All NEIPA recipes taste the same

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RyPA

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I brew 5-6 NEIPA's a year and always switch up the hop combinations, but I find that they all taste nearly identical. Certain hops claims to have notes of pineapple, peach, stonefruit, etc. , but I do not get that experience. Is it my process, or are my 43 year old taste buds losing it?

In both of the below processes, I keep o2 exposure to a minimum and the beers remain looking like OJ until the keg kicks

My most common NEIPA process:
1. Mash at around 154F for 60 minutes
2. Boil for 30 minutes
3. Whirlpool a few oz of hops at 160-170 for 30 minutes
4. Chill to 95F when using Kveik
5. Ferment until I reach FG
6. Add a dry hops to the keg, commando, and put it in my kegerator
7. Begin drinking after a few days

I recently did a batch using Verdant yeast and made slight changes:
1. Mash at around 154F for 60 minutes
2. Boil for 30 minutes
3. Whirlpool a few oz of hops at 160-170 for 30 minutes
4. Chill to 68F when using Verdant
5. Added a few oz of hops at high krausen
6. Ferment until FG reached
7. Waited 3 more days
8. Add a dry hops to the keg, commando, and put it in my kegerator
9. Begin drinking after a few days

Do I need more time for fermentation, more time dry hopping warm?
 
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I don’t have the most discerning tastebuds either. I also collect hops like some people collect stamps. And I definitely see where you’re coming from.

It can only help things to up your oxygen-exclusion game when you’re making IPAs. And it’s possible that your beers would taste different from each other fresh but all taste similar once oxidation sets in. There are a gazillion posts and dozens of folks ready to help if you want to look at improving your process.

I would recommend only using two aroma hops in any given recipe, partly because I don’t think you actually need more, but mostly because it’s the best way to figure out what you’re doing.

There are a few hops that are overwhelming. If you’re using Citra, chances are good your beer is going to taste like Citra, whatever else you do with the recipe. Ditto Sabro. In my opinion, ditto Nelson.

But yeah, there have been a ton of times when people are raving about some new hop (hi, Vista!) and going into specifics about all the different things that they can taste in it, and I’m thinking, “yeah, tastes like a generically fruity New World hop.”

But there are some hops that really stand out as different. Here are just a few suggestions for combinations that (I think!) I could pick out of a lineup (and also think are really good):

Citra & Amarillo
Cashmere & Nelson
Cascade & Centennial
Sabro & Talus
Nectaron & Grove
Lotus & Bergamot
 
@AlexKay I think I can rule o2 exposure out of the issue. I ferment and serve from the same keg, so my beer really only has the chance of seeing o2 when I dry hop. When I dry hop, I purge 10-15 times so the beer sees oxygen for only 10 seconds tops.

Regarding hop combinations, maybe that is it. I almost always have Citra in the mix, and in some cases Galaxy which I heard can be overpowering. Maybe what I need is to find hop combinations that will give me some varying flavors. I was hoping my latest batch would bring something new to the table, but it's just an average NEIPA (Citra, Amarillo, Necatron fermented with Verdant).

I also want to add that I only have hot-side fermentation temperature control. So when using kveik I can keep it at 95F, but for yeasts that like it colder, I have to rely on room temperature. This time of year works given I live in NJ, and I can get to 65-68.
 
There's an off flavor in every beer I've made with it.
Careful, the kveik marketing people will fall out of their prams. It’s not an off flavour, it’s “kveikness”, apparently. Just like down is “up” and night is “day”. It’s crazy what marketing can make people do, against their own best interests. I don’t buy it, why go to all the effort preparing a nice sweet wort then pitch something like kveik?

I brew 5-6 NEIPA's a year and always switch up the hop combinations, but I find that they all taste nearly identical. Certain hops claims to have notes of pineapple, peach, stonefruit, etc. , but I do not get that experience. Is it my process, or are my 43 year old taste buds losing it?
The differences between hops can be quite subtle. Very few of us would stop drinking beer if our favourite hop varieties disappeared. But you can train your self to detect subtle differences. As noted already, by using fewer hops, for example. I usually do a small SMASH brew when trying new hops. But, yes, the marketing is often 90% BS. That’s marketing.
 
I recently did a batch using Verdant yeast and made slight changes:
1. Mash at around 154F for 60 minutes
2. Boil for 30 minutes
3. Whirlpool a few oz of hops at 160-170 for 30 minutes
4. Chill to 68F when using Kveik
5. Added a few oz of hops at high krausen
6. Ferment until FG reached
7. Waited 3 more days
8. Add a dry hops to the keg, commando, and put it in my kegerator
9. Begin drinking after a few days

Was this second batch with Verdant? Or kveik?

If Verdant, was your problem perceived in both batches? One kveik, one Verdant?
 
I’ve been playing around with my own versions of low ABV NEIPA and trying to study what information is out there. My next step is using phantasm from More Beer and then thiolized yeast strains. I’m just changing one thing at a time, to see how it works for me, but I believe the instructions say to use the phantasm with the thiolized yeast. Bio-transformation to pull out the desired flavor notes from the hops is what I’m going after. There are several interesting podcasts available where all the above is discussed by people with more knowledge and experience than I have.
:mug:
 
There are several interesting podcasts available where all the above is discussed by people with more knowledge and experience than I have.
How many of them have a financial interest in pushing certain ideas? That’s the first thing I consider, “What’s this individual trying to sell me?” Then, “Where’s the data?”. There’s some interesting research being done, but a lot of marketing BS too.
 
How many of them have a financial interest in pushing certain ideas? That’s the first thing I consider, “What’s this individual trying to sell me?” Then, “Where’s the data?”. There’s some interesting research being done, but a lot of marketing BS too.
I’m making different versions of NEIPA so I can see for myself if what they are selling works for me. I won’t have any data, just my personal opinion about how the beer comes out.
 
No, they don't. HTH.

Being slightly less facetious and slightly more helpful, what's your wider process? Hop combinations? I had several very samey NEIPAs early in my brewing experience because I hadn't dialled in good practice and used rather questionable recipes.

Walk us through a full brew day. Hopping rates, hop selection, split between boil/whirlpool/dry hop, etc.
 
I don't know where this idea that Kveik plays nice with NEIPAs comes from. It ferments much too dry at worts under about 1.080. if you want the fruity hops to pop you need residual sugars.

Also, looking at previous posts, if you're doing standard 5G batches "a few ounces" of hops in the whirlpool is waaaay low. Minimum 4oz cryo or 7-8oz standard T90 pellets if you really want them to pop.
 
OP has to confirm, but I believe their mentioning kveik in both batches is erroneous. The way I read it, they're experiencing the same thing in both kveik and Verdant batches.
 
Lots of great advice above. I have found in my ales made with Verdant that whatever the percentage of whirlpool hops used, I bitter with the same percentage i.e. if I'm boiling for 60 minutes and going to whirlpool 3 different hops @ 1oz each, my bitter addition is equal portions of all 3 hops. I have found this gives me more expression of the flavors of the different hops than no bittering addition and only whirlpool or something neutral like Magnum/Warrior for bittering and the whirlpool addition.
 
Regarding hop combinations, maybe that is it. I almost always have Citra in the mix, and in some cases Galaxy which I heard can be overpowering. Maybe what I need is to find hop combinations that will give me some varying flavors. I was hoping my latest batch would bring something new to the table, but it's just an average NEIPA (Citra, Amarillo, Necatron fermented with Verdant).

Most NEIPAs do have citra in them and that's one of the common flavors I'm seriously getting sick of. Nectaron is a blend and as far as I can tell, it tastes like Citra and Amarillo. It can help to try single hops to really appreciate what they can do.
 
Nectaron is NOT a blend. Nectaron hops
This. Nectaron has a weird heritage, IIRC it's either Fuggle/Saaz or Fuggle/Cluster descended so the pineapple and stone fruit it throws is kinda odd. And IME, it tastes like neither Citra nor Amaraillo- much more peach/nectarine/pineapple. Kind of reminds me of Strata without the dankness.
 
I get apricots from Nectaron … which is why I recommend pairing it with Grove. Or Sultana, maybe. It does go nicely with Citra, too, though in at least a 2:1 ratio so you have a chance of tasting it. But I agree with the advice: if you think all your IPAs taste the same, stop using Citra.
 
Agreed. And probably Mosaic as well if one wants to get away from "same-ness".
Branch out! There are a ton of applicable strains out there!

Cheers!
The information I’ve found indicates some hops just work better in NEIPAs than others, especially when using thiolized yeast. So if that’s the route you want to follow (that’s what I’m checking out now) then your choice of hops becomes more limited.
 
The information I’ve found indicates some hops just work better in NEIPAs than others, especially when using thiolized yeast. So if that’s the route you want to follow (that’s what I’m checking out now) then your choice of hops becomes more limited.
I honestly don’t like what thiolized yeast does to beer. And, relevant to the current discussion, I think thiolized yeast definitely imparts a same-ness, and should be avoided if you’re looking to break out of your flavor box.
 
I have not used any formally "thiolized" yeast strains, though when I first started brewing neipas I often did the first dry-hop at peak-krausen+1 day, and followed that charge with another once fermentation was "complete".

I don't do that any more - I've converted to the Scott Janish methodology: I do a two-day 50°F "soft-crash", hit the fermentors with a healthy dry hop charge for two days, then hard crash and keg. I'm getting the same hop intensity with perhaps slightly different/nuanced character, and it lasts for at least as long...

Cheers!
 
Thanks everyone for weighing in.

I fixed my original post, the second batch uses Verdant when chilling to 68, I copy and pasted and forgot to switch it from Kveik to Verdant.

It is Voss kveik.. and I like the citrusy notes, plus the fast fermentation and without cold temp fermentation temp control, its perfect to use in the summer. I do not have a ton of experience with different yeasts, I've only used voss kveik, verdant, so4, so5, nottingham, windsor, and lutra kveik. Never have used liquid yeast either.

I have done larger hop additions in the past in the WP and/or dry hop. In some cases I'd end up with hop burn or too much bitterness, because of this I've been hesitant to go crazy with hop additions. Likely part of my process with these issues.

Granted, the beers are not terrible and the guys at work enjoy them, initially they were shocked and said "it doesnt taste like homebrew!".

Here's a few of my most recent recipes, if you want to take a look at hop amounts.

https://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/1453462/amarillo-citra-nectaron-neipa
https://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/1225935/mosaic-citra-el-dorado-neipa
https://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/1252618/amarillo-citra-galaxy-neipa
 
I'm curious about your listed mash pH of 5.2 with no listed acid additions. While the hopping is a little light, it's not by much. However, hops can come across a little flabby with a high overall wort pH.

I've also done some split batch experimentation on fermentation temperatures on NEIPA and found extreme hop differences between 65 and 70F ferments. The latter of which had much more muted aroma and flavor. You'll have a better beery summer if you can get yourself an Inkbird and a small fridge.
 
Looking at those recipe titles if there's an issue it seems pretty clear: all three employ Citra - which seriously wants to be the soloist in the hop choir.

I love Citra - one of my neipas uses Chinook for 60 minute IBUs and then pounds the Citra from 5 minutes to FO to WP through dry hop - and I love it! But if one is brewing neipas that seem to all be repeats and they're all using Citra I'd say try leaving out the Citra :)

Cheers!
 
Here's a few of my most recent recipes, if you want to take a look at hop amounts.
In addition to the "Citra soloist" comments, there's a few observations I'd make.

Firstly, your FG seems rather on the low side. 1.011-13 is pretty dry for a NEIPA, even at relatively low ABVs. For a 6% beer I typically shoot around 1.016-1.018, the residual sweetness really helps make fruit flavours more pronounced. My personal approach is to mash NEIPAs quite hot and use golden naked oats to boost the unfermentable sugars.

Your whirlpool rates seem very low. 2.5-3oz for a 6 gallon fermenter volume is only about 3g/L. I've currently got an English IPA in the fermenter which was whirlpooled at 5g/L. The last NEIPA I brewed was 8g/L all cryo and to be honest I think it could have done with more like 10. My own process is 20 minutes at 75°C which has produced good results. I generally find that gram for gram I get significantly more flavour (as opposed to aroma) out of the whirlpool; playing around with similar beers but shifting hops between whirlpool and DH, I've actually found more fruit forward flavours coming out of a big whirlpool and no DH at all versus a small whirlpool and a big DH.

Dry hopping rates seem fine, though I'd question the merits of a high krausen dry hop outside of using yeasts with particularly pronounced beta-glucosidase activity. These days I only bother with Kolsh which has become my go-to for NEIPA. Also, are you dry hopping cold or warm? Dumping any trub? I've found I have significantly less issue with hop burn or creep if I dump trub and crash down below 12°C when dry hopping, especially with a few PSI of pressure.
 
I'll chime in with my NEIPA experiences. Continuing with the theme here, I think if your hops are all in the "fruity" family, swapping one for another probably isn't going to be significant. For me, that's perfectly fine, because that's the flavor I'm going for. Instead, I've worked on my NEIPAs with the following. Palate-dependent of course, so YMMV.

1. Used flaked wheat instead of flaked oats. Didn't like it. I found the oats to me smoother and less intrusive on flavor.

2. I switched from Briess Brewer's 2-row to Maris Otter. This little bit of more flavorful base malt made a really nice contribution in my opinion.

3. I've played around with ABV. I thought I was really liking them around 4.5%, found them more easy-drinking and enjoyable. Last batch made me think it was a bit too watery, so I'm now targeting just over 5%.

4. At first I had no bittering hops at 60 min. I found it lacked a little bit of character, so I added in a dash of FWH and 60 minute hops to give it a touch more edge.

5. I've started playing with water profile. I found my Sulfate:Chloride ratio was a bit to edgy. So now I'm softening it.
 
I'm curious about your listed mash pH of 5.2 with no listed acid additions. While the hopping is a little light, it's not by much. However, hops can come across a little flabby with a high overall wort pH.

I've also done some split batch experimentation on fermentation temperatures on NEIPA and found extreme hop differences between 65 and 70F ferments. The latter of which had much more muted aroma and flavor. You'll have a better beery summer if you can get yourself an Inkbird and a small fridge.
Yeah, I verify with a pH meter, though, I recently learned that the pH changes over the course of the mash.. early on I was adding baking soda early and likely ending up in the 6's. I since learned to check ph mid-way or towards the end/after.

Looking at those recipe titles if there's an issue it seems pretty clear: all three employ Citra - which seriously wants to be the soloist in the hop choir.

I love Citra - one of my neipas uses Chinook for 60 minute IBUs and then pounds the Citra from 5 minutes to FO to WP through dry hop - and I love it! But if one is brewing neipas that seem to all be repeats and they're all using Citra I'd say try leaving out the Citra :)

Cheers!
Yeah, citra has always been a staple for me but I am going to switch to something else. I already began backing off of Galaxy.. I'll likely use up what I have left and not buy more.

In addition to the "Citra soloist" comments, there's a few observations I'd make.

Firstly, your FG seems rather on the low side. 1.011-13 is pretty dry for a NEIPA, even at relatively low ABVs. For a 6% beer I typically shoot around 1.016-1.018, the residual sweetness really helps make fruit flavours more pronounced. My personal approach is to mash NEIPAs quite hot and use golden naked oats to boost the unfermentable sugars.

Your whirlpool rates seem very low. 2.5-3oz for a 6 gallon fermenter volume is only about 3g/L. I've currently got an English IPA in the fermenter which was whirlpooled at 5g/L. The last NEIPA I brewed was 8g/L all cryo and to be honest I think it could have done with more like 10. My own process is 20 minutes at 75°C which has produced good results. I generally find that gram for gram I get significantly more flavour (as opposed to aroma) out of the whirlpool; playing around with similar beers but shifting hops between whirlpool and DH, I've actually found more fruit forward flavours coming out of a big whirlpool and no DH at all versus a small whirlpool and a big DH.

Dry hopping rates seem fine, though I'd question the merits of a high krausen dry hop outside of using yeasts with particularly pronounced beta-glucosidase activity. These days I only bother with Kolsh which has become my go-to for NEIPA. Also, are you dry hopping cold or warm? Dumping any trub? I've found I have significantly less issue with hop burn or creep if I dump trub and crash down below 12°C when dry hopping, especially with a few PSI of pressure.
That may be my issue, I too like a bit of sweetness. I will need mash a little hotter.

Regarding WP hops, that is definitely something I need to try. My current batch (Amarillo/Citra/Nectaron) looks like a NEIPA, but it hardly tastes like one.

Interesting idea regarding only WP and no DH, that would definitely be welcome in the no-o2 department.

For this batch I dry hopped @ high kraussen and then dry hopped cold - as I put the keg in the fridge & put it on co2, I threw in a few oz's. I've been doing this for a bit , I remember reading that Scott Janish reported that dry hopping is more efficient cold (don't quote me).
I'll chime in with my NEIPA experiences. Continuing with the theme here, I think if your hops are all in the "fruity" family, swapping one for another probably isn't going to be significant. For me, that's perfectly fine, because that's the flavor I'm going for. Instead, I've worked on my NEIPAs with the following. Palate-dependent of course, so YMMV.

1. Used flaked wheat instead of flaked oats. Didn't like it. I found the oats to me smoother and less intrusive on flavor.

2. I switched from Briess Brewer's 2-row to Maris Otter. This little bit of more flavorful base malt made a really nice contribution in my opinion.

3. I've played around with ABV. I thought I was really liking them around 4.5%, found them more easy-drinking and enjoyable. Last batch made me think it was a bit too watery, so I'm now targeting just over 5%.

4. At first I had no bittering hops at 60 min. I found it lacked a little bit of character, so I added in a dash of FWH and 60 minute hops to give it a touch more edge.

5. I've started playing with water profile. I found my Sulfate:Chloride ratio was a bit to edgy. So now I'm softening it.
1 - I've been using white wheat malt and on occasion I'll throw in some rolled oats. I like the mouthfeel and color, not sure how this impacts flavor.
3 - I personally like lower ABV session NEIPA's, I agree finding that sweet spot may be key, 5-5.5% ABV
4. Yeah I've experimented with adding some columbus as a FWH or at 60, not really noticeable but maybe my taste buds arent what they used to be. After having COVID I feel like nothing is like it used to be.
5 - I always use salts since I use 100% RO, not sure if it makes a difference.
 
Certain hops claims to have notes of pineapple, peach, stonefruit, etc. , but I do not get that experience. Is it my process, or are my 43 year old taste buds losing it?

I don't think you're losing it, but before I assail you with my decades of brewing "knowledge," I feel like I should disclose some of my biases so that you know where I'm coming from. If you're not interested in that, jump down to the third paragraph.

Don't take advice on NEIPAs from me, I've never brewed one and I have very little experience with them, they just don't appeal to me as a style. Please understand, I'm not knocking them! It's a style that brings joy to a lot of people (more joy is always better) and I'm in awe of the technical prowess that is needed to brew this style. I think they're great, but I don't brew them so I don't drink them.

With that out of the way, here's what I have to say. As someone that has brewed for three decades, I think contemporary hop descriptions have become laughably useless. Listen, I understand that as our knowledge grows so, too, must our language grow to accommodate that knowledge and allow us the ability to discriminate between ever more subtle concepts, but things are getting a bit silly.

It's worth coming up for air from time to time and thinking critically about our more complex language. When we start using descriptors like "lychee," "mango," kiwi," "passionfruit," etc. are we actually transmitting data by using those terms? Each of those fruits are unique, but it's fair to say that within the larger universe of fruits, they're clustered in a neighborhood of fruits that are noteworthy for their sweetness rather than their acidic or aromatic content. Within the context of a contemporary IPA that uses at least three, often many more, hop strains are these subtle differences noticeable? I'd ask are they even worth noting?

As a brewer, I'd emphatically answer, "Nope." If I were a hop farmer, I'd say, "But mine also has plucky hints of dragonfruit!!!!!"

Gone are the days when the emergence of a new hop variety from the glacial USDA program really was big news. Now that the farmers are running their own breeding programs (more power to them!), each season sees a few new hops and those farmers have a lot of money riding on those acres, so their marketing departments keep ratcheting up the language each season. Unfortunately, that has left a lot of homebrewers dejectedly staring at their pints wondering, "Where is the pineapple? The cotton candy? The lychee? The tangerine? The grapefruit? The blood orange? The dank? I was supposed to be teased by subtle notes of kiwano...and I don't even know what the hell that is!"

Again, I think we need to come up for air. For the most part, hops taste like hops. Sure, there are differences between Hallertau and Saaz, Cascades and Amarillo, and HBCXXX and HBCYYY. At the end of the day, though, they're hops used in a very complex system that starts way, way, way before we even design our grists, water, hop bills, and processes. We like to kid ourselves that we have a lot of control in our breweries. That's bollocks, the bulk of the work that defines our beers was done in the fields and in the maltsters and the oasts...and is largely compromised by the logistics train that results in those products winding up in our Vittles Vaults and freezers.

So, is your failure to detect "naughty notes of lemon grass" proof that you're losing it? Absolutely not!

Like me, my suggestion to your problem is boring. Pick a generic grist, then pick a hop bill that you like and brew it relentlessly, making single adjustments along the way, until you slowly have that grist and hop bill exactly right.

It's a lot more fun chasing "it" hops, I'll concede. But there are no silver bullets, no magic hops, no chemistry-defying yeast strains in brewing. There's only slow, dogged repetition and incremental progress.

I hope you found this useful.

Edit: Also, I like to keep my freezer as empty as possible (by homebrewer standards). If I find a pound of hops that I like, I want to be able to turn around and buy a lot more of that hop. Not all crops are the same, not by a long shot, and pellet hops keep for years if stored in the freezer under vacuum.
 
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Which one did you try, is one better than the others? What hops did you use with it?
Cosmic Punch with Strata and Citra
Helio Gazer with BRU-1 and Harlequin, plus Saaz in the mash and phantasm powder in the hop stand

Those are the only times I've brewed them myself. With the second one (Hello Gazer), the thiols (!) seemed to come out more. I've had a couple of others brewed by people in my club, and one from a commercial brewery. My main complaint is that they all seem to have that vaguely tropical-fruity sorta-Citra-ish taste to them.
 
Thiols are a one trick pony in my opinion. I can recognize it from a mile away. The aroma is strong and pleasant but it creates a dank over ripe stone fruit thing in the flavor that I can't drink more than a few ounces of.
 
@Bramling Cross Good to hear that it's not just me/my taste buds, and now that you say that, I remember one of my buddies at work who I gave a homebrew beer to joked about the same thing -- "hop companies claiming certain variants have notes of stone fruit, apricot, dragon fruit, overripe peach, etc. I get none of that in the taste" It's pretty hilarious but at the same time smart to market this way, as they got me with it. I ideally want to find a good hop combo (or single hop) to make a perfect house NEIPA -- one of my kegs always has a NEIPA in it. If anyone has recommendations for a sold juicy NEIPA recipe (on the sweeter side), I'll take it. Regarding hops in the freezer, I usually buy around 2-2.5 lbs. at a time from Yakima Valley, to take advantage of the single $9.99 shipping fee. I vacuum seal individual pouches of 2oz and freeze them so I have a good variety of hops available at any given time, same with a few pouches of dry yeast in the fridge -- I did this so I can brew whenever I want without having to order stuff and wait.
 
Maybe you are lucky that you can't necessarily tell. I can definitely tell the difference when different hops are used. I'm very sensitive to different hops, and some I absolutely do not like.
 
Yeah, I verify with a pH meter, though, I recently learned that the pH changes over the course of the mash.. early on I was adding baking soda early and likely ending up in the 6's. I since learned to check ph mid-way or towards the end/after.
Yes, mash pH changes throughout the mashing process, but most of the conversion is done in the first ~20 minutes or so. John Palmer in HTB 4e suggests taking a sample of mash pH 5-10 minutes into the mash (pg. 341) as we generally care about mash pH during conversion.

It's better to check pH and make adjustments from the data for the next brew. Mash pH generally drops over the course of the mash, but yeah, if you are adding a crap ton of baking soda, then I would guess it's going to go up.
 
My current NEIPA keg just kicked so I need to begin recipe planning. Can anyone recommend a solid NEIPA hop schedule that I can try, that will not taste like the typical citra/galaxy batch (as all my batches taste)? I will be using Verdant IPA yeast.
 
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