Since summer is officially over and cooler weather is quickly approaching, I figured we would transition from our summer beer styles to one that is perfect all year long – the New England IPA. This style of beer has exploded in popularity in recent years and its no surprise as to why. In contrast to the West Coast IPA, the New England focuses less on hop bitterness, and more on the hop flavor and aroma. When done correctly, this beer can have delicious tropical, juicy, and fruity characteristics with a soft bitterness. The BJCP guidelines are listed below.
- Original Gravity: 1.060 – 1.070
- Final Gravity: 1.008 – 1.020
- Alcohol by Volume: 6.3% – 7.5%
- Bitterness: 30-50 IBU (May differ from perceived bitterness)
- Color (SRM): 3-7
New England IPA Ingredients
The grain bill for the New England IPA is very similar to most other IPAs, with the bulk of the base malt being Pale, Pilsen, or 2 row. I would also recommend adding both flaked oats and wheat to your grain bill. The percentage can vary, but most brewers keep both between 10% – 20% of the overall grain bill. Both flaked oats and wheat add a significant amount of protein, which will help you attain that creamy mouthfeel. They will also promote the famous haze since the malt polyphenols from high-protein malts create an ideal binding point for the hop polyphenols. That’s really all you need to make a great New England, but some brewers will also add some victory malt or honey malt at 3% – 5% of the grain bill to slightly bump up the toasty, biscuity flavor.
The possibilities for hops in this style are endless, but I will give you a list of some of my favorites to choose from. I prefer focusing on hops that are primarily citrusy and tropical in flavor and aroma. I would also highly recommend taking it easy on any hop additions during the actual boil, if any, and focus more on whirlpool and dry hop additions. Usually, I brew New England IPAs without any hop additions before the whirlpool. The hops are listed below.
Flavoring and Aroma Hops
- Amarillo – has an alpha acid percent ranging between 8 and 9 percent, and adds a nice citrusy and flowery character.
- Cascade – has an alpha acid percent ranging between 4 and 7 percent, and adds a flowery, spicy, citrusy, grapefruity character.
- Centennial – has an alpha acid percent ranging between 8 and 11.5 percent, and adds a citrusy and floral character.
- Citra – has an alpha acid percent ranging between 10 and 15 percent, and adds a citrusy and grapefruit character.
- East Kent Goldings – has an alpha acid percent ranging between 4 and 6 percent, and adds a sweet, silky, honey character.
- El Dorado – has an alpha acid percent ranging between 13 and 17 percent, and adds pineapple, pear, watermelon, and stone fruit characteristics.
- Mosaic – has an alpha acid percent ranging between 11.5 and 13.5 percent, and adds a berry, fruity, and earthy character.
- Galaxy – has an alpha acid percent ranging between 11 and 16 percent, and adds a citrusy, peachy, passion fruit character.
For this style of beer, you want a yeast that has lower attenuation, low flocculation and is high in producing esters. Some of our favorite strains for this style are below
- London Ale III – 1318 (Wyeast)
- This yeast is highly recommended for IPAs in general with its delicious malt and hop profile. This strain finishes slightly sweet and works nicely with dry hop additions.
- California Ale – WLP001
- This strain produces clean flavors and accentuates hop flavors and aromas.
- East Coast Ale – WLP008
- This strain is similar to the California ale yeast but leaves some mouthfeel and residual sweetness that nicely balances hop bitterness.
We use a reverse osmosis filtration system and add any additional salts. For the New England IPA, try to get a chloride-to-sulfate ratio of at least 2:1. This will help enhance the soft mouthfeel and hop characteristics. Our water profile looked like this:
- Calcium: 50 ppm
- Sodium: 5 ppm
- Sulfates: 35 ppm
- Chloride: 70 ppm
The following is a 5-gallon version of a sample NEIPA. There are no hop additions prior to the whirlpool, so perceived bitterness will be significantly higher than calculated. The numbers for this beer are listed below.
- Original Gravity: 1.065
- Final Gravity: 1.008 – 1.014
- Alcohol by Volume: 6.4%
- Bitterness: 21.5 IBU
- Color (SRM): 3.7
- Pilsen – 8 lbs 8 oz (70.8%)
- Wheat Malt – 1 lb 8 oz (12.5%)
- Oats, Flaked – 2 lbs (16.7%)
For this style, it is important to drop the temperature of the wort to 180 degrees Fahrenheit before adding the hops and keep them in the whirlpool for the full 20 minutes. Adding the hops below 180 degrees will limit isomerization and the addition of more bitterness while preserving the hop oils.
- 1 oz of Amarillo at 180 degrees
- 1 oz of Citra at 180 degrees
- 0.5 oz of Mosaic at 180 degrees
- 0.5 oz of Galaxy at 180 degrees
This recipe will be dry-hopped two separate times. The first addition of dry hops will be 3 days after the yeast is pitched, towards the end of active fermentation. This is done to utilize the phenomenon of biotransformation. Biotransformation is believed to enhance the flavor and aroma of your dry hops from a reaction between the hop compounds and the yeast. More specifically, biotransformation occurs in beer when certain terpenoids in the hops are in the presence of yeast in active fermentation, which is then transformed into other terpenoids. The transformation we are looking for in this style is transforming the floral geraniol into citrusy citronellol. There is still much debate on whether or not biotransformation actually produces a noticeable difference, but for this recipe, we will use it. Regardless, you still want a large portion of your dry hops to be added after primary fermentation is complete.
Dry Hops (3 Days After Pitching Yeast)
- 1 oz of Citra
- 1 oz of Amarillo
- 0.75 oz of Galaxy
Dry Hops (10 Days After Pitching Yeast)
- 2 oz of Amarillo
- 2 oz of Citra
London Ale III – 1318 (Wyeast)
Have your strike water at the required volume and temperature for your system to have the mash drop to 152 degrees. For me, it is 3.75 gallons at 163.7 degrees. Mash for 60 minutes at 152 degrees and proceed to mash out. Sparge with 4.75 gallons of water. Pre-boil gravity should be around 1.055.
Boil the wort for 90 minutes. At 10 minutes, I added yeast nutrients. You can add whirlfloc tablets at 5 minutes if you want to. The haze in a New England IPA is from the chemical reaction between hops, proteins, and yeast, not from the trub and yeast, so whirlfloc will not make your beer clear. Once the boil is complete, drop the wort temperature to 180 degrees, add the hops, and then whirlpool the wort for 10 minutes and then let it wind down for 10 minutes.
Knock the wort out in your heat exchanger so that the pitching temperature is 64 degrees and then measure the gravity/pitch the yeast. Initial gravity should be around 1.065. I let this free rise to 67 degrees as fermentation starts. Hold the temperature at 67 degrees for 5-7 days until the primary fermentation is complete. Dry hop as needed. Let the temperature free-rise up to 72 degrees to really finish off fermentation. Once your dry hops have had enough contact time, cold crash to 33 degrees for at least a day and then transfer to the brite tank to carbonate it to 2.6 vols. After 3 days in the brite tank, keg it. These types of beers are best fresh, so enjoy it while the hops flavors are in their prime!
If you decide to try this recipe, or another New England IPA recipe, feel free to send us a comment and let us know how it went! And if you want to see more recipes like this, sign up for our newsletter below to be notified when a new post is released. Cheers!