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Does the Brut IPA Have a Future?

Discussion in 'Article Comments' started by BeerAdvocate, Feb 7, 2019.

  1. BeerAdvocate

    BeerAdvocate Founders (17,679) Aug 23, 1996 Massachusetts

    More than 600 examples of Brut IPA have been added to the BeerAdvocate database in recent months. Can it hold the attention of beer enthusiasts or will demand sputter as drinkers return to West Coast IPAs and New England IPAs?

    Read the full article: Does the Brut IPA Have a Future?
  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,902) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I have discussed two Brut IPAs in the past two New Beer Sunday threads.

    Last week I discussed Sierra Nevada Brut IPA:


    From that post:

    “This is a nice enough beer but really there is not a lot going on here. If this was the goal of the Sierra Nevada folks then they achieved but I really think this beer would have benefited from a more generous hopping level. Maybe they saved some money on ingredients (hops) for this beer?

    I normally do not do this but I checked out the BA reviews for this beer. There are well over 100 reviews posted and the average score is 3.69 (Good). Yeah, I suppose this kinda sums up this beer.”

    Two weeks ago I discussed Ommegang Brut IPA:


    From that post:

    “I am very, very glad that I found this beer. If this specific beer is representative of what a Brut IPA should be I am a fan of the Brut IPA beer ‘style’. Hopefully other breweries can learn to produce their Brut IPAs to be similar to the qualities of Ommegang Brut IPA.”

    I am of the opinion that if breweries could learn how to brew beers like Ommegang Brut IPA there is a future for this burgeoning beer style. If instead the breweries produce product akin to the Sierra Nevada Brut IPA I personally do not see this becoming a thriving beer style.


    P.S. I took note from the article: “Hi-Wire, like Boulevard and Drake’s, also discovered that successfully executing a Brut IPA requires finesse, a mastery of the techniques required to create it, and a willingness to hone in on the details.” If this is indeed the case then perhaps it might be best for this style to just ‘go away’ for the vast majority of craft breweries. Perhaps it is just too hard of a style for them to brew.
  3. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Champion (876) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    I've had 3 from Ommegang, ,Sierra Nevada and a local Twin Elephant. Enjoyed them all but found them to very different from each other. Looking forward to trying more of them.
  4. IPAExpert69

    IPAExpert69 Initiate (179) Aug 2, 2017 Pennsylvania

    Honestly to me every brut ipa hasn't had the flavor punch I'm looking for in an IPA. I'm going to keep giving them chances, but to me personally the future doesn't look like the second coming of the NEIPA like some initially thought.
  5. Dan_K

    Dan_K Devotee (498) Nov 8, 2013 Colorado

    I had a really good one- Moral Panic from Ska brewing. I don't think Brut IPA will be a huge deal, but I'm starting to believe it will have a small but permanent place in brewing repertoire.
    rgordon, TongoRad, Amendm and 2 others like this.
  6. Retroman40

    Retroman40 Zealot (509) Dec 7, 2013 Florida

    I hope this style continues to evolve. I've had the New Belgium and Sierra Nevada as well as a couple from local brewers here in Orlando. I liked them all. In fact, I liked them enough to brew my own using a recipe from Jan/Feb issue of Zymurgy Magazine. They are still conditioning but flat out of the fermenter it tasted pretty good. I do have to say I was surprised how fast the bubbles appeared in the air lock when I added the enzyme.
  7. drh88

    drh88 Aspirant (240) Dec 21, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I want to like the style, and I hope it does stick around. I've only had the New Belgium, Sierra Nevada, Stone Enjoy By, and Ommegang. All very different from each other and my favorite by far was the Ommegang. It tastes the most like I expected a Brut IPA to taste like (with my very limited experience with the style). I'm eager to try more. For me, being a beer hobbyist is always about trying something new and different, and occasionally finding new favorites.
  8. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,902) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I 100% agree with you here!

  9. Amendm

    Amendm Devotee (457) Jun 7, 2018 Rhode Island

    Stone's Enjoy By Brut beat Ommegang's Brut by 1 point in my book. Both are exceptional.

    Call Brut IPA a substyle or an emerging distinct style (as mentioned in the article), whatever you want. It appears to be gaining steam ATT.

    I plan on trying more Bruts, a nice break from NEIPAs.
    mikeinportc, Junior and LarryV like this.
  10. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,145) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Society Trader

    I'm on the lookout myself, it's just enough different to be interesting.
    LarryV and Amendm like this.
  11. LarryV

    LarryV Meyvn (1,176) Jun 13, 2001 Massachusetts

    I honestly can't say, the SN one is the only one I tried. It was okay, but not a repeat purchase for me, too one dimensional imho. I'd like to try one that has more body to it and a lot more flavor.
    nicholas2121 and Amendm like this.
  12. Junior

    Junior Zealot (545) May 23, 2015 Michigan
    Society Trader

    I had Stone’s Enjoy By Brut. I did not enjoy. I another from a local brewery. I did not enjoy that one either. I’m done with Brut IPAs.
    ssimpson89 and Amendm like this.
  13. RyanK252

    RyanK252 Poo-Bah (1,687) May 18, 2014 California

    They are a neat science experiment, but they don't get me too excited. I feel like they will join Red and Black IPAs as passing fads, though I rather enjoy those two. CDAs forever!
    StoutElk_92 likes this.
  14. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,902) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    That would not be consistent with the Brut IPA style. A Brut IPA should be super dry with an extremely low final gravity.
    Using Sierra Nevada Brut IPA as a 'baseline' I agree 100% with you here! Way more hop flavor should be present.

    I would recommend Ommegang Brut IPA to you from a flavor perspective but that beer is very dry (i.e., you may not like the body aspect).

  15. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,902) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    That is kinda where I was a couple of months ago but after drinking Ommegang Brut IPA I have a much differing perspective here.

    My guess is that there are a plethora of poorly brewed Brut IPAs out there. I have had a few non-inspirational brands myself. As I quoted from the article above (post #2) it seems that brewing a 'proper' Brut IPA can be challenging. Maybe some (most?) breweries are not up to the challenge? You (and I) need to find the breweries/brands that have been brewed 'right'.

    StoutElk_92 and Junior like this.
  16. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,563) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Exactly! And why does everything have to be framed in an all-or-nothing, next big deal kind of way these days?
  17. mikeinportc

    mikeinportc Champion (873) Nov 4, 2015 New York

    One more vote for Ommegang.
    The other 3 I've had won't be revisited. Guessing it will be a persistent style for a few that can pull it off. The rest? Dry-hopped pils, &/or session IPAs, probably offers better odds for sustained sales to customers looking for something light, dry, & hoppy.
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  18. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,779) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    It simplifies complexity to fewer choices. :slight_smile:
    dennis3951, mikeinportc and TongoRad like this.
  19. Junior

    Junior Zealot (545) May 23, 2015 Michigan
    Society Trader

    Guess I’ll keep my eyes out for Ommegang. I know I’ve seen their beers around, not sure about this one.
    JackHorzempa and Amendm like this.
  20. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,902) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    And I do hope that you can find this specific beer. Going more broadly, there may be other breweries that produce beers akin to Ommegang Brut IPA. Hopefully you will be successful at discovering those beers.

  21. GlennFreeman

    GlennFreeman Initiate (47) Dec 2, 2017 Michigan

  22. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,736) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    I haven’t had a decent Brut IPA yet, but I love Jack Abbey IPL. So what’s the difference in style?
  23. MightyTrustKrusher

    MightyTrustKrusher Initiate (65) Nov 5, 2014 New Jersey

    Agree with Jack that the Ommegang Brut IPA is an excellent brew. I was definitely intrigued by the description of the style, and to me that beer seems to check all the boxes of what a Brut IPA is "supposed" to be. If there are other examples that nail it like that beer then I'm certainly interested in regularly drinking this style.
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  24. raynmoon

    raynmoon Crusader (786) Aug 13, 2011 Colorado

    No, because it isn't "wowing" anyone. People are interested and buying them based off of curiosity. Don't think it'll go farther than that.
    bubseymour likes this.
  25. Kb024

    Kb024 Initiate (110) Jun 11, 2015 California

    San Diego breweries are doing some really good Brut's. I've had some really hoppy nice bitter ones. Super dry hop flavor. Reminds me of Pliny. Ballast Points Brut is not very hoppy. Its not bad but they got it wrong like Sierra Nevada
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  26. ssimpson89

    ssimpson89 Defender (608) Jul 24, 2009 Illinois

    Why is IPA attached to this style? The ones I’ve tried don’t resemble an IPA at all. Create a new style called “dry, white beer”, or “tasteless grape must ale”, but don’t call them IPAs. They are not. I know it’s all marketing, but from a classic IPA drinker most of these beers suck.
  27. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (909) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Me too. I've been getting a few 12-packs of Sierra Nevada Brut IPA for $12.99 lately.This beer is alive in the glass and is like a Sekt, Cava, or Loire Valley sparkling wine. Clear, bright, acidic, and hoppy, refreshing and packing a decent little punch. For me, this style of beer is much more drinkable than the fat hazy beers. I'll drink one of those and three of these...
    beerN3RD, MyBar, Squire and 3 others like this.
  28. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,783) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin

    Thanks for calling attention to your reviews. Is there a common flaw you are finding that constitutes poorly brewed or non-inspirational in your eyes? You mentioned SN did not deliver on hops. Is that the one main problem or are there several? I have not seen a Brut distributed around n. WI, so my experience with the style is limited to one I one I have tried when traveling. I found it refreshing enough, fading on the palate at the right moment, drying out the mouth to make me want to take another sip. It's hard for me to believe that the fuss is about that sort of subtlety, though.
    rgordon likes this.
  29. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,440) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Well, obviously the yeast - top vs bottom - but primarily it's the use of amylase enzyme for the Brut, leaving a very low final gravity but every brewer's going to do either style differently otherwise (OG, hopping, etc). And, given the history of "beer styles", they'll be some beers labeled "Brut IPA" that don't use the enzyme.
    StoutElk_92 likes this.
  30. Stewmeister91

    Stewmeister91 Initiate (127) Apr 7, 2008 New Jersey

    Fast track a style to try and take some of the spotlight off of NEIPA.

    That’s how it looks and feels to me
  31. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Champion (876) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    I agree these beers should be simply called Brut Ales. They are called IPA because more drinkers will try them if they are.
    beergoot and Squire like this.
  32. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,902) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Firstly, permit me to caveat that I have only had 6-12 beers that have been labeled as being Brut IPAs.

    There is no common 'flaw' among those beers. A couple of those beers were very hazy like a 'NEIPA' beers, others just tasted like regular IPAs, etc. I suspect that the 'challenge' to these beers is how to 'optimize' the character that the enzyme brings (e.g., super dry) but also have the other aspects (e.g., hop aroma/flavor) shine?

    pweis909 and dennis3951 like this.
  33. LifesAnesthesia

    LifesAnesthesia Defender (685) Dec 17, 2014 Virginia

    I hope so. I don't see me drinking them often, but they are fun for occasions where you could substitute them for champagne
  34. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,409) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    I also brewed one. The fermentation had slowed down, but adding the enzyme really kicked it up. Ended at 0.998 FG.
    Retroman40 likes this.
  35. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,409) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    I really enjoyed a Noir Brut at a local brewery last night.
    RyanK252 likes this.
  36. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,409) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    They use the Amyloglucosidase enzyme, whichwid a favorite of distillers. Alpha amylase might knock a few points off of the FG, but it doesn't break the 1-6 bonds in the residual sugars and dextrines. Amyloglucosidase breaks the 1-6 bonds. That is how the beers can get to very low Final gravities. Reading about the enzyme, some add it to the mash at lower temps. Adding to the fermentation gets you lower, as the enzyme denatures at about 140F, and the optimal pH is 4.6 which will be seen after a few days of fermentation.

    One thing a Brewer friend told me was that he could only use the yeast from a Brut for another Brut if he used the enzyme on the cold side. Repitching would have the enzyme, resulting in a dry beer.
  37. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,783) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin

    It sounds like the style is still evolving, with brewers trying to figure out what works, and what will sell. I remember reading an earlier article that made me think if it as backlash against NEIPA, and a subsequent article that made me think of it as s NEIPA variant. It may not become a well-established style until brewers and consumers make up their minds about what they want from it. In the current “give me something new” climate of the marketplace, perhaps boundaries of new styles will never be well-delineated or rigorously observed.
  38. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,440) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Thanks! I just copy/pasted the enzyme name from the article
    (which I though was just an abbreviation/shorthand for the one you note ---- since I can never remember how to spell it :grin:).
  39. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,902) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Some of the discussion in this thread has gotten pretty technical so…

    In the recent issue of Zymurgy magazine (the AHA magazine) there is an article written by Chris Colby entitled “Big, Brut-iful IPA”. Below is an extract from that article:

    “Fermentation and Attenuation

    The best time to add the enzyme is during fermentation, specifically late in fermentation. If you desire to do this, the yeast cells will experience their usual environment during early fermentation. The yeast will initially take in few simple sugars found in wort but then feed almost entirely on maltose during the bulk of the fermentation, as it normally would. Then, the enzyme is added and goes to work on the carbohydrates that were not digested in the mash. The yeast consumes the resulting glucose at the end of fermentation.

    If the enzyme were added before fermentation, the initial wort would be rich in glucose. The yeast would take that in preferentially, only shifting to maltose when the supply of glucose was exhausted. This could cause the yeast to bog down, especially if the enzyme activity was producing a trickle of enzyme.”

    A few weeks ago I visited a new small, local brewery that has only been open a couple of years (my first visit there). One of the brewers was bartending the taproom and we had a conversation about brewing. I asked whether they had brewed a Brut IPA yet. He answered: yes, we had one on tap a couple of months ago. I followed up with: when did you add the enzyme during the process? His answer was they added the enzyme during the mash.

    I wonder if lots of other breweries are adding the enzyme during the mash vs. at the end of fermentation as discussed above. Maybe this is a cause of such variability of the Brut IPA beer style?


    Precisiondigital and MyBar like this.
  40. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,409) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    OK. Amylo is the abbreviation I'm used to seeing. Alpha means Alpha Amylase to me, which is one of the enzymes in Malted Barley, along with Beta Amylase, and others.
    Precisiondigital likes this.