How to Brew New England IPA (NEIPA)

New England IPA – hazy, juicy, and hop-drenched – has taken over the beer world. Craft beer lovers wait in hour long lines in hope of scoring the latest can of hazy goodness. Luckily for homebrewers, you can brew delicious interpretations from the comfort of your own home.

Homebrewed NEIPA can be as good as the best commercial examples. Learn how to use fruity hops, estery yeast, and high protein malts, to brew perfect, juicy NEIPA. With precision detail, quality ingredients, and some specific techniques, NEIPA is one of the most crowd-pleasing styles to have on tap. We’ll teach you all you need to know to brew world-class, soft, pillowy, and hazy IPA.

How To Brew New England IPA

What is New England IPA?

NEIPA – sometimes called hazy IPA – is a subgenre of American IPA with low bitterness, increased fruitiness, and a soft, pillowy mouthfeel. Beginning around 2010, brewers like The Alchemist and Hill Farmstead pioneered the style with their unique take on West Coast IPA. The style spread throughout New England, garnering international attention and the birth of a new name: New England IPA.

Focusing on fruity hops – like Galaxy, Mosaic, and Citra – NEIPA is tropical and juicy. By shifting from bitter IPA to softer, juicier examples, brewers moved almost all of their boil hops to late additions and dry hops. This change made beers less bitter but more fruity, while also leaving much more pungent hop oil suspended in the finished beer.

NEIPA is not only about the hops: yeast and malt selection have a huge impact on the mouthfeel, flavor, and appearance of the style. NEIPAs typically use English yeast for additional fruity esters. They also employ high-protein grains like wheat and oats for a full body, which also contributes to its signature hazy look.

NEIPA should be between 5.5% and 7% ABV. Lower alcohol versions should be considered New England Pale Ale or Session NEIPA. Stronger versions are normally known as Double NEIPA.

Interested about learning more about NEIPA and the best commercial examples? Check out our article here.

How to Brew NEIPA

Brewing New England IPA takes attention to detail, high quality ingredients, and experimentation. We’ll break down what you need to know to get your NEIPA brewing started on the right foot.

All Grain Haze Craze Home Brew Recipe- NEIPA Home Brew Day

Mashing

NEIPA benefits from a substantial body, mouthfeel, and residual sweetness. Most homebrewers opt for a 60 minute single infusion mash between 152F and 155F. Mashing on the higher side creates more unfermentable sugars, leaving the finished beer with a higher final gravity (FG) and a bit more body.

Malt

Because of the hazy nature of NEIPA, the color of the beer can appear darker than the calculated SRM. Light does not easily pass through NEIPA, causing a perceived darkness. Colored malts should be used sparingly to avoid darker beer.

High protein malt and adjuncts – like oats – are used to boost mouthfeel. Along with contributing to a soft and silky body, proteins contribute to the hazy appearance of NEIPA.

Most NEIPAs are between 5.5% and 7% ABV. Depending on the yeast attenuation, that’ll mean an original gravity (OG) of around 1.060.

Here are some awesome grain options to consider. This list is based on personal experience and recommendations by professional brewers:

Base Grains Description Grain Bill %
2-Row – Great base grain, contributes clean malty backbone

– Needs specialty grain to add complexity and mouthfeel

80 – 90%
Golden Promise and Maris Otter – More depth of flavor than 2-row
– Can be used as single malt
– More expensive than 2-row
90 – 100%
Pilsner – Very clean base grain that can allow certain hops to shine

– Crackery flavor (think pilsner beer) may clash with some hop combinations or yeast characteristics

90 – 100%
Wheat – Great flavor and body contribution

– Causes slow or stuck sparges in large quantity

30 – 50%
Speciality and Adjuncts Description Grain Bill %
Flaked Oats – Contributes to creamy and full mouthfeel – Adds haziness
– Very little flavor contribution
– Causes slow or stuck sparges in large quantity
– Can cause quicker oxidation and color change due to high levels of manganese
10 – 20%
Oat malt – Similar to flaked oats – More grainy flavor than flaked oats
– Can account for larger percentage of grain bill
20 – 50%
Rye malt – Adds mouthfeel
– Contributes to glowing reddish gold color
– Can add spiciness in large amounts
– Very difficult to sparge in high percentages
5 – 10%
Flaked Wheat/Barley/Rye – Similar flavor addition as their malted versions

– Contributes to body with higher residual protein

10 – 20%
Chit malt – Boosts head retention

– Replace up to 10% of base grain

5 – 10%
Honey malt – Adds pleasant golden color

– Honey-like sweetness without being cloying

3 – 5%
Dextrine malt – CaraFoam and CaraPils both help with head retention and body3 – 5%
Crystal malt (Crystal 10 to Crystal 40) – Contributes to color, sweetness, and mouthfeel

– Use very sparingly as they can make the beer cloying

3 – 5%

Note: When using large amounts of flaked products, you might run into a stuck sparge. Rice hulls help filter the mash without adding fermentable sugar. Add up to 5% of the total grain bill.

Extract brewers should choose the lightest possible dried malt extract. Dextrin malt, like CaraFoam or CaraPils, can be steeped to help boost mouthfeel and add some fresh malt flavor. On top of that, flaked oats can be steeped to add some protein to the wort.

Hopping

Hops take center stage in NEIPA. Only the freshest and highest quality hops should be used. There are a few unique hopping considerations for brewing NEIPA that you should know.

Type of Hops

Hops are the cornerstone of the NEIPA style. Fruity, tropical, and pungent varietals provide juiciness and a saturated hop flavor. Higher alpha acid hops are preferred as the majority of these typical NEIPA hop flavors are derived from hop oils suspended in solution.

American hops are most commonly used in NEIPA due to their availability for American brewers. New American varietals like Citra, Mosaic, El Dorado, and Idaho 7 provide complex fruitiness and layers of tropical flavor. Classic American hops like Columbus and Centennial can also be used to add some earthiness, dankness, and balance.

Australian hops like Galaxy, Ella, and Vic Secret are used for their juice-like qualities and tropical fruitiness. New Zealand hops, like Nelson Sauvin, Motueka, and Riwaka, are unique and fruity – with more grape, melon, and floral attributes. These Southern Hemisphere hops can be expensive and hard to get your hands on due to overwhelming demand. Don’t hesitate to buy if they’re available – you won’t regret it!

Pellet hops are preferred over whole leaf hops to limit grassy or chlorophyll flavors. Experimental hop products such as Cryo hops and Lupulin powder can be used to further help reduce any vegetal flavor.

Bittering

Unlike traditional IPA, NEIPA isn’t an overly bitter style. A small bittering addition at the start of the boil is a good idea to give the beer some balance. Use a high alpha acid hop like Columbus or Citra, or even hop extract, to limit hop matter in the kettle. Aim for about 15 IBUs from the boil hops.

Whirlpool

Adding hops at the end of the boil – once the kettle is turned off – extracts all the pungent and delicate aromatics from the hops without much bitterness. This is called whirlpool hopping. Since oils in the hops only isomerize at boiling temperatures, those flavor-packed volatile oils remain in the wort.

Contrary to common belief, however, there is bitterness that gets extracted from the whirlpool addition. Experimentation is key to find the right balance of temperature, time, and quantity of hops.

For temperature, NEIPA brewers all have their own preference, but a good starting point is 170F. Any higher, and you will extract excess bitterness and lose some of the volatile hop components. Lower, and you might be better off saving the hops for the dry hop.

For a 5 gallon batch, the whirlpool addition should be about 3 to 5 ounces of the freshest possible hops. Hold at the whirlpool temperature for 20-30 mins.

Dry Hopping

Adding hops during and after fermentation is the major aroma and flavor driver for NEIPA. Known as dry hopping, this step is crucial in NEIPA brewing.

Make sure you use only the freshest and highest quality hops, and dry hop in the fermenter with 6 to 12 ounces of hops per 5 gallons. To avoid oxygen exposure, purge the headspace of the fermenter with CO2 before and after adding the hops.

For a single dry hop, add the hops 3 or 4 days, at 68F to 70F, before cold crashing.

Biotransformation and Double Dry Hopping (DDH)

Many NEIPA brewers choose to dry hop their beers twice. Once during active fermentation, and again a few days before packaging. Hopping during fermentation can help extract fruity flavors from hops. This reaction is known as biotransformation.

If you choose to double dry hop, add about one quarter to one third of the total dry top during fermentation. Add the remaining hops after fermentation has completed.

Fermentation

Yeast

Yeast selection for NEIPA is very important. Many brewers swear by English yeast strains for their added esters, low flocculation, and lower attenuation. Fruity ester flavors of peach, bubble gum, and orange can compliment the tropical hop profile.

American yeasts, however, can also make a great choice. With a cleaner fermentation profile, NEIPAs made with American yeast allow the hop flavors to shine through brighter. The lower final gravity and reduced ester profile may not be as soft as an English strain, but it can work well when using special hops, like fresh Galaxy.

A high final gravity (FG) can be desirable for certain recipes, but it isn’t required for a good NEIPA. The difference between the perceived mouthfeel and sweetness of 1.006 and 1.0014 can be subtle. With so many other aspects at play in a beer’s perception, don’t focus too much on the final gravity. What matters most is a soft and full-bodied mouthfeel.

A great starting point is to try Wyeast’s London Ale III (WY1318). It will leave your NEIPA with substatital body and fruity esters. At the same time, however, some people find this yeast to be overly sweet, creamy, and muddled.

Here’s a non-comprehensive breakdown of some great NEIPA strains. There are endless options, including blending different strains, but the list below is a great place to start.

Liquid yeasts:

Type Strains Characteristics
English AleWY1318 – London Ale III
WLP066 – London Fog
Imperial Yeast – Juice A38
Medium to low attenuation

Medium to low flocculation
Ester and fruit forward
Soft and sweet body

Vermont Ale (Conan)The Yeast Bay – Vermont Ale

Imperial Yeast – Barbarian A04

Medium attenuation

Medium flocculation
Intense peach aroma
Full bodied but not too sweet

American AleWY1056 – American Ale

WLP001 – California Ale

Medium to high flocculation

Medium to high attenuation
Clean profile, minimal esters
Dryer finish

KveikOYL-091 – Omega Hornindal

OYL-061 – Omega Voss

Ferments very hot and very fast

Pineapple, tropical fruit character
Medium to high flocculation
Medium to high attenuation

For dry yeast options:

Type Strains Characteristics
English Ale Safale S-04

LalBrew – New England

Medium to low attenuation

Medium to low flocculation
Ester and fruit forward
Soft and sweet body
Inexpensive, abundantly available

American Ale Safale US-05Medium to high flocculation
Medium to high attenuation
Clean profile, minimal esters
Dryer finish
Inexpensive, abundantly available
Kveik LalBrew – Voss KveikFerments very hot and very fast
Pineapple, tropical fruit character
Medium to high flocculation
Medium to high attenuation

Always make sure you’re using fresh yeast and a healthy pitch rate using a yeast starter.

Water

Water chemistry is one of the biggest topics when brewers discuss NEIPA. Generally, high chloride levels help promote NEIPA’s soft mouthfeel. Sulfates help accentuate bitterness and hop flavors, but use too much and the delicate body of NEIPA can become harsh. Aim for a chloride to sulfate ratio of about 2:1. A good starting point is 200 ppm chloride and 100 ppm sulfate. Calcium, about 100 ppm, will help with yeast health.

Water chemistry should be adjusted using calcium chloride and calcium sulfate (gypsum).

Use very clean, low mineral water as a starting point. Reverse osmosis (RO), distilled, or carbon filtered water are ideal. Chlorine and chloramine found in many municipal water supplies will destroy hop expression. Make sure your water is free from those or treated with a Campden tablet, if necessary.

Packaging and Conditioning

Kegging is required to limit degradation due to oxygen – a very common problem in NEIPA. If you’ve ever had a dark looking NEIPA, or an example with an almost port-like sweetness, this is a sign of oxidation. Limiting oxygen at all points after initial yeast pitch is essential to ensure good quality and stability.

Bottle conditioning is theoretically possible, but for the most part, doesn’t result in high quality NEIPA. Oxidative flavors are extremely common in bottled conditioned NEIPA. It is not worth the risk – especially when you consider the cost of adding nearly one pound of luxurious hops per batch!

Not only is kegging imperative, extra steps should be taken to avoid oxygen exposure. Purging the keg with CO2 helps further limit exposure to oxygen. Better still, is to do a closed transfer from your fermenter to the keg. A closed transfer does not expose the beer to oxygen. The beer is transferred from the fermenter to the keg by applying head pressure with CO2.

NEIPA 2020 Sample Recipe and Process

This is a “classic” NEIPA recipe with powerhouse American hops Citra and Mosaic. Centennial is added in a smaller percentage for a bit of pine and orange flavor.

Aim for a fermenter volume of nearly 6 gallons, if possible. You’ll be dry hopping with almost a pound of hops which will absorb quite a bit of beer.

Final Volume Original Gravity Final Gravity ABV IBU SRM
5.5 Gallons 1.061 1.012 6.4% 30-50 4-5

Fermentables

Amount  PPG °L %
10 lb 2-row Malt 37 1.6 76.9
1.5 lb Flaked Oats 35 1.5 11.5
1.0 lb Rye Malt 38 2.5 3.8
0.5 lb CaraFoam (or CaraPils) 37 1.8 7.7
13 lb Total   

For extract brewers, use 8 pounds of light dry malt extract and steep 0.5 lb of CaraFoam and 0.5 lb of flaked oats.

Hops

Amount Variety AA Use Time IBU
0.5 oz Citra 13% Boil 60 min 13
1.5 oz Citra 13%

Whirlpool at 170F

20 min ~5
2 oz Mosaic 12.5% Whirlpool at 170F 20 min ~5
1 oz Centennial 10% Whirlpool at 170F 20 min ~5
2 oz Citra 13% Dry hop @ high krausen 5-7 days
1 oz Mosaic 12.5% Dry hop @ high krausen 5-7 days
3 oz Citra 13% Dry hop 3 days
3 oz Mosaic 12.5% Dry hop 3 days
2 oz Centennial 10% Dry hop 3 days
16 oz Total    

Yeast

Healthy starter of Wyeast 1318 London Ale III

Water

Use RO, carbon filtered, or distilled water. Aim for the following water profile, making adjustments with calcium chloride and calcium sulfate:

  • Sulfates – 100 ppm
  • Chloride – 200 ppm
  • Calcium – 20 ppm
  • Magnesium – 20 ppm
  • Mash pH – 5.2

Process

  • Adjust brewing water with calcium chloride and gypsum as needed.
  • Single infusion rest at 155F for 60 minutes. Sparge full volume into the kettle.
  • Bring wort to boil.
  • Add boil hops.
  • Boil for 60 minutes.
  • Chill to 170F. Turn off the chiller.
  • Add whirlpool hop additions. Cover kettle. Steep for 20 minutes at 170F.
  • Chill to yeast pitching temperature, 68F.
  • Transfer wort to fermenter, leaving trub and hops in the kettle.
  • Oxygenate wort.
  • Pitch yeast starter into fermenter and seal with airlock or blow-off tube.
  • Ferment at 68-70F.
  • Add first dry hop addition at high krausen, usually after 1 or 2 days.
  • Ferment until final gravity is stable, 5-7 more days.
  • Dry hop 3 days before packaging.
  • Cold crash and condition at 38-40F for 2 or 3 days.
  • Keg beer into CO2 purged kegs, ideally with a closed transfer to avoid oxidation.
  • Force carbonate to 2.4 vols CO2.
  • Cold condition in keg for at least 1 week to allow harsh hop flavors to mellow. If hop burn persists, condition one more week.

Final Thoughts

New England IPA has revolutionized the global craft beer scene. Invented in the age of social media, homebrewers greatly contributed to its wide-spread growth. Homebrewing NEIPA is fun and rewarding. Experimenting with hop combinations, yeast, and grain creates endless unique and delicious beers.

The New England IPA continues to evolve and refine. Drinkable, delicious, and approachable, NEIPA has carved its place in brewing history. With no end in sight, it’s positioned to maintain its popularity for years to come. We hope we convinced you to dive into brewing this style. Never fear the unclear beer!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my NEIPA turning brown?

NEIPA turns brown when it is exposed to oxygen during fermentation or packaging. Admittedly, the science behind NEIPA oxidation is still being researched. What we know is that the high protein malts and large amount of suspended hop oils seem to be extremely susceptible to oxidation.

If your beer has darkened, there isn’t anything you can do to save it at this point. If the beer’s still tasting good, keep it refrigerated and consume as quickly as you can. If the flavor is bad, it might be time to count your losses and dump the rest of the batch.

For next time:

  • Keg beer with limited exposure to oxygen. Purge the keg and try a closed-transfer.
  • Flush out the fermenter with CO2 after dry hopping.
  • Do not bottle condition NEIPA.

Why is my NEIPA harsh and grassy?

With up to a pound of hops per 5 gallon batch, NEIPA quite obviously relies heavily on hops for its flavor. Only the highest quality hops should be used when brewing NEIPA. Old or stale hops should not be used. On top of that, avoid whole leaf hops.

If the beer burns the back of the throat on the way down, this is likely what’s called “hop burn”. Harshness or astringency from the high level of hop oils causes an unpleasant burning when swallowing beer. Conditioning the NEIPA at 38F to 40F for a week should help mellow out the beer.

What makes NEIPA hazy?

At the beginning of the NEIPA boom, the stylistic haze was controversial, polarizing, and somewhat mysterious. Drinkers and brewers alike were torn as to the root causes of the haze.

It turned out that the mix of processes and ingredients used to make NEIPA is the cause of the haziness. High protein malts, low flocculating yeast, and intense amounts of high alpha hops form suspended and stable haze in NEIPA. Haze in NEIPA certainly seems greater than the sum of its parts. For a detailed look into the science of NEIPA, check out Scott Janish’s excellent book The New IPA.

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