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

Grain

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.)

Hops

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)

Extras

3.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.

Yeast

Imperial Yeast A24 — Dry Hop

Water Profile

Seattle
9.00g Calcium Chloride
15.00g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

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

Notes

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%

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#1 Summer Jam IPA

#1 Summer Jam IPALately Gregory and I have been honing recipes for a few different “house” IPAs.  I recently wrote a New Zealand/Australian hop-heavy session IPA recipe for the spruce tips Gregory and I foraged this past spring.  We liked the resulting beer so Gregory tweaked the recipe and brewed a version of it for the wedding of a friend.  I tried that version and liked it as well, but I decided to go back to the grain bill of the original recipe for inspiration, and make a third, PNW hop-forward beer.

I wanted to create a beer of “normal” strength that showcases the intense tropical, floral, and citrus notes of the new classic American hop varietals while remaining smooth, crisp and quaffable.  I stuck to a grain bill of pale malts with a touch of flaked oats for a silky mouthfeel and appreciable body, and rye to provide head retention and subtle grainy-spicy complexity.

I’ve also been looking forward to experimenting with blending different clean yeasts to create a more complex and flavorful ester profile, so I used two different saccharomyces strains in this brew.  I wanted to use Imperial’s A24 Dry Hop yeast, but the homebrew store was out so I opted for their A20 Citrus strain.  I pitched this first and then pitched a starter of yeast slurry 33 hours into primary from the wedding IPA — which utilized Imperial’s English A09 Pub yeast strain.

The resulting beer turned out great and the methods used to create it highlight our continual striving to craft better and better beer.  Unfortunately, I bumped the keg shortly before the photo was taken, so some hop particles were stirred up (I would have waited and taken another photo, but the beer was already almost gone)!

Below is the recipe and process that we used, as well as tasting notes:

#1 Summer Jam IPA

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 13.00
Anticipated OG: 1.065
Anticipated SRM: 4.0
Anticipated IBU: 58
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 75 Minutes

Grain

46.15% — 6.00 Lbs. 2-Row
23.08% — 3.00 Lbs. Maris Otter
15.38% — 2.00 Lbs. White Wheat
07.69% — 1.00 Lbs. Golden Naked Oats
07.69% — 1.00 Lbs. Flaked Rye

Hops

0.25 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 7.0% AA) @ 75 min. (First Wort)
0.25 oz. Sorachi Ace (Pellet, 9.1% AA) @ 75 min. (First Wort)
0.25 oz. Citra (Pellet, 14.1% AA) @ 75 min. (First Wort)
0.50 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 7.0% AA) @ 60 min.
0.50 oz. Citra (Pellet, 14.1% AA) @ 15 min.
0.25 oz. HBC 438 (Pellet, 16.6% AA) @ 15 min.
0.75 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 7.0% AA) @ 05 min.
0.75 oz. Citra (Pellet, 14.1% AA) @ 05 min.
1.50 oz. Citra (Pellet, 14.1% AA) @ 0 min.
1.50 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 7.0% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Centennial (Pellet, 7.6% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. HBC 438 (Pellet, 16.6% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Centennial (Pellet, 7.6% AA) @ 5 days (Dry Hop)
1.00 oz. Citra (Pellet, 14.1% AA) @ 5 days (Dry Hop)
1.00 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 7.0% AA) @ 5 days (Dry Hop)
0.75 oz. HBC 438 (Pellet, 16.6% AA) @ 5 days (Dry Hop)
0.75 oz. Sorachi Ace (Pellet, 9.1% AA) @ 5 days (Dry Hop)

Extras

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

Yeast

Imperial A20 Citrus
Imperial A09 Pub (Slurry)

Water Profile

Seattle
2.00 g Calcium Chloride
1.50g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single infusion – 60 min @ 153F
Mash out — 20 min @ 170F

Notes

07.20.16 — Made a starter of A09 Pub yeast from slurry

Brewed on 07.20.16

07.20.16 — 20 minute hop stand after flame out with 2 minute whirlpool

07.20.16 — Chilled to 72F and pitched can of A20 Citrus

07.20.16 — Signs of light fermentation 9 hours after pitch

07.21.16 — Vigorous fermentation 18 hours after pitch

07.22.16 — Added A09 Pub yeast slurry 33 hours after initial pitch

07.23.16 — Added half of the dry hops in primary in PM

07.31.16 — Transferred into secondary with remainder of dry hops

08.04.16 — Kegged entire batch and began force carbonating @ 30 PSI for 40 hours

08.06.16 — Purged CO2 and set at serving PSI

Tasting Notes — 08.16.16 (poured off tap)

Hazy yellow-orange with a moderate white head stand which laces nicely.  Aromas of pineapple with a spicy-herbal/tropical note reminiscent of mango salsa, hints of lime and dill.  Herbal and fruity flavors dominate the palate with notes of grapefruit and orange as well as pineapple, cedar and pine.  Body is lush and juicy, but crisp and finishes with a dry and resinous spicy-floral bitterness.

Calculated OG: 1.065
Calculated FG: 1.008
Approx. ABV: 7.5%