Brewing Hazy IPA: Enter Fourth Dimension

Hazy IPA defies what I used to say about brewing: there is nothing truly new under the sun. There are only so many ways to combine beer ingredients. No matter how crazy your idea is, some inventive brewer somewhere is sure to have tried it at some point in the last 500 plus years.

Nowadays I’m not so sure, thanks to Hazy IPA. The list of what is considered a beer ingredient has exploded, brewers are playing with the when they add those ingredients, and what two or more ingredients you add to any one beer. Sometimes an idea that you fear could end up being a train wreck is exactly that. Sometimes, however, a new approach results in an amazing beer. I put Hazy IPA into that category. Whether or not adding dry hops part way through fermentation is truly novel or not, it is different enough and controversial enough that the Brewer’s Association only this year added it to their style guidelines—years after the style became popular. Putting the controversy aside, I’m happy to be brewing now, when the Hazy IPA boom is giving us a fresh new way to experience hop flavor.

Hazy IPA Embraces Experimentation

Those of you who read my last blog post may find that surprising. I talked about how important tradition is to Silver Branch. I stand by that, and will continue to adhere to tradition when I’m brewing our Czech-style Pilsener and beers with a similar pedigree. Those beers for me are all about doing my best to capture the beauty and elegance refined by generations of brewers. Beers like Hazy IPA, on the other hand, allow us to pursue another core approach for Silver Branch brewing—the excitement of trying something new and experimenting with varied flavors and approaches. The American brewing tradition is one of the four traditions that we at Silver Branch rely on for our inspiration. If there is one defining element of American craft brewing over the past 20 years, it is a willingness to experiment and push boundaries in pursuit of novel flavors and unexpected combinations.

Sample Our Latest Hazy IPA This Friday!

We’ll be pouring our latest Hazy IPA at The Fillmore in Silver Spring during their event “Outsider’s Pizza Presents: Local Brews Local Grooves”. This is a great chance to meet me and my partner Brett Robison and talk about Silver Branch beer and give us your feedback. We’ll be serving the following beers: Endless Timespace Continuum (the Hazy IPA from this article), Quantum Shift, Chronicle and White. In addition to selling t-shirts and sampling beer we’ll also be offering up the ability to join our Founder’s Club as well.

Homebrew Roots

Having come out of the home brewing tradition, the idea of experimenting comes naturally to me. When I was working for Gordon Biersch, an industry colleague once remarked that he could tell who had been a homebrewer versus coming into the industry through professional training by the way they approached recipe formulation. I took it as a compliment. I’ve always enjoyed experimentation as much as faithfully reproducing the classic styles I love. One of my favorite events I did while at Gordon Biersch was one I called PorterPalooza. I made eight different versions of Robust Porter by putting different ingredients into 5-gallon kegs. We had vanilla porter, coconut porter, oak spiral infused porter, chipotle pepper porter, and so on. Not every one of those beers was quite ready for “prime time”, but everybody loved the opportunity to try how that beer changed with the addition of different ingredients.

Let The Experiments Begin

Hazy IPA is one style I didn’t brew when I was at Gordon Biersch. I’ve only started experimenting with that style in the last six months as I’ve been home brewing to test recipes for Silver Branch. Since being introduced to Hazy IPA by Kurt Krol and the rest of the Manor Hill team when we made Convergent Worlds Vol. 1 together, I’ve made two test batches for Silver Branch. The opportunity to play with different flavors in this style seems endless, and it is one I know I’m going to enjoy.

The Recipe & Procedure

Mashed at 154° for 45 minutes with 2 grams of gypsum and 5 grams of calcium chloride. Sparged to gather 18 gallons. 60 minute boil. Whirlpool was 40 minutes for this beer. First hop addition was at flame-out. Second hop addition was 10 minutes later, third addition 10 minutes after that, and the final addition 10 minutes after that.

Grain Bill

  • 53% Weyermann Floor Malted Bohemian Pilsner Malt
  • 26% Flaked Oats
  • 21% Flaked Wheat
  • 8oz Rice Hulls
  • Kettle Hops

  • 85 g. Eukanot @ 14.0% AA (0 minutes, flame-out)
  • 80 g. Azacca @ 12.1% AA (-10 minutes, whirlpool)
  • 115 g. Strata @ 10.9% AA (-20 minutes)
  • 115 g. Azacca @ 12.1% AA (-30 minutes)
  • Yeast & Fermentation

    I experimented with using dry yeast for this batch. All three carboys were fermented with one and a third packets of Safale 04. Two carboys fit into my fermentation fridge and were fermented at 17° Celsius, while the third served as an experiment on the flavor impact of warmer fermentation on this beer. It was wrapped in a couple layers of blankets with cold packs that I changed out periodically. Side note: trying this in Washington DC summer heat is a losing battle.

    First Dry Hop

    The first dry hop was done as the beer was coming out of high krausen and was during the third day of fermentation. 100g. of Strata was added to each fermenter. Fridge temperature was raised to 19°. After 3 days, fermentation was ceased and the beer was chilled to 15 degrees and transferred to corny kegs outfitted with screens.

    Dry Hops

  • 100 g. Strata @ 10.9 % AA
  • Second Dry Hop

    Each corny keg was hopped differently. One keg had 30 grams of Simcoe cryohop (27% alpha), one had 30 grams of Loral Cryohops at 23% alpha, and the third had 100 grams of Azacca at 12.1% alpha. I normally only dry hop for 3 days, but parental duties demanded I chauffeur kids to a distant baseball tournament, and the beer stayed on the hops for 7 days. The temperature was dropped to 3 to 4° Celsius after 4 days, however.

    Dry Hops

  • 30 g. Loral @ 23 % AA
  • 30 g. Simcoe @ 27% AA
  • 100 g. Azacca @ 12% AA
  • Results

    We plan to post the tasting results next week! After transferring the beer out of the dry hopping kegs, I had to immediately take them to our storage facility, aka our friend’s walk-in cooler, so I could immediately start fermenting our next test batch of Chronicle stout. We will get together for a Quality Assurance session shortly and post the results. Make sure you check back soon.