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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Altar of Light Summer Ale

Altar of LightI wanted to brew something light and refreshing for the long hot summer we’ve been experiencing here in Seattle, and I wanted to brew it on the longest day of the year: summer solstice.  Attempting to make something similar to Boulevard Brewing’s Ginger Lemon Radler without actually blending a beer with soda, I decided to add lemon flesh, lemon zest, coriander, and fresh ginger to an otherwise basic American wheat ale recipe I wrote.  I was originally going to sour it with wild bacteria that I’ve been culturing, but decided I would make a clean version first and sour a second batch if I liked the resulting beer.

Conflicts in scheduling presented themselves so I ended up missing the solstice by a day and brewed it on 22 June 2015.  The beer turned out well but I have some tweaks in mind for a future version, namely, less lemon zest, more ginger, and perhaps the addition of fresh lemon juice in secondary.

Altar of Light Summer Ale

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 11.10
Anticipated OG: 1.056
Anticipated SRM: 5.0
Anticipated IBU: 26.0
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Grain

36% — 4.00 Lbs. US 2-Row
34% — 3.80 Lbs. Wheat Malt
09% — 1.00 Lbs. Carapils
09% — 1.00 Lbs. Honey Malt
07% — 0.80 Lbs. White Wheat
4.5% — 0.50 Lbs. Flaked Wheat

Hops

1.00 oz. Mount Hood (Pellet, 6.5% AA) @ 45 min.
1.00 oz. Cascade (Pellet, 7.0% AA) @ 10 min.
1.00 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 9.3% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Azacca (Pellet, 15.0% AA) @ 5 days (dry hop).

Extras

1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.
0.50 each Lemon Flesh @ 5 min.
1.00 tbs Coriander Seed @ 5 min.
0.85 oz. Lemon Zest @ 5 min.
1.35 oz. Lemon Zest @ 5 days (secondary).
2.00 oz. Fresh Ginger Tea @ 5 days (secondary).
1.00 oz. Fresh Ginger Root @ 5 days (secondary).

Yeast

Wyeast 1010 – American Wheat

Water Profile

Seattle
1.00 g Calcium Chloride
1.50 g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion – 90 min @ 153F

Notes

06.20.15 — Made a 1L starter with 1 Wyeast 1010 packet.  Brewtoad suggests 215 billion cells to ferment 5.5 gal.  Cold crashed and decanted morning of brew day.

Brewed on 06.22.15

06.22.15 — Chilled wort to 65F and pitched the American Wheat yeast

06.24.15 — Signs of vigorous fermentation activity

07.02.15 — Transferred into secondary after 10 day primary fermentation, added 2.00 oz. fresh ginger as a tea and 1.00 oz. chopped fresh ginger root

07.07.15 — Kegged most of batch and began carbonating; bottled 1 gallon with 1.20 oz. corn sugar for 3.5 volumes of CO2

Tasting Notes — 09. 06.15 (poured off tap)

I didn’t use any Whirfloc with this beer to maintain the classic cloudiness that wheat beer is renowned for.  Generous white fluffy head.  The lemon zest dominates the nose with light floral notes from the coriander melding nicely with the tropical and citrus, mango-like Azacca aromatics.  Subtle hints of ginger spice are present as well.  Palate follows the nose but I don’t get much ginger out of the beer.  Body is crisp and dry but not overly thin.  Lemon and wheat acidity linger on a long dry finish that has a wonderfully balanced bitterness.  If I let this beer sit on my tongue and warm in my mouth I get more of the lush lemon juice quality I want this beer to present (hence my idea to add some lemon juice in secondary in an attempt to capture that sensation).  Good summer beer.

Calculated OG: 1.047
Calculated FG: 1.004
Approx. ABV: 5.6%