Juice it Up, Bro! + Going Pro

We like to keep up with trends and fads in the beer world — it helps to keep recipe development skills sharp, it can present a challenge, and it’s down-right fun (especially when you enjoy the styles that come into vogue).  At this moment, so called New England, or juice/smoothie style ales (usually IPAs) are all the rage here in Seattle.

As I understand it, this style is actually a confluence of two different but similar brewing processes that emerged sometime in the last decade but have only recently infiltrated the zeitgeist.  Most beer enthusiasts attribute the style to Vermont’s The Alchemist Brewery and their flagship IPA Heady Topper (hence the “New England” moniker); however, Stockholm’s Omnipollo has been producing juice/smoothie IPAs for quite a while as well.  Regardless of who the progenitor of the style may be, a few key factors have coalesced to help us brewers and imbibers determine what makes a “juice-style” ale.

First and foremost is the water profile.  To aid in achieving a softer mouthfeel, most research recommends a higher ratio of calcium chloride to calcium sulfate (gypsum) in the treatment of your liquor.  Some brewers will also dough in at a higher temperature to accentuate the roundness of body and mouthfeel.  Next is the addition of more flaked grains in the malt bill — this adds body, head retention, and haze to the finished beer.  To get the desired smooth, bright and juicy flavors associated with oranges, pineapple, grapefruit, and mango, it is important to keep early bittering hop additions very low, or to skip them altogether in the hops schedule.  Many brewers choose to first-wort hop and then add the bulk of their additions from five minutes to flame-out, while aggressively dry-hoping the beer in primary and secondary with hops like El Dorado, Citra, Mosaic, Amarillo, Nelson Sauvin, Galaxy, etc.

Omnipollo regularly adds lactose or oat milk to their juice/smoothie IPAs, while The Alchemist reportedly doesn’t bump their flaked oat content, relying on the massive quantities of late addition hops and abstaining from filtering to achieve the haze in their New England IPAs.

Gregory and I decided to brew a hoppy and sessionable “juice style” pale ale for the PNW summer we’ve been enjoying.  We did slightly bump our usual approximate 1:1 chloride to sulfate ratio, but following Scott Janish’s excellent article Mouthfeel Softness | New England IPAs, we bucked traditional wisdom and decided to slightly accentuate the sulfate content for an approximate 1:1.7 ratio.

Our recipe, process, and tasting notes can be found after this brief and exciting announcement:

Gregory and I, along with partner Chris Richardson are turning our love and passion for beer and brewing into a full-time business venture by opening Best of Hands Barrelhouse in the West Seattle neighborhood!  We will begin operations on a 7BBL direct-fire system and we aim to open our doors winter of this year or early 2018.  We are currently demolishing and making repairs at the space, and awaiting our construction permits.  You can read about the iconic building we’re leasing here, and please follow us on our Facebook page for updates on our progress!

Juice it Up, Bro!

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 15
Total Grain (Lbs): 28.00
Anticipated OG: 1.049
Anticipated SRM: 4.0
Anticipated IBU: 35
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes


42.86% — 12.00 Lbs. US 2-Row
28.57% — 8.00 Lbs. Red Wheat
14.29% — 4.00 Lbs. Flaked Oats
07.14% — 2.00 Lbs. Flaked Wheat
03.57% — 1.00 Lbs. Honey Malt
03.57% — 1.00 Lbs. Rice Hulls (@10 min.)


1.00 oz. El Dorado (Pellet, 16.0% AA) @ 60 min. (First Wort)
0.50 oz. Citra (Pellet, 13.8% AA) @ 60 min. (First Wort)
0.50 oz. Citra (Pellet, 13.8% AA) @ 60 min.
6.00 oz. Citra (Pellet, 13.8% AA) @ 0 min.
5.00 oz. Mosaic (Pellet, 12.5% AA) @ 0 min.
3.00 oz. El Dorado (Pellet, 16.0% AA) @ 0 min.
2.50 oz. Citra (Pellet, 13.8% AA) @ 4 days (Dry Hop)
2.00 oz. Mosaic (Pellet, 12.5% AA) @ 4 days (Dry Hop)
1.50 oz. El Dorado (Pellet, 16.0% AA) @ 4 days (Dry Hop)
2.50 oz. Citra (Pellet, 13.8% AA) @ 3 days (Dry Hop)
2.00 oz. Mosaic (Pellet, 12.5% AA) @ 3 days (Dry Hop)
1.50 oz. El Dorado (Pellet, 16.0% AA) @ 3 days (Dry Hop)


3.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.


Imperial Yeast A24 — Dry Hop

Water Profile

9.00g Calcium Chloride
15.00g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single infusion – 60 min @ 151F
Mash out — 10 min @ 170F


Brewed on 07.11.17 with Gregory

07.11.17 — Chilled wort to 70F & pitched the yeast into 17 gallon SS Brewtech conical

07.13.17 — Vigorous fermentation activity

07.15.17 — Added half of the dry-hop addition in primary

07.18.17 — Dumped the yeast and added the remainder of the dry-hop addition

07.21.17 — Kegged the batch and began force carbonating

Tasting Notes — 07.27.17 (on draft)

Opaque hazy orange in color with billowy white head stand which persists throughout drinking.  Intense satsuma orange and red grapefruit notes on the nose with a hint of minerality in the background.  The citrus notes dominate the round palate with some hints of pineapple-like tropical fruit juiciness.  Because we mashed at a lower temperature, the beer finishes quite dry with the impression of coarse tannic mango, and a long lingering grapefruit pith bitterness.

Calculated OG: 1.046
Calculated FG: 1.010
Approx. ABV: 4.7%


HOP SLUDGE! American India Pale Ale

HOP SLUDGE! In A GlassIn May 2015, Gregory and I entered three different IPAs into the Greater Everett Brewers League (GEBL) IPA Bracket Challenge.  We brewed an English style IPA, an American style IPA and an American style rye IPA (this last with Johnny Bus Tickets).  Sadly, none of these beers placed in the competition (although the rye IPA was bumped out of its bracket in the last heat).

When we got our score sheets back from the judges, we noticed that each stated they thought our American IPA (which is a recipe we’ve been tweaking since Gregory first brewed it for a friend’s wedding) was a great example of an XPA (extra, or hoppy, pale ale); what they wanted was more bitterness.  So we went back to the drawing board, made some adjustments, added more hops to our bittering additions, and thus HOP SLUDGE! was born.

HOP SLUDGE! 02We jokingly named the beer while we were brewing it because the massive amounts of late addition hops created a sludge of hop particulate in the kettle, and subsequently took up about a fifth of the space in our carboy.  The beer crystallized the name itself when fermentation took off so quickly and aggressively that the rubber stopper and blow-off tube were shot out of the carboy and delicious, tropical-smelling wort metamorphosing into beer was showered across the basement floor.  Luckily I caught the problem shortly after fermentation started and was able to get everything cleaned, re-sanitised and proper before any bacteria could settle in.

HOP SLUDGE! 01I’m convinced this is the finest IPA we’ve made yet, but we’re already thinking of changes that can be made and new recipes entirely.  See our recipe and tasting notes below:


Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 13.50
Anticipated OG: 1.067
Anticipated SRM: 8.0
Anticipated IBU: 67
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes


81.48% — 11.00 Lbs. Great Western Full-Pint 2Row
07.41% — 1.00 Lbs. Carapils
07.41% — 1.00 Lbs. Crystal 40L
03.07% — 0.50 Lbs. Honey Malt


0.75 oz. Chinook (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 90 min. (first wort)
0.40 oz. Chinook (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 60 min.
0.75 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 8.8% AA) @ 15 min.
0.50 oz. Citra (Pellet, 13.7% AA) @ 10 min.
1.00 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 8.8% AA) @ 5 min.
1.00 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 8.8% AA) @ 1 min.
1.00 oz. Chinook (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 1 min.
1.00 oz. Equinox (Pellet, 15.0% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 8.8% AA) @ 0 min.
2.00 oz. Citra (Pellet, 13.7% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. El Dorado (Pellet, 16.0% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Citra (Pellet, 13.7% AA) @ 6 days (dry hop)
0.50 oz. Equinox (Pellet, 15.0% AA) @ 6 days (dry hop)
0.50 oz. El Dorado (Pellet, 16.0% AA) @ 6 days (dry hop)
1.00 oz. Citra (Pellet, 13.7% AA) @ 5 days (dry hop)
0.50 oz. El Dorado (Pellet, 16.0% AA) @ 5 days (dry hop)
0.50 oz. Equinox (Pellet, 15.0% AA) @ 5 days (dry hop)


1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.
1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.


Imperial A01 House Yeast

Water Profile

1.00 g Calcium Chloride
1.50 g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion – 90 min @ 150F


Brewed on 11.05.15 with Gregory

11.05.15 — Chilled wort to 60F and pitched the ale yeast (no starter as ran out of time before brew day)

11.06.15 — Signs of vigorous fermentation activity (see description above)

11.09.15 — After four days of primary, as fermentation began to slow visibly, we added half of our dry hop addition for a 6 day dry hop

11.15.15 — Transferred to secondary after 10 day primary and added the rest of our hops for an additional 5 day dry hop

11.20.15 — Kegged and began force carbonating the beer

11.27.15 — Took the first pull from the keg after a week, still quite cloudy but tasting good

HOP SLUDGE! 03Tasting Notes — 12.14.15 (poured off tap)

Although much clearer than the first pull from the keg, it has remained a little hazy (probably due to the amount of late addition and dry hops we added without filtering afterwards).  Intense tropical fruitiness on the nose, bringing papaya and mango to mind, with notes of lush pink grapefruit, some honeyed malt sweetness, and a hint of resinous evergreen akin to fir or pine.  The palate follows the nose, but the tropical notes are more muted at first, allowing the Chinook’s earthy spiciness to shine through.  The resin and evergreen hit the sides of the tongue toward the finish and a crescendo of fruitiness briefly re-emerges right before the substantial herbal-spicy bitterness takes hold for a dry, lingering finale.

Calculated OG: 1.067
Calculated FG: 1.016
Approx. ABV: 6.7%