One of the most rewarding accomplishments for homebrewers is sharing a delicious brew based on your own recipe. One way to start developing recipe building skills is to modify existing recipes. For the AHA Virtual Big Brew this year, the recommended recipe was the Pangea Proxima Polar IPA - An American IPA that features some unique hops and yeast. Having just brewed an American IPA, but still wanting to participate, I pondered what would it take to convert this recipe to the type of NEIPA my friends are always pining over?
To start, we need to distinguish the styles. We all know what makes a New England IPA unique: less bitterness, a cloud of haziness, and a very prominent fruit/citrus-forward hop flavor. Let’s explore what recipe changes are required to accomplish that.
As is often common with IPAs, the original grain bill is very simple: Maris Otter and Pilsner as base malts and some CaraFoam for head retention and body. The base malts are where you primarily dial-in the strength of your beer, so adjust quantities for the strength you prefer. The official BJCP style range is broad (6-9%).
Typically, for an NEIPA, we'll add some flaked oats, barley, or wheat for silky mouthfeel and some lactose for sweetness. Be aware that lactose is an allergen for some and is one of the few animal products that is used in brewing. A higher mash temp can also produce unfermentable sugars if lactose is a concern for your targeted “homebrew tasters”. Flaked grains can contribute to a susceptibility to oxidation, so don’t go overboard!
In our new recipe, there is a small amount of acidulated malt to help achieve the desired mash pH. Adjust quantities as necessary for your source water. Phosphoric or lactic acid will also help adjust pH. To avoid a stuck oatmeal-like mash, a small amount of rice hulls is recommended. If you are BIAB'ing, rice hulls are completely unnecessary.
IPAs, New England or otherwise, are all about the hops, so at least we’re starting in the right ballpark! The Big Brew recipe called for a bittering hop at 60 minutes, some favoring hops at 15 minutes, and an ample dose of whirlpool hops to round out the flavor and aroma. Hop additions prior to the whirlpool are going to also contribute to the required bitterness for an American IPA. For an NEIPA, everything gets shifted much later in the process. In fact, sometimes it makes sense to simply scratch all the boil hops! Whirlpool is the first time we'll be adding hops in our updated recipe so we can extract those fruity flavors without so much of the accompanying bitterness.
With zero bittering hop additions, we’ll shorten the boil to 30 minutes which is still plenty of time to drive off any DMS that can be somewhat troublesome when using Pilsner malts. Next, whirlpool for 20 minutes at 180 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don't have a whirlpool arm, just give the wort an occasional swirl with a sanitized paddle.
We’ll dry hop during primary fermentation to further coax those hop flavors into our beer. Consider using “cryo” hops to reduce the physical mass of hop matter in your fermentor and limit the loss to final beer volume. I time the dry hop addition based on my expected length of fermentation. If I expect a 10 day fermentation, and I want a 7 day dry hop, I'll add on day 3. My goal is to add the hops while fermentation can still push the introduced oxygen out of the fermentor with CO2.
For an NEIPA we’ll want yeast that will result in beautifully hazy beer, sometimes nearly opaque. Look for strains with descriptors that reference the geography of the northeast, a respected commercial version, or a “juicy, hop accentuating” character. We’ll want to skip the secondary fermentation to minimize oxygen exposure that can occur during racking. I typically skip cold crashing when I’m planning on bottle or can conditioning to make sure there’s plenty of suspended yeast to ferment to a nice carbonated pour. You can add priming sugar to your keg as well. The yeast will also scavenge some of the oxygen introduced during packaging.
Water Profile (Optional)
The hop schedule above will certainly limit the IBUs in the beer, but the sheer quantity of hops can still create plenty of bitterness. Water profiles can also greatly impact “perceived bitterness” even in the absence of IBUs. Shoot for a Chloride to Sulfate ratio of 2:1. Be aware of your targeted mash pH; usually these types of low Lovibond grain bill will need a little help to get the pH in the 5.2-5.4 range.
Title: Pangaea Proxima Polar NEIPA Adaptation
Author: AHA / Lehigh Valley Homebrewers
Brew Method: All Grain
Style Name: Specialty IPA: New England IPA
Boil Time: 30 min
Batch Size: 11 gallons (ending kettle volume)
Boil Size: 12.5 gallons
Boil Gravity: 1.065
Efficiency: 65% (ending kettle)
Original Gravity: 1.078
Final Gravity: 1.021
ABV (standard): 7.41%
IBU (tinseth): 9.37
SRM (morey): 7.09
Mash pH: 5.32
22 lb - Maris Otter Pale (62.4%)
7 lb - German - Floor-Malted Bohemian Pilsner (19.9%)
2 lb - American - Carapils (Dextrine Malt) (5.7%)
2 lb - Flaked Oats (5.7%)
0.75 lb - German - German - Acidulated Malt (2.1%)
0.5 lb - Rice Hulls (1.4%)
1 lb - Lactose (Milk Sugar) - (boil late addition) (2.8%)
1.5 oz Citra (12.6 AA) Use: Whirlpool for 20 min at 180F
1.5 oz Ekuanot (13.6 AA) Use: Whirlpool for 20 min at 180F
2.0 oz Cashmere (8.5 AA) Use: Dry Hop for 7 days
2 oz Citra LupuLN2 (Cryo) Use: Dry Hop for 7 days
2 oz Ekuanot LupuLN2 (Cryo) Use: Dry Hop for 7 days
Infusion, Temp: 150 F, Time: 60 min
1 tsp - Lactic acid, Time: 60 min, Type: Water Agt, Use: Mash
1 tsp - Beer Nutrient, Time: 10 min, Type: Water Agt, Use: Boil
Imperial Yeast - A38 Juice x 2
Attenuation (avg): 74%
Fermentation Temp: 68 F
TARGET WATER PROFILE:
Profile Name: Light colored and malty
Ca2: 60; Mg2: 5; Na: 10; Cl: 95; SO4: 55; HCO3: 0
Add Lactose & yeast nutrient to Boil @ 10min
Add Dry Hops on Day 4 of Primary Fermentation
I hope this helps you understand my thought process when I'm looking at updating or creating a custom recipe. I was definitely appreciative of the AHA recipe that included so many ingredient substitutions; as homebrewers we need to be creative with what's available!
One of the best pieces of advice I received about learning to create my own recipes was to learn exactly what each ingredient was contributing to the final product. It's important to always seek balance in your recipes; even though NEIPAs are very hoppy, It is still possible to over do it. A homebrew recipe can be a symphony (or cacophony) of ingredients, so select each ingredient with care and purpose!