Hazy IPA beers are also commonly known as New England India Pale Ales (NEIPAs), and have their origin with John Kimmich at the Vermont brewery, The Alchemist, back in 2003. His creation, the “Heady Topper,” is recognized as the original hazy IPA. Since then, the popularity of hazy IPAs has taken off, with breweries across the United States making their own versions.
What makes them hazy?
Traditionally if you poured a glass of beer and it appeared opaque or hazy, there was a problem with the brew. Most homebrewers don’t filter out the yeast and make the beer cloudy. In other situations, it could be a sign the beer has bacteria growth and has “gone bad.” However, the haziness in a NEIPA is intentional. There are many contributing factors to its appearance:
- Dry-hopping. Dry-hopping or “late edition hopping” means the hops are added either very late in fermentation or after fermentation has concluded. Brewers use hops high in tropical and fruity aromas to counteract the otherwise bitter taste of an IPA, and the dry-hopping method helps retain those flavors. Because they are added late in the process, the molecules don’t break down as much and will contribute to the cloudiness.
- Proteins and polyphenols. That sounds like a mouthful, but it’s a simple concept. Proteins are derived from the malts used, such as oats and wheat. Polyphenols are the aromatic chemical compounds that make fruits and plants smell good. This beer contains polyphenols from the dry hops (as “hop oils”) discussed above and any added fruit or citrus adjuncts. When proteins and polyphenols come together, they bind together and create a “colloidal haze” that isn’t water-soluble and appears opaque.
- Unfiltered process. Many commercial beers are filtered to give them a crisp taste and light feel. Hazy IPAs are not. Instead, the haziness gives it the qualities brewers are striving to achieve.
- Yeast. Yes, some of the yeast in the beer does contribute to the haze. Different yeasts react differently after fermentation. After eating the sugars, some yeasts will flocculate or clump together and sink to the bottom. Others will remain more suspended throughout the liquid. The type of yeast selected by the brewer is related to the taste they are trying to achieve, and if it has a low flocculation quality, there will be more haze to the final product.
Why do people like hazy IPAs?
In general, IPAs are known to be very bitter, with a higher IBU than other beers. However, by using the dry hopping method and choosing malts and hops that lend themselves to the haze, the result is a thick, satisfying mouthfeel with a lower perceived bitterness. Those that enjoy hazy IPAs note the strong aromatic tropical notes of citrus or fruit and often refer to the beverage as “juicy.” If you’ve strayed away from IPAs because of the bitterness, you may enjoy a hazy IPA instead.
The Growler Guys is your one-stop destination to try beers of every style.
Explore the growing variety of beers in one taproom, The Growler Guys. Each of our locations carries the best local varieties, from the palest ales to the darkest stouts, along with ciders and kombucha. Our friendly staff is happy to walk you through the characteristics of every style to help you discover your personal favorites. Take home the beers you love best in a growler to share with family and friends. View our online tap list to learn about the selections currently available at a location near you!