Which yeast to brew a NEIPA?

Which yeast to brew a NEIPA?

At Fermentis, we pay a lot of attention to what’s happening in different markets. What are the challenges? Where are the opportunities? What’s on trend right now? Currently, one of the leading trends in the beer world is the New England IPA style. Gabriela Montandon, our Technical Manager Sensory Analysis, tells us more about New England IPA and explains how Fermentis works to create adapted solutions for this style.


  • What is NEIPA? Besides haziness, what are its key characteristics? 


New England IPA is a new and on-trend style of the IPA family (a family of beers mainly known as very hoppy and mostly bitter). NEIPA beers exhibit many sensory aspects that vary from conventional IPAs. The best way to describe it may be that it’s a “juicy beer.” Even though it can range from 5-7% ABV, drinking a NEIPA beer is almost like drinking a rich, fresh fruit juice, as the hops and yeast contribute to producing those fruity flavors.

Haziness is also an important character of this beer style, a consequence of its particular ingredient composition. This type of beer is usually pale in color and presents a mild, neutral malt character, allowing its fruity-hop flavors to dominate, with a distinctly fresh intensity.

With a NEIPA, you can expect hop flavors in the tropical fruit family, like mango, pineapple, passion fruit, and guava, as well as citrus fruit flavors, like orange, lime and tangerine. You might even detect some stone fruit character, like peach and apricot. And it’s all about the hop aromas, which are not necessarily bitter. As opposed to other IPA styles, NEIPA tends to have moderate-to-low bitter intensity, with a smooth finish. Lastly, the body of the beer plays an important role, which it needs to do in order to be supportive of the juicy sensation. As a result, you get a very aromatic, flavorful, and highly drinkable beer. 


  • How does one manage to brew a typical NEIPA? What are some key recommendations?


Typically, you should use malted barley, as well as oats and wheat, because they all contribute to the creamy character, the body and the haziness of the beer. Our second recommendation is to consider a rather important charge of hops (0.5 – 1.5 kg/hl) only in late hop additions (late hopping and dry hopping with no or limited kettle hop addition during boiling). We suggest to primarily use fruity hop varieties (citra, simcoe, mosaic, galaxy, amarillo, el dorado, etc.). And of course, always use the right yeast strain!


  • Does yeast play a different role with NEIPA? How does it compare to the neutral yeast flavor contribution in classic IPA?


The impact of yeast on hop flavor expression is a new and exciting topic! We have studied in depth the impact of different yeast strains on NEIPA flavor expression. Yeast can affect it in different ways, not only on neutral flavors: how yeast affects the production of and contribution to fruity flavors – and multiple other interactions – can be significant. In fact, yeast will not only play a direct role in flavor formation, it can improve the release of some important hop flavors from precursors. To summarize, yeast can favor the hop character of beer by producing, releasing or interacting with important hop aroma compounds. Yeast also has an important role in the body of the beer; its suspension or sugar consumption profile can contribute to the mouthfeel of the beer, especially in this style with its “juicy” character.


  • Can you explain more about biotransformation?


Biotransformation is the capacity of the yeast to metabolize or transform different molecules, and it is very important in the formation and release of some specific aromatic hop flavor components. Some of these components have intense tropical, citric or floral character. Without the activity of the yeast, these flavors wouldn’t be released and perceived in the beer.


  • How can a Fermentis yeast solution contribute to this beer style? 


We picked several yeast strains out of our beer yeast range, and studied their flavor expressions in one reference NEIPA recipe. Basically, we evaluated the impact of the yeast on hop flavor perceptions in a controlled manner, both sensorially and analytically.

As a result, we have three specific yeast strains that are more suited to this style: SafAle K-97, SafAle S-33 and SafAle S-04.
S-33 has the juiciest character and allows the release of intense hop tropical notes; S-04, on the other hand, releases more stone fruit notes and citric character. K-97 has the most green, herbal and citric side of the hop character. Those are the three solutions we selected for having a juicy, hoppy and hazy beer in which the different fruity nuances can be driven by the yeast. You can observe the character of each of them on the graphs below.




  • Would you recommend mixing these three yeasts in one brew? Some internet data shows that mix-yeast traces were found in some commercial NEIPA. 


We did not evaluate mixed yeasts; we only evaluated them separately. But we have nothing against the mixed use of the three yeasts strains we selected. However, the brewer must consider that the yeasts can interact with each other, and eventually one specific yeast can dominate the fermentation. Consequently, you may have less reproducibility over different batches and would no longer be able to reuse or re-pitch the yeasts once their proportions have changed.


Interested by those solutions? Discover all our beer yeast range by clicking here!

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