Best Yeast for NEIPA: The Juiciest Yeasts To Homebrew Hazy, New England IPA

New England IPA relies on pungent, fruity hops to create a juice-like beer with a soft mouthfeel. To maximize this tropical juicy character and smooth body, yeast plays a crucial role.

Yeast selection for New England IPA differs from traditional American IPA. Yeast derived fruity esters contribute to the juicy flavor profile desirable in NEIPA. English yeasts are generally preferred, with our favorite being Wyeast 1318 London Ale III. It has a uniquely balanced sweetness, fruitiness, and soft mouthfeel. There are also many other suitable NEIPA yeasts from various commercial yeast labs. From classic American strains to Norwegian kveik, great NEIPA can be brewed with a number of yeasts.

These are the Best Yeast For Brewing NEIPA

We’ve selected our favorite yeasts to brew outstanding NEIPA. Follow our guide on brewing NEIPA to make sure you’re doing everything right to make the hoppiest, juiciest, and softest hazy IPA.

Wyeast 1318 London Ale III

London Ale III will produce a full mouthfeel and almost creamy texture. Stone fruit esters, like peach and apricot, accentuate hop derived juiciness. A slight vanilla component also helps with creating a luscious and soft perception.

London Ale III has become the house NEIPA yeast for many commercial brewers and a favorite among homebrewers. It’s reliable and consistent, making it our favorite yeast for New England IPA.

Characteristics:

  • Rich and soft mouthfeel
  • Balanced sweetness with fruity esters
  • Low flocculation
  • Medium attenuation
  • Substitutes: Imperial Yeast A38 Juice, White Labs WLP066 London Fog Ale, LalBrew Verdant IPA

Where to buy: MoreBeer

The Yeast Bay Vermont Ale WLP4000

Considered to be the yeast that kickstarted the NEIPA movement, the Conan strain was made famous by John Kimmich of The Alchemist. Heady Topper, their revolutionary Double IPA, sent shockwaves through the brewing world. Juicy, explosive hop character wrapped up in a soft and perfectly balanced body set the stage for the future of IPA. Kimmich credited his yeast, which he called Conan, as a driving factor for the uniqueness and balance of Heady Topper.

The Conan strain was eventually commercialized by The Yeast Bay, as their Vermont Ale strain. Its medium attenuation leaves enough sweetness to keep bitterness in check and allow for bright hop expression. The peachy esters blend well with almost all hop combinations, especially for fruit-forward NEIPAs.

Characteristics:

  • Intense peach-forward esters
  • Soft body and medium mouthfeel
  • Medium attenuation
  • Medium flocculation
  • Substitutes: LalBrew New England, Escarpment Labs Vermont Ale, Imperial Barbarian A04

Wyeast 1272 American Ale II

Despite American ale yeast’s clean fermentation profile, many brewers choose to use them for their NEIPAs. Bissel Brothers, arguably one of the top NEIPA breweries, has stated they use an American strain similar to Chico. Tree House Brewing Company brews an exceptional NEIPA called Bright using a clean fermenting American ale yeast.

Wyeast 1272 is our favorite American strain because of its clean profile with very subtle fruity esters. It ferments super fast and is a reliable choice for brewing NEIPA, along with West Coast styles.

When using Wyeast 1272, or equivalent Chico strain, don’t expect fruitiness to come from the fermentation profile. Instead, you’ll want to use very fruity hop varietals – like Galaxy, Mosaic, or Citra – to ensure a fruit-forward profile. Keep bitterness low, even omitting the bittering addition, to make sure the beer comes out with enough balanced sweetness.

Characteristics:

  • High attenuation for a dry finish
  • Medium flocculation
  • Bright and clean hop flavor
  • Light citrus and stone fruit ester profile
  • Fast and reliable fermentations
  • Substitutes: White Labs WLP001 California Ale, Omega OYL-004 West Coast Ale I, Fermentis US-05, LalBrew BRY-97 West Coast Ale

Where to buy: MoreBeer

Fermentis Safale S-04

For an inexpensive, readily available dry yeast strain, Safale S-04 is a great choice for NEIPA. With similar characteristics to our favorite, London Ale III, S-04 is a reliable workhouse. Although you won’t get the same full mouthfeel and mix of sweet esters as London Ale III, S-04 will still provide a subtle, yet balanced, ester profile.

Safale S-04 is a unique dry yeast strain that has been a favorite for homebrewers for years. At higher temperatures, expect accentuated fruity peach-like esters that compliment juicy hops.

Characteristics:

  • Medium attenuation
  • High flocculation
  • Stone fruit ester profile
  • Reliable and inexpensive dry yeast
  • Substitutes: Similar to Wyeast London Ale III

Where to buy: MoreBeer

Hornindal Kveik, Omega Yeast OYL-091

Norwegian kveik strains make good options for fermenting NEIPA. And because of the very fast fermentation time, turnaround on beer can be less than a week. For hoppy beer, it’s a great option to be able to drink them so fresh.

With Hornindal kveik, beers tend to attenuate quite high, leading to a dry mouthfeel. To offset this, a higher amount of protein-heavy grains and adjuncts like oats, rye, and wheat should be used. This yeast will provide tropical fruit and tart, juicy characteristics.

When using kveik, it’s always a good idea to use yeast nutrient and pitch into well-oxygenated wort. Hornindal will ferment clean, with only minimal but desirable esters, even up to 90°F to 95°F.

Characteristics:

  • Extremely fast fermentation (2 to 3 days)
  • High attenuation
  • High flocculation
  • Tropical pineapple esters
  • Slightly tart finish
  • Substitutes: The Yeast Bay WLP4050 Hornindal Kveik, Escarpment Hornindal Kveik Blend

Where to buy: MoreBeer

White Labs WLP644 Saccharomyces “bruxellensis” Trois

Originally, WLP644 was thought to be a Brettanomyces strain but was later discovered to be wild Saccharomyces. It has bright Brett-like tropical fruitiness, including mango and pineapple. Despite being once labeled as Brett, it exhibits no funk character.

We like this yeast for very juicy NEIPA that is more on the dry side. Paired with New Zealand or Australian hops, WLP644 can create amazing orange juice-like beer with a refreshing finish.

Characteristics:

  • Intensely tropical esters
  • Medium to high attenuation
  • Very low flocculation
  • Dry finish
  • Substitutes: Imperial Citrus A20, Omega Yeast OYL-200 Tropical IPA

Where to buy: MoreBeer

How Does Yeast Selection Impact NEIPA?

Yeast selection is a major consideration when designing any beer style. For NEIPA, here are the major things to consider to find the perfect strain for your recipe:

Esters

Esters are a group of flavor compounds in beer responsible for fruity aromas and flavors. The type of esters and flavors depends on the yeast, fermentation temperature, pitch rate, and composition of the wort.

Desirable ester flavor in NEIPA is stone fruit (peach and apricot), tropical fruit (pineapple and mango), and even bubblegum. Banana esters, like in Hefeweizen and Belgian beer, are not desirable for NEIPA.

Knowing a yeast’s specific ester characteristics is important when selecting the strain to brew NEIPA. Always refer to the yeast manufacturer’s descriptions to avoid potentially unsuitable flavors.

Ester production is also dependant on pitch rate and fermentation temperature:

Pitch Rate

In general, for NEIPA, yeast pitching rates should be the same as most typical medium gravity ales. Use a yeast pitching calculator and make a starter, if needed.

Contrary to normal practices, however, some NEIPA brewers swear by underpitching their yeast. This stresses the yeast and increases ester production, complimenting certain hop combinations.

At the homebrew level, without lab equipment, typical pitching rates give more consistent results.

Fermentation Temperature

Most NEIPAs are best fermented around 68°F to 70°F. Higher temperature fermentation produces more esters. But hotter fermentations can also cause alcoholic – or “hot” – flavors due to fusel alcohol production.

Temperatures lower than 67°F are not suitable for most NEIPA friendly strains. This low of a temperature suppresses ester formation and leads to sluggish fermentations.

Biotransformation

A topic of significant interest to NEIPA brewers is called yeast biotransformation. This is the process in which yeast transforms certain hop compounds into new aromatics.

Biotransformation is a growing area of research in brewing science, especially for hoppy styles. What’s most important to know for brewers, is that yeast can transform hop compounds into desirable flavors and aromas.

Dry hopping during active fermentation promotes biotransformation. This contributes to the production of fruity and juicy flavors. Yeast selection plays a large role on the impact that biotransmation has. Some yeasts, like London Ale III, are known to be more conducive to biotransformation. Other yeasts, like American ale strains, can still biotransform but to a lesser degree.

Attenuation

Most New England IPA has a final gravity between 1.010 to 1.015 for beers in the 5.5% to 7% ABV range. This is a great final gravity to ensure there are enough residual sugars adding to body, mouthfeel, and balanced sweetness.

If yeast attenuation is too high, the beer will lack the smooth and rich body quintessential to NEIPA. Too low and NEIPA can be overly sweet, making it cloying and hard to drink.

Flocculation

Flocculation (or floccing) refers to a yeast’s ability to settle, or drop out of suspension. High flocculating yeasts mean that the yeast has a better (higher) ability to settle. Low flocculation means that the ability to flocculate is lower, and the yeast remains in suspension in the final beer.

Many NEIPA brewers swear by low flocculating yeasts. These help create a hazy appearance and, possibly, a fuller mouthfeel since more yeast is in suspension. We believe that high flocculating yeasts are just as able to maintain stable haze. The use of a high protein grain bill and plenty of dry hops ensures that classic hazy appearance.

Final Thoughts

If you’re new to brewing NEIPA, and want a reliable yeast option, try Wyeast 1318 London Ale III. The perfect mix of fruity esters and soft body rightfully make this strain a favorite for NEIPA brewers worldwide. For a cleaner, brighter hop profile, you can’t go wrong with an American ale Chico strain, like Wyeast 1272

As NEIPA continues to evolve, brewers will keep finding exciting ways to harness yeast to produce the juiciest beers possible. With strains like Hornindal kveik, and the growing number of dry yeasts, brewing NEIPA is becoming more accessible for all brewers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use a yeast blend to brew NEIPA?

A growing number of NEIPA brewers have been experimenting with blending yeasts. These savvy brewers are mixing strains of various origins to find the perfect mix of yeast-derived flavor compounds.

HomebrewTalk users discovered Julius, by Tree House, is fermented with a blend of yeasts. This revelation has spurred professional brewers and homebrewers to experiment with blending yeasts. Most brewers mix an English strain, like Safale S-04, with a higher ester producing Belgian yeast in smaller amounts.

Why is my NEIPA dropping clear?

Having trouble keeping your NEIPAs hazy? For most pale beer styles, after a few weeks in a keg, the beer is usually quite clear. NEIPA is different mainly due to the massive amount of dry hopping and use of a high-protein grain bill.

If you find your beers are dropping clear, you probably aren’t using enough dry hops! At least a half a pound of dry hopping per 5 gallon batch is recommended for NEIPA. On top of that, use a high-protein malt bill with oats and wheat.

Whether using a low or high flocculating yeast, NEIPA will maintain a stable haze with the proper hopping technique and grist.

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