East coast IPA has swept across the world as hopheads like you and me fall for its hugely fruitiness, soft palate and low bitterness. It only takes one to convince you this style, and the methods employed, has the power to change brewing.
Since trying Heady Topper I have been obsessed with the idea of using fruity yeast esters to back up the big citrus notes of modern American hops. It suddenly dawned on me that while letting the hops shine is admirable, some yeasts have esters that can complement rather than distract the palate. I found a kindred spirit in the awesome Sam from Gipsy Hill brewery and, along with his head brewer Simon, decided to give the style a go over the pond here in the UK. As you can tell from the video of the brewday, we learnt a lot very quickly…
The concept of the east coast IPA revolves around three things – a wheat-based malt bill, an estery yeast like British ale or Conan, and a focus on dry hopping. Together these factors make for a hugely fruity, full-bodied IPA with a (stylistically) very low bitterness of around 30IBU.
But that’s not all – the brewers who invented this style have pioneered a new way of dry hopping. Rather than waiting for the fermentation and sediment to subside and adding your hops, brewers like Treehouse, Trillium, Other Half and the Alchemist have added their hops within the first few days of fermentation in the hope that the hop oils will stay in suspension with the yeast and wheat proteins to infuse the cloudy beer with all the esters and hoppiness available.
The jury is still out on whether this works, but it’s undeniable that these yeasty IPAs are absurdly fruity. It’s partly down to the obsession most brewers have with fruity fruit hops like El Dorado and mosaic, but also because of the new techniques employed. Below is the recipe we used for our brewday, including all the tweaks we made after the first version to make the most of the hops. Our first version lacked a little aroma and was too thin. Version two, which the recipe recipe is based on, is quite the opposite. Enjoy!
Ingredients per litre
Low colour pale 170g (6oz)
Cara gold 20g (0.7oz)
Flaked oats 52g (1.8oz)
Flaked wheat 30g (1oz)
Torrified wheat 10g (0.3oz)
Wheat malt 50g (1.8oz)
1ml golden syrup
Pilgrim hops 0.3g (0.1oz)
El Dorado 2g (0.07oz)
Azacca 1.2g (0.04oz)
Equinox 1g (0.035oz)
0.7g British ale or conan-style yeast (0.24oz)
Dry hop charges
4x 1g of El Dorado, Azacca & Equinox (4 x 0.035oz)
For a 30l brew like ours:
30 litre total water, 16.5 litre mash, 13.5 litre sparge – yields 20l for bottling.
Low colour pale 5.2kg (183oz)
Cara gold 600g (21oz)
Flaked oats 1.55kg (55oz)
Flaked wheat 900g (32oz)
Torrified wheat 300g (10.5oz)
Wheat malt 1.55kg (55oz)
2 tablespoons golden syrup (30ml)
1 tablespoon treacle (15ml)
Pilgrim hops 9g (0.32oz)
El Dorado 61g (2.2oz)
Azacca 36g (1.3oz)
Equinox 30g (1oz)
20g British ale or conan-style yeast (0.7oz)
4x 30g of El Dorado, Azacca & Equinox (4 x 1oz)
OG: 1.068 | FG: 1.015
Mash at a temperature of 68ºC/155ºF. Mash in and stir for one hour.
Sparge at 75ºC/168ºF, then add the pilgrim and syrups.
Bring to the boil and boil for one hour.
Reduce to 90ºC/195ºF checking gravity and using cold water to liquor back if necessary. Then add the remaining boil hops. Leave to infuse for 30 minutes.
Chill down to 22ºC/70ºF. Add the first dry-hop charge to the fermentor then pour the beer on top.
Pitch the yeast and ferment at 22ºC/70ºF.
Add a dry-hop charge at 50% fermented, 75% fermented and just before cold crashing for at least 24 hours.