How To Brew New England IPA [NEIPA] in 7 Days

by Steve Thanos | Last Updated: December 11, 2020

New England IPA is a style of American IPA that has turned the beer world on its head. It contains a rather intense, tropical fruit forward hop aroma and flavor. It is heavily dry hopped so much that it contributes to the beer’s hazy appearance.

A New England IPA has full body, smooth flavor and a less perceived bitterness that a typical IPA offers. 

The West Coast IPA

For many years the palate of the American IPA drinker accepted bitterness as an accepted flavor quality to a good beer. Afterall, the counterbalance between the sweet maltiness required a bitterness to round out the overall flavors of a beer.

This essentially was the 1980s and 1990s in America when it came to IPAs. These IPAs were mostly brewed on the west coast in America. Breweries on the east coast were also picking up on this trend of the west coast IPA. 

Greg Noonan

Meanwhile, on the east coast, a brewer by the name of Greg Noonan began making a name for himself. Noonan was already known in the brewing world for his book, Brewing Lager Beer: The Most Comprehensive Book for Home – And Microbreweries. Noonan opened the Vermont Pub & Brewery in Burlington, Vermont.

His focus with this brewery was to brew many different beer styles and be as innovative as possible. Noonan found success with his numerous different beer styles, winning medals at the Great American Beer Festival, GBBF, and other competitions. 

John Kimmich

John Kimmich was a homebrewer in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania working in a homebrew supply store. In 1994, he moved to Vermont to learn commercial brewing from Greg Noonan. The desire to open his own brewery was in forefront in Kimmich’s mind.

In November 2003, in Waterbury, Vermont The Alchemist Pub and Brewery opened. In January of 2004, Kimmich brewed what some consider arguably the first New England IPA. This beer was called Heady Topper

Heady Topper

Heady Topper was a big double IPA with an 8% ABV and a bitterness of 75 IBUs. It was not a palate wrecker like its predecessor, the west coast IPA. Instead it invited the drinker in with its fresh hop aroma and flavor. It was reported that this beer contained seven hops used late in the boil and/or in the dry hop.

This beer’s mouthfeel was softer and silkier than a traditional IPA. It is said to round out the hoppiness both of flavor, aroma, and bitterness. The grist of a traditional New England IPA may include oats, wheat and other adjuncts to promote haziness and the pillowy soft mouthfeel. 

Style Profile for New England IPA

Appearance

The color ranges from straw to yellow, possibly with an orange hue. Hazy, often opaque clarity. Beer should not be cloudy or murky. Visible floating particulates, which could be hop matter or yeast are a fault. Medium rocky meringue white head with high to very high retention. 

Aroma

Intense hop aroma, usually fruity with qualities of stone fruit, tropical fruit and citrus are very common. Newer American and New World hop varieties are chosen. Clean, neutral malt in the background with light bready sweetness without caramel or toast. Creamy, buttery, or acidic aroma is inappropriate for the style. Alcohol character should be restrained and not hot.

Mouthfeel

Medium to medium-full body with smooth character. No harsh, hop astringency. Medium carbonation. Beer should not be creamy or viscous mouthfeel or an acidic twang or raw starch texture. 

Flavor

Hop flavor is high to very high and reflects the aroma with qualities of stone fruit, tropical fruit and citrus being very common. Perceived bitterness can be low to medium-high. Aftertaste of hop character should not be harsh or sharp. Low to medium malt flavor. 

Food Pairing

Meats such as venison, lamb, beer; cooked with a savory and fruity sauce pairs really well with a tropical stout. Seared scallops or steamed oysters also make a great accompaniment. Spicy Indian, Asian, Mexican dishes also pair nicely. Curries made with coconut milk are a homerun with this beer style. 

Tips for Brewing your own New England IPA

Grain

English 2-Row or American 2-Row is traditionally used for a New England IPA. 85-90% of the grist should comprise the base grain. Crystal/Caramel malts are used to add color and body to the beer. Wheat , flaked barley, flaked oats, carapils malt is used to enhance the beer’s body. If these are used, use them in small qualities.

Hops

While any beer is a balance of grain, hops, and yeast profile, New England IPAs are geared toward making sure the hops stand out. It is a great way to showcase their most incredible flavors and use the hop’s terpenes to the fullest. The first thing to note about hop additions is the low, bitter profile of the beer. Hop additions do not start at 60 or 30 hop additions.

Instead, the bittering is coming from relying on the whirlpool additions to the bitter the beer. Speaking of whirlpool additions, this is where a majority of the hopping of the beer takes place. Also, heavy dry hop additions help to carry this beer into the hop bombs so many crave these days.

Dry hopping during fermentation also helps to curb the fear of oxidation. The hops that are used are usually those grown on the west coast. New Zealand and Australia have plenty of varieties that are keeping these beers interesting. 

Yeast

There is no one single strain that is a must for brewing a New England IPA. Many brewers gravitate towards London III strain such as Vermont, Barbarian, and Juice from Imperial Yeast, Wyeast, White Labs, or Omega. When deciding on a yeast, you will then decide on what brewing approach you will take.

Mashing high and using a yeast that is going to attenuate further or mash low and use less attenuative yeast. The decision is yours, but have a plan prior to brewing this beer.

New England IPA By the Numbers

  • Color Range: 3 – 7 SRM
  • Original Gravity: 1.060 – 1.085 OG
  • Final Gravity: 1.010 – 1.015 FG
  • IBU Range: 25 – 60
  • ABV Range: 6.0 – 9.0%

Martin Keen’s New England IPA Recipe

Grain

  • 52%              7 lbs           American 2-Row
  • 15%              2 lb             Flaked Barley
  • 11%              1lb 8 oz      Aromatic Malt        
  • 11%              1lb 8 oz      Carafoam
  • 11%              1lb 8 oz      White Wheat Malt

Hops

  • 1 oz          Centennial      – Boil        30 min
  • 1 oz          Amarillo          – Boil        20 min
  • 1 oz          Centennial      – Boil        20 min
  • 1 oz          Galaxy            – Boil        20 min
  • 1 oz          Amarillo          – Dry Hop  5 days    
  • 1 oz          Centennial      – Dry Hop  5 days   
  • 1 oz          Galaxy            – Dry Hop  5 days   
  • 1 oz          Amarillo          – Dry Hop  3 days    
  • 1 oz          Centennial      – Dry Hop  3 days   
  • 1 oz          Galaxy            – Dry Hop  3 days   

Yeast

1.0 pkg   Ringwood Ale (Wyeast Labs #1187)

Mash at 152°F (66°C) for 60 mins then Boil for 60 mins. 

Transcipt: Today I’m brewing a New England IPA. And the goal here is to get this thing done quick, but to get it done good. I’m planning on drinking this beer this time next week. Let’s do it.

My name is Martin Keen. And on this channel, the Homebrew challenge I’m working my way through brewing 99 different beer styles in 99 weeks. Now, New England IPA is not on my list of 99 beers, but I could not resist brewing one up because this is a beer that is both great to drink, but also challenging to brew.

Now, this is that hazy beer that’s really juicy, and it’s very restrained in its hop bitterness, but very much fruit forward and its hop character. And let’s talk about the ingredients that go into the grist to making it.

We’re looking to build a fairly neutral pallet here because what we’re looking to accentuate is the hops. But we also want to add in some high protein malts, so wheat and oats, to really help with the mouthfeel of the beer and also for the Haze stability. Now I’m going to build a beer here around 10 66 original gravity. So we’re looking at about a 6% beer.

My base malt is 2row malt and that makes up 52% of the grist. Then 15% of the grist is flaked barley and then 11% each of our aromatic malt, Carafoam for the head retention and 11% of white wheat malt.

Now, I typically don’t make much of a big deal about water salts and water chemistry, but I do think it’s worth pointing out here for this beer style. Typically an IPA, you want a high sulfate ratio and that’s the emphasize hop bitterness.

But with new England IPA, actually you want the height chloride ratio. So chloride to sulfates. And in my five gallon or 19 liter batch, I am using a lot of this calcium chloride to achieve that. So my water salts are 10 grams of calcium chloride and then two grams of Epsom salt and two grams of gypsum. And also to address the mash pH this doesn’t have many roasted malts in it. So we to drive down that pH, I am using four milliliters of lactic acid.

And I’m mashing at 152 Fahrenheit, 67 Celsius for about an hour. While that’s mashing it’s time for a coffee break.

How to Make a Cold Brewed Nitro Coffee 16

If you have a nitro tap as part of your home brew setup, I can highly recommend using it to serve, nitro cold brew coffee. It’s the perfect tonic for these early morning brew days.

Now, while this is draining behind me here, and I’m preparing for boil, let’s talk a little bit about the hops. Everything I’m going to use in terms of hops is going to either be Centennial, Amarillo, or galaxy. Now generally with new England IPA’s you really want to favor late addition hops, so in the Whirlpool or in dry hopping and not too many in the kettle.

What I’m going to do is I’m going to boil for only 30 minutes. And I’m going to add in here one charge of Centennial. This is one ounce of Centennial, which I’ll throw in at 30 minutes. And that’s all I’m doing for bittering hops.

Okay. That is 30 minutes. I’m going to turn off the heat. Now the next hop addition is the Whirlpool hop edition. And what I’ve got here is one ounce. Each of the Centennial, galaxy, and Amarillo. And I want to Whirlpool this at a little bit less than boiling temperature.

So I’m going to bring the temperature down to about 180 Fahrenheit or 82 Celsius, and then add these hops in to steep for about 20 minutes. And just by lowering that temperature, I should be able to pull out a little bit more flavor from these hops. So the way I’m going to do that is I’m just going to run my plate chiller just for a second to get this temperature down a few degrees.

No, I don’t really have any sort of Whirlpool set up, but what I have done is I’ve just got the pump re-circulating and then I’m just going to give this a stir as well, just to keep all of the liquid flowing through here and running over the hops.

Now let’s talk about the speed aspect of this beer. How are we going to turn it around in a week? The way I’m going to do that is I’m going to ferment it in this fermzilla, which is a pressurized fermenter, which can hold up to 35 PSI pressure. And by fermenting under pressure, I can not have to worry too much about the temperature that I ferment at. So it can be a little bit warmer than normal, which will speed things up.

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And also it will carbonate the beer while it’s fermenting. So another bit of a time-saver.

Now there are two things with fermentation in a new England IPA which are a little bit contradictory. One is new England IPA seems to be quite susceptible to cold side oxidation. If you get the beer oxidized, it can really dull on the flavor of these hops and also lead to a darker color beer.

But you also need to add a bunch of dry hops into this beer and adding in the dry hops, introduces the chance to be adding in oxygenation. So I’ve got a couple of, kind of crazy ideas to solve this.

Now I’m going to add two charge of dry hops to the beer. Again, it’s Amarillo, galaxy, and Centennial one ounce each of those. I’m going to add one of those dry hop chargers in just before the beer finishes fermenting. And then another one, a couple of days after that.

So I want to be able to add these hops in without actually having to open up the fermenter, uh, particularly with pressurized fermentation. If you open this up during fermentation, uh, it’s just gonna really the krauzen is gonna get really, really high and you can end up with quite a mess.

So the first way I’m going to add the hops during the fermentation.

Well, I’ve rigged up this, what this is are two French press brew bags, which I use for brew my cold brew coffee. And I’ve tied them on to a little bar, a little magnet bar from a stir plate. And my idea is that I’m going to put these in here and then use this magnet just to dangle them here. And they’ll just sit there while the beer is fermenting. Then when I’m adding ready to add them in, I will just remove the magnet.

Well, the whirpool got down to about 158 Fahrenheit over that course of 20 minutes. Now I have got water running through my plate chiller again to cool it all the way down to yeast pitching temperatures.

The yeast for this beer is Wyeast 1187. This is Ringwood Ale Yeast. I like this one for it’s fruity esters. So I’m going to add this in. Now the base original gravity is 1.066 and also to hopefully get this yeast a faster start, I did run my oxygen wand in here as well. Now, before I shut the lid, it’s time for my hops balancing act.

Seems to be holding. I was able to get the top on and tighten it up. The last thing that I have done is I have connected the gas out of this into a keg. And then that’s gone into the liquid in the keg. And then on the gas out, I’ve put a spunding valve set to 15 PSI. So I’m effectively going to use my keg as an airlock here. And what I’m basically doing is using the CO2 that’s generated in this fermzilla and in this pressure fermentation chamber to remove the oxygen or to push out the oxygen in my keg.

And I’ve also thrown a tilt wireless hydrometer in here. So I can keep an eye on the gravity. And as we get close to getting to a final gravity, that is when I’m going to drop this next charge of hops into the beer, see you in a few days!

It’s about 24 hours later now, and the hops are still standing. I kept waiting for them to drop, but so far so good. Now in that 24 hour period, we have got, uh, original gravity or a current gravity, I should say of 1.025. So fermentation is already well on its way.

So it’s time now to add in these hops now, by adding hops in during active fermentation, we get to take advantage of a process called biotransformation, which is basically going to use this active yeast to transform some of the hop compounds to really pull out those juicy and fruity aromas and flavors from the hops. So let’s lower this thing.

We’re one day further along now, it looks like fermentation is complete. I’ve got a gravity of 1.015, so it’s time to the final charge of Centennial, galaxy, and Amarillo hops. And at this point, I need to find another way to get hops in here without exposing the beer to oxygen. And the way I’m going to do that is I’m going to use the little collector tray that sits at the bottom of this fermentor. So you can use this typically for like capturing yeast and so forth.

But what I’m going to do is I’m going to fill this with hops and reattach it and then let the beer sink down into this collection jar. So the, the, the one thing that I have to consider is when I put the hops in which I’ll do now, this thing is still full of oxygen. So when, um, the beer come into here, it’s going to get oxidized.

So what I’m going to do to address that is I’m going to flush this out with CO2. So rather than using these standard bottle caps that come on, this, I’ve added two combination caps, and these allow me to connect a quick disconnects to here. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to flush CO2 that I’ve been capturing in my keg through one of these and out the other side. And hopefully then I’ll be able to push most of the oxygen out of this thing.

Oh, and if by this point, you’re thinking, dude, is this really necessary? Well, you’ve probably got a good point. You could probably brew a pretty decent new England IPA in a plastic bucket, but I’m trying to do everything I can here to reduce oxygen contact with this beer. And this is kind of fun.

So because of that spunding valve set up, I put on initially, I’ve got a keg here full of 15 PSI of CO2. Um, I am going to use this to push it in to this collection jar here. And then I’ve just moved my spunding valve out to the other side. And my goal here is now to push the CO2 into here and then release what I’m hoping will be mostly the air out of the spunding valve. So I’m all hooked up. Really the only thing I need to do now is to, uh, loosen the spunding valve and let some air out.

Okay. So now I’m flushing this with the captured CO2, and I’ll just leave this running for just a little bit. Now, time to release the beer.

Yeah. Six days in and the last stage now is to get this beer into the keg. So I’ve connected the gas to gas, jump the cable and a liquid to liquid. Um, both of these cables are sanitized, but they have air in them. So I’m just going to burp them both.

There we go. That’s cleared out any sanitizer that was in there. So that’s all gas now. And then we can actually hook that onto the gas posts.

And this is my liquid. So I just want to just push inside here just to get any air out and replace that with beer. Yeah. Okay. I’m going to hook that up to the keg too. And now to start the transfer, I just need to lower the pressure in the keg here. Lower this, get the gravity going and let that slowly transfer into the keg.

Chill it down and tomorrow give it a try.

Day seven and it’s time to taste the beer with Lauren. Hi Lauren. I believe you’ve been looking forward to a IPA today. I have. Yeah. So this one, uh, didn’t cold crash it of course. Cause I want to keep it a little bit hazy, but take a look. See what you think about the appearance of this beer?

It’s very pretty looking. Um, definitely the haze is there. I can see, well I cannot see through it.

Exactly. Yeah, no, I love the lovely sort of deep golden color to it. It’s really pretty looking. Yep. Okay. Let’s see what we get on the aroma. I’m definitely picking up on sort of citrus-y fruity flavor. Pretty strongly. Okay. I just wanna drink it. Let’s try it. Let’s try it. That’s so good. Yeah. Like really good!

To me. Um, very fresh taste, very fresh, very juicy. Um, I’m getting a little bit of sort of like freshly squeezed orange juice and a little bit of grapefruit in the taste. What are you?

So it’s funny you say that because my top two favorite IPA’s are Hazy Little Thing by Sierra Nevada and Sculpin by the Ballas Point. And Sculpins grapefruit kind of reminds me of a little bit of this and yeah I can definitely taste those hints of orange and grapefruit.

What I like about it as though, like, cause your typical IPA is quite bitter, like at the end, whereas this doesn’t have a major like bitter tastes. Right, right. Absolutely. Um, much more fruit forward than really any sort of hop bite. Right?

Yeah. I mean, definitely tell it’s an IPA. It’s got that fruit zing to it, but it’s not like some IPA’s kind of like popuri sort of thing. Super florally. Yep. Whereas this is more of a fruit.

Yeah. Nice to me. Well, cheers to this one. Well, not bad for a week’s effort, right? One week. No, that’s not bad. This was grain in a bag and now it’s beer.

So why don’t we do more of them?

I am the former President of my homebrew club, Plainfield Ale and Lager Enthusiasts (PALE) in the western suburbs of Chicago, IL. I brew on my BIAB system with my incredibly patient and understanding wife, adorable 9 year old daughter, and 12 year old brew dog.