White IPAs: Failed Experiment or Too Early to Tell

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by spoonhawk, Oct 20, 2013.

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  1. AaronRodgersMVP12

    AaronRodgersMVP12 Initiate (0) Jan 20, 2013 Wisconsin

    i enjoyed white hatter
     
  2. joelwlcx

    joelwlcx Initiate (198) Apr 23, 2007 Minnesota

    Any beer can be a "failed experiment". There are good and bad examples of any style of beer.
     
  3. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (5,132) Sep 24, 2007 Washington
    Beer Trader

    I suspect a raging bitch differs with everyone. On principal. :wink:
     
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  4. slander

    slander Site Editor (2,096) Nov 5, 2001 New York
    Premium Member

    The worst black IPA is better than the best white IPA.

    (Did I say that out loud?)
     
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  5. itracy63

    itracy63 Devotee (448) Apr 20, 2013 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Anchorage Galaxy is very good.
     
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  6. PrestonD

    PrestonD Initiate (0) Sep 18, 2013 Missouri

    Although it is the one and only White IPA i've tried, I thought Boulevards "Reboot White IPA" was really enjoyable... and 750ml bottles are abundant in the KC area and only $8-9...
    I believe it was originally a collaboration between Deschutes and Boulevard several years ago that Boulevard decided to update and remake... hence "Reboot"...
     
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  7. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Champion (833) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I think craft brewers should fine a different way to market new beers than calling them (fill in the blank)IPA.
     
  8. MNishCT77

    MNishCT77 Defender (672) Jun 6, 2008 District of Columbia

    Saranac's White IPA is one of their best beers, I think, and underrated on this site.
     
  9. MisSigsFan

    MisSigsFan Initiate (0) Mar 2, 2013 California
    Beer Trader

    The only thing close I've had to a White IPA is Green Flash's Le Freak, which I actually really enjoyed.
     
  10. atomic

    atomic Disciple (332) Sep 22, 2009 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Not with the right hops... Any hops with an abundance of tropical and citrus flavors go great with Belgian yeast, particularly Westmalle. Little Sumpin Wild is a perfect example of that.
     
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  11. ThirstyFace

    ThirstyFace Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2013 New York

    I think Sam Adams Whitewater IPA is an awesome beer. Saranac makes a good one too. I'm on board for now
     
  12. ThirstyFace

    ThirstyFace Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2013 New York

    Wtf does that mean?
     
  13. shand

    shand Meyvn (1,424) Jul 13, 2010 Florida
    Beer Trader

    Anchorage's Galaxy White is basically the only White IPA I'd ever take over an average standard IPA. Same with their Bitter Monk being the only Belgian IPA I'd take over an average standard IPA. If everyone who's not Anchorage would stop trying to brew Belgian-style IPAs, it'd be great.
     
  14. BMMillsy

    BMMillsy Poo-Bah (2,310) Feb 16, 2012 Florida
    Beer Trader

    New Holland's White Hatter was not bad. Would like to revisit that one but now live in Floeida so a bit out of reach.
     
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  15. 071184

    071184 Initiate (136) Sep 10, 2013 Texas

    Really?? I think that a belgian yeast can add interesting character to a "standard" IPA. Think Stone's Cali-Begique or Clown Shoes Tramp Stamp. I realize neither of these are White IPAs- though I do think Deschutes' Chain Breaker is a decent beer. I think the white IPA style will grow for sure, along with BIPA and RIPA etc etc- it's all about finding the right balance of yeast character/ spice & hop profile.
     
  16. TheFlern

    TheFlern Initiate (0) May 9, 2009 Idaho

    This.
     
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  17. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (12,446) Mar 18, 2010 California

    Just like every beer style, some are good and some are bad.
     
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  18. southdenverhoo

    southdenverhoo Disciple (358) Aug 13, 2004 Colorado

    3 of those beers are basically the same beer, if I understand the history. Des chutes and Boulevard collaborated on, well, Collaboration #2. Deschutes then produced it on a volume basis, versus what Boulevard thought was a one-off: Chainbreaker. Boulevard then said, oh yeah? Two can play that game, we contributed the recipe to the collaboration in the first place, and this is right in our wheelhouse: hence, Reboot.
     
  19. DarkDragon999

    DarkDragon999 Aspirant (285) Feb 13, 2013 Rhode Island

    They are great. I think people trashing them are hardcore ipa fans. Im not one of those and I appreciate this style because it gives me the nice hops without the biterness of an ipa.
     
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  20. flayedandskinned

    flayedandskinned Initiate (0) Jan 1, 2011 California
    Beer Trader


    black power!
     
  21. ThirstyFace

    ThirstyFace Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2013 New York

    Yes. Why are you feigning otherwise? What's so special about your opinion that you think we can't handle it?
     
  22. freakeconomist

    freakeconomist Initiate (0) Oct 8, 2013 Georgia

    Thanks for posting this. My company is releasing the Accumulation in a week and I hadn't had the chance to try it yet. I'm excited about it though, especially after the disappointing Pumpkick.
     
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  23. xclone25x

    xclone25x Initiate (115) May 5, 2012 Ohio

    I love the concept. Locally, a brewery called Blank Slate makes a white IPA called The Lesser Path. Delicious.
     
  24. DemoniChris

    DemoniChris Disciple (313) Jun 4, 2013 Nebraska

    I think they're definitely more inconsistent than black IPAs. But I'm sure someone will perfect the style just as breweries seem to do with every new emerging style of beer.
     
  25. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,707) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Premium Member

    I have only tried 2-3 beers that describe themselves as white IPA and they have not been my favorites. The ones I am thinking of were like a cross between witbier and American IPA, with witbier yeast character and/or spicing and lots of juicy American hops. I found those flavors to be clashing.

    On the contrary, I have had hoppy American wheat beers, i.e., beers brewed with neutral yeast, a good portion of wheat, and lots of American hops, and I enjoy these beers.
     
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  26. ncstateplaya

    ncstateplaya Initiate (0) Nov 8, 2008 North Carolina



    I've had several White IPAs and have been underwhelmed. I can see the appeal of the style for some drinkers, but the style just doesn't do it for me. I pretty much feel the same way about Black IPAs, too.

    As to your distinguishing between Hoppy Wits and Hoppy Tripels...I can definitely say I prefer the Hoppy Tripels.
    Just of the ones you've listed above, I've had the Anchorage Galaxy (really liked the Brett in this beer), NB Belgo, Boulevard Reboot, SA Whitewater, GF Le Freak, Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen, Lagunitas Little Sumpin Wild, FD Raging Bitch, and SA Grumpy Monk.
     
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  27. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Meyvn (1,486) Aug 29, 2012 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Your history isn't quite right, as it makes it sound like there is/was some sort of conflict between the two breweries over the production, and from everything I've read, that is not the case. Also, you're missing part of the lineage--back in 2011, Deschutes and Boulevard collaborated, with Boulevard releasing Collaboration No. 2 and Deschutes releasing Conflux No. 2. The recipe base was the same, but the two beers were brewed in separate facilities with minor variances in the final beer.

    Then Deschutes decided to produce a larger-production run that was based on Conflux, but was again different. For example, Chainbreaker had no lemongrass or sage and was 5.6% abv, compared to the 7.3% abv of Conflux No. 2. I don't know whether or not they asked Boulevard or not, but I also have gotten the impression from what I've read that Boulevard didn't really feel as if they were owed any kind of right of refusal, since it's not like the release of Chainbreaker has any negative impact on them. Now Reboot has been released, and it's recipe is again slightly different from the original Collaboration No. 2 upon which it is based.

    I've tried all of the beers in question except for Conflux No. 2, and I don't think they are any more similar to each other than four similar American IPAs would be to one another. I also don't think there is any element of gamesmanship or conflict between the two breweries--it's not like Deschutes pulled a fast one and released a full-production beer instead of a limited beer. They came back to the recipe, likely after seeing how popular the one-off was, and Boulevard to a similar approach on a slightly longer timeline.

    I think you might be onto something here. Especially the comments that have suggested that they wish the style would go away because they don't personally like it. Not really an attitude I understand, since there are plenty of beers for people to enjoy without needing to hope for the disappearance of a style that others may enjoy.

    I'm also not understanding the sentiment that hoppy flavor profiles can't play well with the spices from a traditional wit. I can understand people not personally preferring how they mix, but to declare that they can't work seems a bit overly dismissive. Oh well, more for me!
     
  28. Mikecap

    Mikecap Champion (849) May 18, 2012 Rhode Island
    Beer Trader

    I wouldn't say fail, as some have been pretty good. I found the Breaking Bad tribute beer Walt's White Lie to be fantastic
     
  29. Longstaff

    Longstaff Initiate (0) May 23, 2002 Massachusetts

    Just picked up a six pack of Harpoon White IPA and I am enjoying the balance of spiciness and hops. Seems a little more mellow than the 100bbl series version - which I also liked, but not as much due to some menthol thing going on.
     
  30. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,185) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    If "white" IPA's and Belgian yeast IPA's both went away tomorrow I wouldn't be upset.
     
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  31. southdenverhoo

    southdenverhoo Disciple (358) Aug 13, 2004 Colorado

    OK. I didn't mention Conflux but the point was the two breweries brewed from the same recipe, which I was told Boulevard came up with 100%.

    I agree there are minor differences in the beers, which I was describing as in the nature of "tweaks". But I can see how others would differ, and in retrospect the changes from Conflux/Collab #2 to Chainbreaker are certainly more than minimal. I stand by the position that Chainbreaker is inspired by and directly derivative of Conflux/Collab#2, the recipe of which was developed by Boulevard.

    I guarantee you there was butthurt, though it will never be admitted publicly, over the full scale production of Chainbreaker without the courtesy of a heads-up. I won't go into any further detail and if you choose to disagree, the last word will be yours.

    I neglected to mention earlier I like your breakdown of these styles but think your second category is further divisible into two: a) Belgian IPAs which derive from tripels, ie a hopped-up-with-American-hops tripels, of which Houbbelen Chouffe Doubellen IPA is a hallmark and one of the originators, and b) Belgian IPAs which derive from American IPAs brewed with a Belgian yeast, of which Stone's Cali-Belgique was either an original or a very early adapter, several years back.

    There are also a subcategory of this second group, American DIPAs brewed with Belgian yeast.

    But I agree wholeheartedly with your differentiation of the witbier-based "white IPA" from all of these, and the exclusion of "wheaty" Belgian IPAs (Sumpin Wild) from the "white IPA" category.
     
  32. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Meyvn (1,486) Aug 29, 2012 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Well, I'm always skeptical to accept guarantees--especially ones that are short on details and depend on some well-placed caveats. For example: the part about not admitting publicly pretty much puts this in the realm of hearsay and "insider" information, which reduces it to a conversation about what people have "heard". Which is all good--I know a lot of information is passed on that way--but it does make it difficult to debate which is the correct interpretation.

    So I guess I'll put it this way: I tend to take Boulevard's "public" (in quotes because what I've read hasn't been all Boulevard-proper, official channel info, but it has been publicly available all the same) stance on the matter at face value. I have a suspicion that the displeasure--if it exists--amounts to annoyance at not being given a heads up, rather than some objection to the idea of Deschutes producing Chainbreaker at all.

    But now it seems academic anyway, since both breweries have a take on the style that seem like they will be regular seasonals moving forward.

    PS - I agree with your subcategorization of the non-White IPA Belgian IPAs into Tripels with aggressive hopping or IPAs with Belgian yeast. As well as with your selection of Houblon Chouffe and Cali-Belgique as the hallmarks of each style.
     
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  33. ZachKelly

    ZachKelly Devotee (431) Dec 25, 2012 Virginia

    I've had a few 'white IPA's' and most weren't memorable. The Wheat based IPA's I've had have all been phenomenal.
     
  34. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (5,132) Sep 24, 2007 Washington
    Beer Trader

    I thought Cali-Belgique was a horrible mess, and Chainbreaker, while not terrible, was a rare disappointment from Deschutes.
     
  35. patkorn

    patkorn Initiate (0) Aug 30, 2007 California

    Totally agree. The problem is there is no clear definition of what a White IPA is. It's either a hoppy wit beer or an IPA made with wheat malt.
     
  36. labattblueribbon

    labattblueribbon Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2013 New York

    Blue Point Brewery has a pretty dope handle on the white IPA.
     
  37. ChrisMyhre

    ChrisMyhre Devotee (475) Sep 15, 2013 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    I hadn't liked one until today, tried the Harpoon White IPA and was shocked by how good it was. Until now I've never had a good experience with one.
     
  38. Brenden

    Brenden Poo-Bah (3,803) Feb 25, 2008 Ohio
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Is "pretty successful thus far" not an option?
     
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  39. azorie

    azorie Initiate (0) Mar 18, 2006 Florida

    how far from a real IPA does it have to go until its just not a IPA anymore? why not just give it a new name? its NOT like ANYONE sticks to anyone definition of a style anyway. If its good beer drink it, if not pour it out.....
     
  40. Johnnyhitch

    Johnnyhitch Initiate (0) Dec 12, 2012 New York
    Beer Trader

    Blue Point White IPA is great.

    I DO have a problem with the name "white IPA" and I think BP just has a large portion of wheat instead of coriander/orange

    Wit IPA....White IPA.
    Is SUCKS a white IPA?
    Is Galaxy a white IPA?
     
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