Turbid Time: Everything You Need to Know About the Hazy IPA Craze

A poured-out close-up of Heady TopperWhen your gaze hits the haze of an IPA known to amaze, you may rethink the importance of clarity in your favorite brewed masterpiece.

Up until recently, turbidity was considered shameful – a blatant disregard for adequate filtration during the brewing process that causes debris to remain in the beer, thus adding a murky tint to the color of the final product. It’s carelessness, really. Why spend all that time crafting a brew fit for the beer gods, just to ruin it before it’s laid to rest in its crystalline chalice? Criminal charges should be filed!

Not anymore, fellow connoisseurs. Today’s turbid beer – or at least the ones crafted by skillful hands – is hazy by design.

Introducing the “hazy IPA” that’s flipping the craft beer world upside down on its keg.

 

What is a hazy IPA?

This fairly new breed of brew has been addressed by many names:  “turbid,” “hazy” and even “cloudy,” but don’t be fooled by its aliases — they’re all referring to the same family of luscious liquid that many simply call “delicious.”

The concept originated on the northeastern coast in the Vermont and New England area. In addition to its iconically clouded body, the original hazy IPA featured tropical hops with a fruity citrus punch, accompanied by a subtle yet distinct bitterness. Today, the category is represented largely by one of its pioneering fathers and maker of “America’s most coveted beer,” The Alchemist’s John Kimmich.

A close-up of John Kimmich as he discusses turbid beer and turbid beermakingIf there’s anything John knows, it’s hazy IPAs. In this short video, he explains the nature of a great turbid beer and how its components can significantly change over time.

If you would rather not watch the video, skip down to the next line, and we’ll give you some important quotes from John, himself. Otherwise, drop down to the next out-dented paragraph.

John Kimmich says:

“When a can sits and ages, off-resins [and] proteins will drop out of the solution. The beer will become more bright as it ages, and you will get sediment on the bottom of the can.”

“Being unfiltered and unpasteurized, [the beer] continues to change in the can, which is not a bad thing. It’s just different. If you like your IPAs super young and green and raw, you drink it right away. If you like it to be a bit more refined and graceful, you let it sit and age. As long as you store it properly [in a fridge or cooler], you could age a can for a year, if you wanted to.”

So now you know how volatile a hazy IPA can be. In fact, Kimmich has performed a taste-testing experiment that proves a turbid beer can change by the day. Keep this in mind when trying to find the optimal flavor of your favorite hazy beverage.

 

Making your own turbid beer

DISCLAIMER: the perfect hazy IPA recipe has been heavily guarded by the people of its northeast origin.

That means the most exciting part about creating your own batch of turbid beer is that there is no exact science to follow. The possibilities are endless!

What we do know is that proper turbidity in beer is created by a process called “dry hopping,” or adding hops to a beer after it’s been brewed but before it’s been bottled and carbonated, some time during the secondary fermentation process.

So what does a St. Louis turbid beer taste like? We’re not sure yet, because you haven’t made it!

 

 To get started, you will need...

  • A St. Louis Wine & Beermaking IPA brewing kit or APA brewing kit
    • Includes
      • Malt extract syrup
      • Specialty grains
      • Hops
      • Yeast
      • Spices and flavorings
      • Grain bag
      • Priming Sugar
      • Bottle caps
      • Easy-to-follow guide
  • Your imagination! Get creative with your brewed concoction.

If you would like to use ingredients that aren’t already included in your kit, shop our large selection of supplies online or visit us in Chesterfield; our staff can help you in your brewing endeavors, no matter what your experience level.

Don’t forget to share your turbid beer creations with us in all their hazy glory on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #TurbidTime. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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