Hazy IPAs dominate 2018 GABF entries, but will freshness impact results?

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by AZBeerDude72, Aug 10, 2018.

  1. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Meyvn (1,394) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Premium Trader

    Lot of talk about the haze craze, saw this post up and wanted to share...

    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  2. invertalon

    invertalon Devotee (437) Jan 27, 2009 Ohio

    Freshness honestly will only be an issue for the breweries with poor packaging or brewing techniques. Those with relatively sound practice should be fine. Be curious to see who will snag gold, and the popularity of said beer will be affected afterward.

    I've had some Trillium beers for example taste just as awesome with 1.5-2 months on them as they were fresh.I tend to get a big stash at once and it takes me some time to drink thru them...

    Some other breweries though? They can drop off like hell within weeks.
  3. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Champion (857) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I'm not trying to call you out, but do you have any sound data for either of these statements? I only say that because my experience with at least the first statement is different than yours...see below.

    I'm in MA, so I get to drink a lot of Trillium, and my experience is some of their beers at the VERY LEAST fall off in appearance around a month. And they definitely taste worse as well. Bissell seems to hold up in my limited experience. I've heard Tree House does as well, but have much less experience with them.
    Daveshek28 likes this.
  4. invertalon

    invertalon Devotee (437) Jan 27, 2009 Ohio

    Sound data on what? As a brewer, eliminating oxygen is a very crucial step in longevity of the packaged product. See Sierra Nevada, for example, that has one of the lowest packaged O2 levels in the industry, in the PPB range (not PPM). Their beer holds up better than most you will come across, for sure.

    If you introduce O2 during packaging, your product will oxidize and go stale far quicker. That is fact. While true for all styles, especially hoppy stuff.

    Trillium was just a quick example, not comparing to anybody else. Just saying, 4-5 weeks should not be an issue if the beer was brewed well and packaged properly. On the flip side, I've had plenty of NE IPA's canned that drop off like a brick after just 2-3 weeks... And yes, that is typically the result of poor brewing technique/packaging and high O2 levels in the packaged product... Hop aroma fading, color darkening, etc... Typical oxidation. Most smaller NE IPA breweries don't exactly have the best canning equipment... Breweries like Tree House, Bissell and Trillium should have the ability to package a higher quality product, given their size and everything.
    breadwinner likes this.
  5. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Champion (857) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I get all that. I still believe this particular style, at least in terms of appearance, will fall off quicker than others...regardless of the quality of their packaging process. It's why Sierra Nevada stayed away from it in the past...see the post below from SierraNevadaBill (currently @BillManley)...kind of a long read, I apologize.

    sierranevadabill said:
    You bring up a really good point there, especially the bit about shelf stability.
    I admit, that I enjoy these super cloudy IPAs I think the flavors are great and I'll happily drink one if I come across it in the correct way.
    That said, on a recent trip to New England I had the pleasure of visiting several breweries that specialize in this type of beer, and the one thing that I kept thinking... is this sustainable?
    One brewer (who I respect a lot, and whose beers I truly enjoy) mentioned to me that they've never had a beer last more than two weeks...meaning that they have brewed what they could and sold the beer over the counter of their tasting room direct to consumers. Great. good for them. Nice profit margin, fresh beer...etc.
    What happens, though, when that brewer is no longer the bell of the proverbial craft beer ball... When they have to rely on distribution and when beer doesn't completely sell-out in 14 days? Judging by some of the expansion movement, this is inevitably going to be the case.
    At the aforementioned brewery I bought a case of IPAs. Now more than month after the fact, these beers have a serious amount of slurry on the bottom of the bottle and on the neck. The beers themselves look like snow globes with blobs of gelatinous goop (which I can only assume is yeast) bobbing around in the glass. Not a very appealing (to me) look. They still taste fine, mind you, but the appearance gets a ding in my book.

    We do a lot of talking about appearance of our beers. Granted, being mindful of shelf-life and stability is of larger importance for us (as a national packaging brewer.) When we've decided that a haze is an acceptable appearance for a packaged beer, we make 100% certain that the haze comes from protein and not yeast. Protein haze results in a more uniform and controllable appearance and doesn't risk the more snot-like yeast left over in the bottle or the can. Even for a beer like Kellerweis, which is quite hazy, the majority of the haze still comes from protein. We make sure kegs are shipped upside-down from us to the bar specifically so that when the keg is flipped for tapping the haze will cascade back down into the beer and give a more uniform appearance.

    If it is yeast in the NE IPAs (which I truly believe to be the case) that's fine, I get it. It makes sense. As yeast flocculates out, it pulls a lot of hop flavor with it. If you want a truly hop-forward beer, leaving a significant amount of yeast in the finished product is a sure-fire way to keep a lot of that hop flavor in the beer. If your customers are buying it fresh, and drinking it quick, there isn't going to be a problem. (aside from the odd gastrointestinal issue.) I'm curious about the future, though. If these beer become more widely distributed, it'll be interesting to see if the appreciation translates to the larger consumer base.

  6. Jsimansk

    Jsimansk Initiate (122) Jul 10, 2012 Illinois

    I don’t know if there are unique quirks to the ways this style is being produced in the Chicago area, but I’ve found that I prefer a lot of the local examples at least 3-4 weeks out from packaging, so there’s a chance this could work in favor of some breweries. I’m finding a lot here to be harsh and much too “green” when super fresh. While I haven’t sought out too many from other regions, so far I’ve enjoyed fresh east coast (Tired Hands) and PNW (Great Notion) examples much more overall.
    DonicBoom likes this.
  7. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,716) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Weedy (@honkey) who is the headbrewer at Tombstone brewing has discussed this topic in past threads (see copied material below). From Weedy’s numerous postings on the topic of brewing/packaging it seems to me that the minimization of oxygen on the cold side (including canning) is top notch at Tombestone.

    “I would disagree. Even with very low packaged oxygen levels and no transfers, we find NEIPA’s to be best within 4 weeks with a significant drop off being noticeable from fresh to 5 weeks in. Our beer still gets good reviews online 2 months after the fact, but it makes me sad if I see it being drank that long after. Our cans get a canned on date and a best by date that is 28 days from the canned date.”


  8. invertalon

    invertalon Devotee (437) Jan 27, 2009 Ohio

    The thing is... Everybody is on a level playing field. So everyone has 5-6 week old beer being judged, so at the end of the day, the best beer still wins gold. Packaging and cold side care still matters in this case, like any other beer.
    breadwinner and AlcahueteJ like this.
  9. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Champion (857) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I was going to @ him, but I was lazy and didn't feel like finding some of his posts.