Best Practices - Hazy IPA
Advice for Hazy IPAs/Promoting Hop Haze
We get a lot of questions about how to promote hop haze in NEIPA/other hazy-style beers, and have written up some useful advice and information below to ensure success with these popular beers styles.
Credit where credit is due: we derived a lot of our hop haze knowledge from talks by the smart hop scientists working on this stuff, especially John Paul Maye at Hopsteiner. For more info, see "Hidden Secrets of the New England IPA".
What is Hop Haze?
In order to help improve hop haze and success with Hazy IPAs, we first need to understand what hop haze is.
1. Hop haze is not yeast haze. To our best scientific knowledge, hop haze is a complex mixture of grain proteins, grain and hop polyphenols, and (possibly) yeast proteins.
2. Non-polar hop compounds contribute to haze. This includes xanthohumol, myrcene, and beta acids.
3. Proline-rich proteins are implicated in haze. These proteins can bind to polyphenols and create haze. The ratio between them may impact haze.
4. Some NEIPAs experience precipitation after packaging (chunks/snowglobing). Research is ongoing to understand this, but there may be yeast dependent and independent chemistry happening in in the beer that impacts the stability of haze particles over time.
Our advice for success with Hazy IPAs
1. Include high-protein grist ingredients, especially raw/flaked wheat. Oats improve body but do not appear to improve haze.
2. Control mash pH. Higher mash pH slightly higher than usual may promote less protein precipitation in the mash bed and therefore more soluble protein in the wort... i.e. mash pH ~5.4-5.5, and adjust wort pH as desired post boil, this theoretically helps to keep more protein in solution in the wort.
3. Be careful about hop selection. Some hops promote more haze than others. Research is ongoing to understand this. For now, consider using some hops high in myrcene or other non-polar constituents in the whirlpool/dry hop additions. Columbus, Galaxy, and Simcoe are good options.
4. Keep your yeast happy!!! When yeast is stressed (stored too long, stored warm, inadequate oxygen, etc), they break down more protein than they should as they scavenge for nitrogen. This can result in poorer foam quality, or in "snowglobing" of hop haze, or even a hazy beer turning clear. Ensure a proper pitch rate, yeast viability, and oxygenation of the wort prior to repitching. Don't leave yeast in the fermentor for too long after final gravity, either.
Yeast Selection and Handling for Hazy IPAs
Many different yeasts can be used for this beer style. Many British, American, and Kveik strains will work great for this style. From our collection, we prefer Vermont Ale, Foggy London Ale, Cerberus, Hornindal Kveik, and Ebbegarden Kveik. New strains like Hydra and Thiol Libre have also been shown to be highly compatible with hazy IPA production.
We know from practical experience that some yeasts are more "haze-positive" than others, and collaborative research is ongoing to understand this better. We will have more to share after CBC 2022.
Some well-known breweries purchase or propagate yeast fresh for every batch for this reason. Others have solved the problem by dialling in oxygenation, yeast viability, and pitch rates.