Too Many Hops? Impossible!One theory behind the cloudy IPA is…

Too Many Hops? Impossible!

One theory behind the cloudy IPA is that the wheat and oats included in the grist add more proteins to the beer. The proteins give hop oils something to grab onto keeping them in suspension, resulting in a very hoppy tasting beer. If you don’t have the hazy proteins, the hop oils will fall out of the beer and you won’t get the full effect of intensive dry hopping. 

The problem with this theory – besides the lack of scientific evidence – is that i don’t taste it. In the last year we’ve tasted dozens of hazy IPAs, and while there are some really great ones out there, for the most part, hazy IPAs taste less hoppy than their clear cousins. Often much less. When a hazy IPA works, it works beautifully. When it doesn’t it’s worse than a clear IPA that’s been sitting on the shelf for months. 


There seems to be much less planning going into new hazy IPAs. No one knows exactly how the beer will be when it leaves the brewery. No one is tasting it at one week, two weeks, and three weeks after finishing. Most of these beers seem to be one time things. They’re brewed, canned, and thrown out the door. It could just be poor quality control. 

But maybe it has something to do with the incredible number of hops in many of these beers. There’s just too many different oils and esters mixing it up in there, and the result is a muddy flavor that just doesn’t taste of much in the end. Maybe it’s just a case of less is more. 

In For the Love of Hops, Stan Hieronymus writes about Marble IPA from Albuquerque. The head brewer was doing some regular spot checking, tasting bottles of IPA that had been in cold storage. The beer that was two weeks old actually tasted better than the fresh IPA straight from the line. It was fruitier and had a more vivid hop flavor. So the brewer goes back and tries tinkering with the recipe. He tries adding more late addition hops. He tries rearranging the dry hopping schedule. Nothing. Then he tries something paradoxical; he cuts back on the hops. He finally gets that flavor he was looking for. 

Maybe, that’s why sometimes a pilsner tastes hoppier than the juicy IPA next to it. 

The Perfect Chip AccompanimentBurnside Brewing makes a great…

The Perfect Chip Accompaniment

Burnside Brewing makes a great Kolsch – crisp, refreshing, nice malty flavor. By itself, it would be an nice beer. But then they add a little lime zest and make it a great beer. Lime Kolsch is a balanced, nuanced fruit beer. The lime adds a balancing tart flavor that plays perfectly off the almost salty yeast flavor. Add a bag of tortilla chips and some spicy salsa, and you got a nice little party going. 

Hahn Superdry Lager #HahnSuperdry #Hahn #Super…

Hahn Superdry Lager #HahnSuperdry #Hahn #Superdry #SuperdryLager #Lager #Beer

Hahn Superdry Lager #HahnSuperdry #Hahn #Super…

Hahn Superdry Lager #HahnSuperdry #Hahn #Superdry #SuperdryLager #Lager #Beer

Name That OrangeWe were drinking a couple pints of Gigantic…

Name That Orange

We were drinking a couple pints of Gigantic Brewing’s Endless, a juicy IPA brewed with Citra and Mandarina hops, and I was at a loss. Obviously, it tastes of citrus. But I had the hardest time coming up with a better analogy. Is it like a satsuma? Is it a pomelo? What does a mandarin taste like again? I kept circling around looking for the right variety, but in the end I gave up. It’s been months since I’ve seen a cutie. I haven’t tasted a sumo in at least eighteen months.

Keeping track of beers in my mind is hard enough. Keeping track of three hundred fruits and vegetables is impossible. Despite writing about beer for almost seven years, I am regularly stumped trying to describe a flavor – especially in beers that rely heavily on tropical, new world hops. I am not a supertaster. Sometimes my beer notes are the typographical equivalent of a shrug. 

When it comes to writing tasting notes, every writer falls somewhere on a spectrum between between the ornate, flowery pole and the technical, utilitarian pole. One writer might describe how “sweet oranges dance with aniseed, biscuits, caramel, and hops in the tantalizing nose,” while another uses terms like DMS, diacetyl, acetaldehyde, esters, phenolic, or oxidized. Both are valid ways to evaluate beer, and no one drinker writes entirely purple prose or a technical manual. 

But all writers are trying to turn their subjective experience into something another person can objectively understand. You get into the weeds though when you’re comparing a beer to an obscure wine like barolo or a weird fruit like gooseberries. I doubt many readers can instantly imagine the scent of lanolin. (I know it well, Sarah is a prodigious knitter.)

In the end, all tasting notes are metaphorical. Unless a beer is literally infused with citrus, it only tastes like a grapefruit. I pray the “horse blanket” flavor in your lambic is figurative. But reaching for a really out there description like “Strawberry Shortcake met the Big Bad Wolf,” can be incredibly entertaining and evocative.

#Unboxing my #CarePackage of #Beer from @green…

#Unboxing my #CarePackage of #Beer from @greeneking_official Thanks guys.

#Craftbeer #RealAle #Ale #Beer #Beerporn #GreeneKingBrewery #GreeneKing #AbbotAleReserve #AbbotAle #BelhavenBrewery #HensTooth #HeritageSuffolkPaleAle #StrongSuffolk (at Victoria Park, Barry)

Having a pint in Britain’s smallest pub….

Having a pint in Britain’s smallest pub. The Nutshell Bury St Edmunds.

#Craftbeer #RealAle #Ale #Beer #Beerporn #BritainsSmallestPub #GreeneKing #GreeneKingBrewery (at The Nutshell, smallest pub in UK)

Up bright and early this morning for my visit …

Up bright and early this morning for my visit to @greeneking_official. Travelling from West to East right across the English Countryside. Keep an eye out for updates and video on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

#Craftbeer #RealAle #Ale #Beer #Beerporn #GreeneKing #GreeneKingBrewery (at Cardiff Central railway station)

Tonight 7.30pm UK, LIVE on our Facebook page w…

Tonight 7.30pm UK, LIVE on our Facebook page we will be taking a look at these Polish Craft Beers from @browar_kormoran @browar_widawa @kraftowybrowarkazimierz & @browarjana many thanks to @kopyr for the beers. Tune in here for the broadcast (at Victoria Park, Barry)

Hop TonicIt’s been a while since we’ve sampled a good double…

Hop Tonic

It’s been a while since we’ve sampled a good double IPA. It seems that the new hazy IPA trend has been covering up a more sinister drop in alcohol. All the hazies I’ve seen lately are 7% ABV and under. Makes you wonder. 

But Hair of the Dog recently released Green Dot, an extra special 9.5% ABV version of their classic Blue Dot double IPA. It’s a boozy beast designed to deliver optimal hop flavor. Like a tincture, the higher alcohol absorbs hop oils and delivers the resins directly to the user. A spoonful honeyed malt sweetness meets a juicy fruit flavor – melon and mango – before being swept away in a therapeutic wave of floral piney bitterness. The finish is a little medicinal, like cherry cough syrup, completing the image.