Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Wednesday, March 2, 2016
|One side is Tired Hands HopHands, the other is my clone. Juice cocktails the same.|
I will start with the New England IPA fans, of which I clearly am a member so grain of salt and everything. I really don't want to turn this into an East vs. West Coast thing but the delineation of the two "styles" or takes on IPA has been draw using the regions so I will continue with it. I'm not sure who started brewing these Hazy NE IPA's so I shouldn't speak for whoever that (genius) is, but I will anyway. The way these beers are constructed produce a beer with haze that I see as a necessary evil to achieve a certain character, which is fruity/tropical, lowly bitter and supremely drinkable...and yes, Hazy.
|Oats for days brah! But wont it be murky? Lets fight!|
Most of these beers include quite a bit of adjuncts in the mash, Oats/Wheat specifically, in some cases as high as 20+% of the grain bill. This is to achieve a silky, fuller bodied beer that gives the characteristic of fruit juice but also tend to make beers quite hazy. They are bittered on the very low end of the IPA spectrum to keep them drinkable. The majority of the hops are reserved for late boil/whirlpool additions as well as very high dry hopping rates, in the 2-3 LBs/BBL range. These beers are then finished with fruity, and sometimes low flocculating, English yeast strains that really ties it all together. These beers are then served unfiltered, without finings, and as fresh as you should serve all IPA's
When you combine the high percentages of adjuncts, long whirlpool (causing chill haze), high dry hopping rates, and a low flocculating yeast it's going to be hard to get away from the haze. In my own brewing I have hit these beers with gelatin and even after a month cold in the keg the haze remains. Fining these beers is something I do not like to do because if flocculating yeast cells can strip volatile oils then surely gelatin, or filtering, does as well. We work really hard to get those oils into our beer why then strip them out? But even I, and avid fan of these beers, think that there is a line that shouldn't be crossed. There is a difference between murky and hazy, at home I may pour myself a murky HopHands Clone but if on a commercial level I would likely clean it up a little. The protein, yeast and chill haze in the beer does add to the flavor, for better or worse, so there is a threshold that should be paid attention to.
|She's a beaut, or maybe not?|
I completely understand the plight of the Haze Averse, these beers can be pretty ugly from a classic beer perspective but some folks seem to be writing them off based on appearance alone. What's More, some are claiming the brewers of said beers are either rushing the product to market or somehow mishandling the fermentation creating a "Yeasty" or "Murky" beer. Now don't get me wrong, I am sure there are examples of this style that are yeasty and there most certainly are some that are very murky. But to make a blanket statement like that about a growing style is both closed minded and against the line of thinking that got craft beer to where it is today. Some of these very brewers put out bright beers sold alongside the hazy ones, so clearly the brewing acumen is there.
It is one thing to not like a style, we all have styles that we don't like or don't "get" (erhmm Black IPA, Black Saison, please stop mmmmkay?) but it seems both sides of this debate are clingy to their proverbial guns. If you go out and try, better yet brew, one of these beers and flat out dont like it, or just really can't get past the hazy appearance then that's totally fine. But lets try to refrain from claiming brewers don't know what they are doing just because you dont like it, the line outside of Tired Hands for can releases that sells out 300+ cases in a few hours seem to prove the market for haze is very demanding...clearly they know what they are doing.
|An over the lin murky version of HopWards, this was 4 weeks cold in the keg|
even after being hit with gelatin. I assure you that's not yeast.
Opinion rants are something I always said I would never do on this blog, yet here I am. A total sucker for controversy.