Best of Both Worlds: How To Brew a Refreshing White IPA

American Wheat Beer

The White IPA is a specialty IPA that, like all specialty styles, is very unique. It is a collaboration between a Belgian Witbier and an American IPA. The result is a fruity, refreshing beer with a mix of Belgian spices and citrusy hops. The guidelines are listed below.

  • Original Gravity: 1.056 – 1.065
  • Final Gravity: 1.010 – 1.016
  • Alcohol by Volume: 5.5% – 7.0%
  • Bitterness: 40-70 IBU
  • Color (SRM): 5-6

White IPA Ingredients

Malt

The grain bill for the white IPA is very simple with a 50-50 mix of Belgian pilsner malt and unmalted wheat. If you cannot find Belgian pilsner malt, any continental pilsner malt will do. Keep in mind that the unmalted wheat will require a protein rest between 127 and 130 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes to get a complete conversion. If you are not able to do a step mash, or simply do not want to, you can instead use flaked or torrified wheat. These two options are pre-gelatinized, so you can get a sufficient conversion with a single infusion mash of 152 degrees.

If you would like to slightly enhance the malty, bready character, feel free to add a small (<5%) of Munich malt or Melanoidin malt. This will be just enough to compliment the pilsner and unmalted wheat, but not enough to be overpowering.

Hops

The hops are what really set this style apart from a Belgian Witbier. There is a high bitterness, so for bittering hops, add between 20 and 25 IBUs of any high alpha acid hop at 60 minutes. This includes hops such as Columbus, Warrior, Magnum, and Chinook.

For the flavoring and aroma hops, use an American variety that adds citrusy and fruity flavors. Some of our favorites, which are described in greater depth below, are Amarillo, Cascade, Centennial, Citra, Mosaic, and Galaxy. Add around 20-25 IBUs worth of your choice of hop at 15 minutes left in the boil, and 1 ounce per 5 gallons at flameout of the same hop.

Flavoring and Aroma Hops

  • Amarillo – has an alpha acid percentage between 8 and 9 percent, and adds citrusy and flowery flavors.
  • Cascade – has an alpha acid percentage between 4 and 7 percent, and adds a flowery, spicy, citrusy, grapefruity character.
  • Centennial – has an alpha acid percentage between 8 and 11.5 percent, and adds a citrusy and floral character.
  • Citra – has an alpha acid percentage between 10 and 15 percent, and adds a citrusy and grapefruit character.
  • Mosaic – has an alpha acid percentage between 11.5 and 13.5 percent, and adds a berry, fruity, and earthy character.
  • Galaxy – has an alpha acid percentage between 11 and 16 percent, and adds a citrusy, peachy, passion fruit character.

Yeast

For this style of beer, you want to use a Belgian Witbier strain. This will give you the phenols you want and expect.

  • Belgian Wit Ale Yeast – White Labs WLP400
    • This strain is exactly what you expect from a Belgian strain, with high phenol production and high attenuation.
  • Belgian Witbier – Wyeast 3944
    • This strain also has high phenol production with mild esters. You will need sufficient headspace in your fermenter with this strain, as it is a true top-cropping strain.

Water

Last but not least, the water. I use a reverse osmosis filtration system for all beers I brew and build up my water profile from scratch. For the white IPA, I recommend going slightly higher with the sulfate. It will add a sharper, dryer, and fuller edge to highly hopped beers. My water profile looked like this:

  • Calcium: 50 ppm
  • Sodium: 5 ppm
  • Sulfate: 105 ppm
  • Chloride: 45 ppm

Recipe

The following is a 5-gallon version of a white IPA. The numbers for this beer are listed below.

  • Original Gravity: 1.064
  • Final Gravity: 1.010 – 1.016
  • Alcohol by Volume: 6.4%
  • Bitterness: 45.5 IBU
  • Color (SRM): 5.1

Grain Bill

  • Pilsner Malt – 6 lbs (48.0%)
  • Unmalted Wheat – 6 lb (48.0%)
  • Munich – 8 ounces (4.0%)

Hops

Bittering

  • 0.5 oz of Columbus at 60 minutes (24.1 IBUs)

Flavor/Aroma

  • 1.50 oz of Amarillo at 15 minutes (21.3 IBUs)
  • 1.00 oz of Amarillo at flameout

Yeast

Belgian Wit Ale Yeast – White Labs WLP400

Mash

Add your salts and pH adjustment, if needed, and fill your mash tun to the required volume and temperature for your mash to drop to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. For me, the strike water was 3.9 gallons at 141 degrees Fahrenheit. Hold it here for 20 minutes and then raise it to 152 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 minutes. After 60 minutes, raise your mash temperature to 168 degrees for mash out. After mash out, begin to sparge until you reach a pre-boil gravity of around 1.056. For me, it was 4.37 gallons.

If you are using flaked or torrified wheat, you can skip the rest at 130 degrees and perform a single infusion mash at 152 degrees for 60 minutes.

Boil

Boil the wort for 90 minutes. Add the hops in at the given times. At 10 minutes, I added yeast nutrient and at 5 minutes I added whirlfloc tablets as my clarifying agent. Once the boil is complete, whirlpool the wort for 10 minutes and then let it wind down for 10 minutes.

Fermentation

Knock the wort out in your heat exchanger so that the pitching temperature is 64 degrees and then measure the gravity and pitch the yeast. Initial gravity should be around 1.064. 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. Let the temperature free-rise up to 72 degrees to finish off fermentation. Once fermentation is complete, 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 and enjoy!

If you decide to try this recipe, or another white 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!

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