipe formulation and examining the beer is great, if you have never brewed one before, the best choice is to find a ready-made kit yourself and use that as a jumping off point. Thankfully, companies like Northern Brewer exist and they have a phenomenal NEIPA kit ready to go.
Northern Brewer’s Beerie Smalls is a delicious and low ABV hazy IPA kit. It is available in both extract and all grain so regardless of your brewing ability you can brew this delicious beer. Ripe stone and passion fruit flavors explode from the beer and the low 5% ABV are perfect for a night of session drinking. What is even better is the ease of brewing this beer and getting a homebrewer accustomed to process of brewing a NEIPA.
The hazy IPA style is here to stay and brewing your own gives you a greater understanding of the process that brewers undergo to create these delicious beers. The best part about brewing your own though is the ability to skip waiting in line for hours to get your hands on some. Grab a kit today and have some ready for the fall season to enjoy around the firepit.
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.