After being blown away by various examples of New England IPAs aka the newest trend in craft and homebrewed IPAs I decided to finally make my first attempt at brewing one. To quote a recent blog post, “Now, you may ask…What’s different about these New England IPAs and pale ales? Simply put, they’ve moved away from the west coast classic profile of a bitter citrusy hop character coupled with a light/dry mouthfeel and opted for a juicy tropical hop aroma and flavor coupled with a smooth, sometimes creamy mouthfeel with little to no lingering bitterness.” Because it at times has taken homebrewers a number of attempts to brew an accurate or “spot on” clone of their favorite New England IPA; I’ve chosen to document my first attempt in the above “Grain to Glass” video and share additional details in this blog post. I hope you enjoy watching the video and reading this post as much I enjoyed brewing the beer itself. Cheers!
Tasting Notes: As noted in the video I took the keg hop bag out of the keg shortly after filming the included tasting clip/s and then gave the beer a couple days to condition before drinking more of it. Note: I scored this beer as a “New England style IPA”.
Appearance: Spot on for a New England style IPA. Pale straw in color coupled with a cloudiness that makes it pretty much opaque. An off white head formed when I poured the beer, but it quickly dissipated. Some lacing was left behind. (2/3)
Aroma: Primarily a mix of dankness from the Columbus and Simcoe hops mixed with grapefruit peal and rind. Some floral notes and hints of white grapefruit juice surfaced as the beer warmed. Overall, lacking the overt juiciness of New England style IPAs. No off-flavors. (7/10)
Taste: Follows the nose quite well with more grapefruit along with orange and peach notes at mid palate and in the finish. The dankness / resiny quality from the aroma is there, but it doesn’t overwhelm the citrus or add too much bitterness to the beer. When I focused on it I was able to pick up on the grapefruit juice notes that I picked up in the aroma, but the beer was never as juicy or fruit forward as the New England style IPAs that I’ve tried. Some malt flavor was present in the finish, but didn’t contribute to much sweetness. No off-flavors (15/20)
Mouthfeel: Definitely creamy as per it’s IPA sub-style. Some bitterness did linger, but it faded nicely and didn’t dry out my palate like a more resinous West Coast IPA would. Some hop astringency surfaced as the beer warmed and while some of the New England IPAs that I’ve tried have had astringency I’d prefer it to not be present at all. (4/5)
Overall: As noted above the main component that I found missing in this beer was the overt juiciness and fruitiness that I’ve come to love when drinking New England style IPAs. In order to achieve this in future iterations of this recipe I will probably make sure to acquire and ferment the wort with Wyeast 1318 London Ale III, sub out the Simcoe hops for either more of a variety that’s currently in the recipe or a different variety, and change my Sulfide to Chloride Ratio from 2:1 to 1:1. For my first attempt I’m satisfied overall with the results. (7/10)-probably closer to an 8/10, but I set my expectations pretty high for this recipe.
All hops used in this beer were provided by Yakima Valley Hops for review and homebrew education.