Two Brewers Admit Their Methods for Haze

Eno Sarris, May 26, 2016

When we last talked about the main characteristics of the hazy, juicy North East IPA that have become so popular, we decided that *how* the beer was made was important to our discussion of the style.

How much of the haze came from dry-hopping? From yeast? From starches? 

Along with Fieldwork's help, we've begun looking at some of the beers under the miscrocope and it turns out that some of them are yeast bombs. There are allegations of flour being added to beers. And then there's a possiblity that *when* you dry-hop is a big deal. 

Well, now one prominent brewer has admitted to using flour. And another has given us a blow-by-blow account of how he gets the haze in his beer. 

Jean Broillet IV of Tired Hands was on the Steal This Beer Podcast recently, and confirmed the 'flour in beer' story, at least for the milkshake series. This is what he said about Tired Hands Milkshake series, inspired by brewing with Cellarmaker and Omnipollo:

  • lactose sugar for heft
  • green apple puree
  • wheat flour to kettle to infuse a perma pectin haze
  • post-fermentation fruit
  • secondary fermentation post-secondary dry hop
  • vanilla bean 

He also mentioned 30-40% oats in the grist for the Jester King Collab, but he said in "typical Tired Hands fashion." So not only does Tired Hands use flour, but they also use oats and fruit puree. There are traditionalists that are currently shuddering. 

Over at Cerebral Brewing, there's a very similar gameplan. In their Treatise on Haze, Cerebral outlines their approach to their hazy beers:

  • Modifying the brewing water to increase chloride levels and soften the mouthfeel
  • Adding oats, wheat and spelt for mouthfeel and body to the beer
  • Adding the bulk of your hot side hop additions during the whirlpool step
  • Dry hopping during the end of active fermentation
  • No filtering or cold fining

So the roadmap for the hazy NEIPA seems to include both flour and massive dry hopping at a specific moment in the brewing process, as well as less filtering. Sometimes there's going to be fruit puree in the beer. Most of the time it'll look like a hefe and not an IPA -- to the point that Cerebral has started just calling them "hoppy beers" instead of IPAs. 

Perhaps we'll get a new style guide and these beers will have to be separated out. As of now, these beers are dominating our leaderboards and message boards. And they're doing it despite being made with tactics that are new school. 

No wonder people are shaking their fists. 

Thanks to Michael Donato and Larry Koestler for their contributions to this piece.
Image courtesy Cerebral Brewing.