Having just kicked a NEPA I enjoyed I really wanted to brew a NEIPA. I happened to have a couple of keg lines free so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to brew a double batch and ferment them with different yeast strains for comparison. Initially I had decided to make this the only differing factor between the two batches, but in the end I decided to change the dry hops up a little as well. I didn’t really want to end up with two nearly identical beer if the differing yeast strains ended up being more similar than expected.
The first yeast strain was an easy choice, Wyeast 1318 London Ale III. It has become my house yeast strain if there’s such a term in home brewing. The other was one a friend had given me, Funktown Pale Ale from The Yeast Bay. That was a strain I was inexperienced with, I knew it was supposed to have a blend of Conan and Brett Brux Trois therefore I was assuming it would express some peach and tropical fruit notes.
I won’t go into the fine details of recipe creation as I did that on my last post here on brewing a NEPA. My approach involved a simple grain bill with a hefty percentage of flaked oats (~18%), heavy late hop additions and dry hopping on day 3 and day 7 of fermentation. I’m not saying this is the best approach, simply the one that has worked well for me so far.
Normally I keep hops limited to two or three varieties at most. I like being able to pick out each hop, what they add to the beer and how they work with the other variety(ies) I’ve chosen. This time however I decided to use four (in the LAIII batch), I assumed this would still allow each hop to stand out without getting too muddled. For this beer I decided to go with Mosaic, Hallertau Blanc, Chinook and Equinox. I really enjoy all of them though the Mosaic and Equinox are definitely up there as a couple of my favourite hops. I love how dank and tropical Mosaic can be, Equinox has the papaya/lime/green pepper thing going. HB is a hop I haven’t used much before but it’s supposed to have some tropical fruit, citrus, floral and herbal character. I was hoping Chinook would add more citrus and piney notes. I mean all that sounds like it would work well together, or at least for the most part. Dank, tropical, fruit and citrus combined with the mouth feel of a NEIPA and yeast strains that exude fruit character.
It did work well together, these were two of the best IPA’s I’ve brewed thus far. I was surprised at just how different they were and how each of them changed over time. Initially they were identical beer simply fermented with different yeast strains. Even early on in fermentation I could tell they would be quite different. The Funktown version was much more pale and beyond hazy, I would even say murky compared to the LAIII. This continued to be consistent through dry hopping, at kegging and right up to the time they kicked.
I tried numerous blind taste tests and I was able to pick out which beer was which every single time. The equinox dry hop addition for the LAIII really stuck out for me, presumably because I’m familiar with it and it has a distinctive flavor. The Funktown was slightly more acidic and the mouth feel was different, but both were very good in my opinion.
I shared this beer with a number of fellow beer geeks and I have to say it was mostly split on which they preferred. For me I seemed to enjoy the LAIII version just a little bit more. I liked what the Funktown strains brought to this beer but I will be sticking with LAIII for the foreseeable future. I can definitely recommend brewing either or both!
Recipe Targets: 8 gallons, OG 1.058, FG 1.010, ABV 6.3%, IBU 50, SRM 3.7
5.40 kg 2-row (65.4%)
1.52 kg Flaked Oats (18.4%)
0.78 kg Flaked Wheat (9.4%)
0.38 kg Acid Malt (4.6%)
0.20 kg Rice Hulls (2.4%)
7.00 g Polaris [21.00 %] – Boil 60min 11.6 IBUs
30.00 g Chinook [11.00 %] – Boil 5min 5.2 IBUs
30.00 g Hallertau Blanc [8.00 %] – Boil 5min 3.8 IBUs
30.00 g Mosaic [11.30 %] – Boil 5min 5.3 IBUs
50.00 g Chinook [11.00 %] – Steep 15min 10.8 IBUs
25.00 g Mosaic [11.30 %] – Steep 15min 5.5 IBUs 50.00 g Hallertau Blanc [8.00 %] – Steep 15min 7.8 IBUs 50.00 g Chinook CHILL [11.00 %] – Boil 0min 0.0 IBUs
50.00 g Mosaic CHILL [11.30 %] – Boil 0min 0.0 IBUs
25.00 g Hallertau Blanc CHILL [8.00 %] – Boil 0min 0.0 IBUs
25.00 g Hallertau Blanc [8.00 %] – Dry Hop Day 3
15.00 g Mosaic [11.30 %] – Dry Hop Day 3
25.00 g Chinook [11.00 %] – Dry Hop Day 3
30.00 g Chinook [11.00 %] – Dry Hop Day 7
20.00 g Mosaic [11.30 %] – Dry Hop Day 7
30.00 g Hallertau Blanc [8.00 %] – Dry Hop Day 7
35g Mosaic – Dry Hop Day 3
35g Equinox – Dry Hop Day 3 35g Mosaic – Dry Hop Day 7 35g Equinox – Dry Hop Day 7
2 tsp Yeast Nutrient – Boil 10.0 min
Batch 1 – Wyeast 1318 London Ale III
Batch 2 – TYB Funktown Pale Ale
Brewed September 24th. Mashed in with 21.5L of 161F water to hit strike temp of 150F. Mashed out with 12L of 202F water. Batch sparged with 13L of 165F water. Pre boil gravity a point low at 1.049, 60 minute boil. OG a few points low at 1.055. Wort chiled to 60F, split between two carboys.
Fermentation temp topped out at 70F. Dry hops added on day 3 and 7. Kegged on day 11. Force carbed and being served on day 13.
Funktown – FG 1.009 6.0%
Appearance: Extremely hazy and even murky. Cloudy, pale straw yellow in color. Pours with a ¼” white head which dissipates quickly and leaves a slight ring.
Aroma: A big punch of hops, slightly dank, tropical, fruit and citrus.
Taste: Flavor is consistent with the aroma. Tons of hop flavor, mostly fruit and tropical. Very punchy.
Mouthfeel: Moderate mouth feel. Very slight acidity, finishes reasonably dry. Also seems to line the mouth.
Overall: I was surprised by how murky this beer was, especially early on. I didn’t mind but I could see how some would find it unsettling. Otherwise a great NEIPA, very juicy. I won’t be using this yeast strain combination to replace my LAIII any time soon but I would use it again.
LAIII – FG 1.010 5.9%
Appearance: Pours with a ½” white head which fades to 1/8” eventually but persists. Light golden in colour, very hazy but no murk.
Aroma: Similar to the Funktown with tropical and fruit notes dominating. I could really pick out the Equinox early on.
Taste: Tons of tropical and fruit hop flavor. Tropical fruit salad would best describe it.
Mouthfeel: Moderate to full. No acidity present compared to the FT. Finishes similarly though, reasonably dry.
Overall: Though some preferred the Funktown version, this was the clear winner for me. Extreme haze without the murk. More pronounced fruit aroma and flavour, very drinkable. I’ll be brewing something similar again early in the new year with different hops.