If you made out to the Homebrew Hangout last Wednesday evening, you know that milkshake IPAs are not my favourite style. But who cares what I think?! According to the cool kids, milkshakes are the bee’s knees. With that in mind, I figured I should try it out. Please note that Dairy Jaws is my first attempt at the style. This post, and the second instalment that will follow it, should serve as a bit of a reminder for those who caught the talk, but also as a good reference point for both Milkshake IPAs and NEIPAs.
The way I look at a Milkshake IPA is that the base style is a NEIPA. Now this, I’m familiar with; I have brewed a few over the last little while and do enjoy a pint or 3 of this style from time to time. So, what are we looking for? If you have had Heady Topper from Alchemist, Susan from Hillfarmstead or Julius from Tree House, you have tried the benchmarks of this style. In a NEIPA, we are looking for hugely hop forward flavours and aromas, with an emphasis on late hop additions. In other words, less perceived bitterness than traditional West Coast IPAs. The beer should have a soft, moderately full body and a slight residual sweetness. The style is well known for its hazy appearance.
NOTE: HAZY does not mean MURKY! Make sure you dial in your pH to get the right colour. Haze is present because of the techniques we are using – high oat malt bill and less flocculating yeast. Read on for more specifics.
QUICK STYLE BREAKDOWN
I kept the above notes in mind when trying to create the base recipe for Dairy Jaws. There are obvious similarities between NEIPAs and West Coast IPAs, but the colour and the lack of bitterness are the keys. I have taken the original recipe and scaled it down to a 19L (5G) batch size. Follow this link Dairy Jaws Milkshake IPA or HeyZeus NEIPA.
Water and pH. Dial in your pH to the 5.2-5.4 range. This is going to significantly help with colour as well as the hop aroma we are looking for. I brew with tap water that runs through a filter to pull out all the chlorine and chloramines. If you doctor your water, use an IPA base but increase the chloride level to help soften the mouthfeel up to 180-200ppm.
Malt Bill. I have played around with some very high percentages of oats, oat malt and flaked wheat (35%+) but, in the end, 20% of the malt bill being oats seems to be the ideal range. Gravity should be 1.050-1.065.
Yeast. As I said, we are looking for a slight fruity peach ester from our yeast – Dairy Jaws was brewed with Wyeast 1318 London 3. Other options include Escarpment Foggy London, Escarpment Vermont, WLP095 Burlington, WLP007 Dry English or Omega DIPA. Believe it or not, I have used all of these yeasts and my preferred at the moment are the Foggy London and the 1318 (psssst they are the same thing…)
Now the important part HOPS!
You are going to use a lot of hops to make this happen. The most commonly used varieties are the obvious ones: Citra, Mosaic, Galaxy, Mandarina Bavaria, and more Citra. I’d always encourage you branch out and play around with alternate hops but, if you are trying to recreate the style for the first time, maybe start with a few of these. I always use back up hops in my hoppier styles and, in this case, there are lots of options. Anything with a C is probably a good bet - Cascade, Centennial, CTZ (Columbus) - plus Amarillo and Simcoe.
Hop Additions and Times. If you are going to add hops early in the boil, I would go FWH (First Wort Hopping); this will mellow out a bit of the bitterness and help keep it in the 20IBU range. Otherwise, for boil additions, the earliest I would add anything is 5min before flameout. For the Dairy Jaws brew, no hops were added until after flameout and whirlpooling. Note that Dairy Jaws has a perceived bitterness of 38 IBU.
Whirlpool temperatures are key. High isomerization is between 85-99C+ (185-210F). I find whirlpool a fun way to play around on brew day - the day gets pretty boring if you don’t have any hop drops! Different hops will produce different aroma and flavours if whirlpooled at different temperatures. For example, in Dairy Jaws, we whirlpooled Simcoe for 15min @ 95C (203F) in the hopes that it would produce more of its passion fruit and berry notes - not exactly what Simcoe is known for. We then used Citra and Idaho7 @ 85C (185F) for an additional 15mins to try and impart some intense citrus notes. There does not seem to be a ton of information readily available at this point about whirlpool temps and hop variety variations. To me, this is part of the fun of the style and the technique used; there are a lot of things to discover.
Now for the actual Milkshake side of things. Everything to this point is really talking about how to nail a NEIPA, but the people demand milkshakes, so let’s look at it.
For Diary Jaws, we added in lactose in the last 10min of the boil in order to create more body and a smoother mouthfeel, giving the illusion of a thick milkshake. I recommend 1lb for a 5G batch, but use your discretion. For the original Dairy Jaws brew we added less than a 1lb per 5G batch; I ended up doing a quick boil of another lactose addition that went into secondary to achieve the mouthfeel we were looking for.
Alright. This brings us to the end of brew day, and to the end of this post. Check back in a few days for a follow-up about what comes next. I’ll be chatting primary fermentation dry hopping, common additions (fruit and otherwise), and equipment considerations. Until then, happy brewing!