In 2018, the Great American Beer Festival saw more entries in the Juicy/Hazy IPA category (391 to be exact), than America-style India Pale Ale category (which came in at 311). While hopping rates and techniques are hot topics of discussion for the hazy IPA style, yeast strain choice and expression are key attributes you also want to keep in mind.
Yeast contributes more than 500 flavor and aroma compounds to beer, so not only does the perfect strain help complement and round out the overall profile of your beer, it can also help it stand out from the rest.
“A great way to differentiate your hazy beer is by using a unique yeast strain,” said White Labs technical laboratory manager Kara Taylor. “Each strain contributes a different mouthfeel, visual, and flavor and aroma compounds.”
Choosing the Right Strain
With so many yeast options out there, deciding which strain is best for your next hazy beer can seem daunting but Taylor has some pointers.
The Strain That Identifies the Style
The most renowned strain for hazy IPAs is known for creating big mouthfeel with large citrus-like fruit character. WLP066 London Fog Ale Yeast is a popular strain for this style due to its consistency and ease to work with.
Classic House Strain Goes Hazy
From pale ales to blondes and stouts, WLP008 East Coast Ale Yeast has been used in many craft beer styles for decades. Continuing its wide adaptability, it’s been an ideal choice for drier, yet still fruit-forward hazy beers. This is a great strain for someone looking to produce a visually hazier beer that still has the crispness and mouthfeel of a standard IPA.
Complexity Through Blending Yeast
While blending yeast is not a new concept, it’s not something often done in hop-forward American beer styles. Using a blend can add complexity and flavor components not perceived while using a single culture. WLP067 Coastal Haze Ale Yeast Blend is a blend used specifically with hazy beers in mind. This blend is known for its slightly higher acidity and dryness than other hazy strains accentuating crisp tropical fruit-like flavors.
Going Fruity and Dry
While the style is not known for using high attenuating yeast strains, a dry beer with the hazy appearance, hoppy aroma and unique ester profile is a great way to make a beer that stands out in a line-up of similar beers. WLP644 Saccharomyces “bruxellensis” Trois is a great addition for a hazy beer. Contributing some acidity, medium fruitiness, and medium mouthfeel, this strain produces a beer with high drinkability. Note that the fermentation timeline is a bit longer than other strains, and it’s best to account for extended production time.
Whether you’re brewing a hazy beer or opting for a more classic style, White Labs has the perfect strain for you. With 69 Core liquid yeast strains being produced weekly, many are available to order the next day. Order yours today using the White Labs app or through yeastman.com.
About White Labs
White Labs, Inc. is an international company headquartered in San Diego that provides liquid yeast, fermentation products, services, analysis and education to professionals and enthusiasts alike. Continually raising the bar in the art of fermentation, White Labs stretches the limits of science to set new standards in purity and freshness. From the industry’s first pitchable liquid yeast, to a complete revolution in the way it’s propagated and packaged, the White Labs innovative spirit is tireless. For more information on White Labs and its various products and services, please visit whitelabs.com.