#BeerRelease, #Collabs

Obscurity of Purpose

Our latest collaboration started like this: Let’s make a hazy IPA, only clear.

This thought occurred, as such thoughts often do, at Grumpy’s in northeast Minneapolis. Surly’s Ben Smith and Fair State’s Niko Tonks were kicking back after work and talking about Fair State’s successful experimentation with hazy IPAs. Like Ben and fellow Head Brewer Jerrod Johnson, Niko’s inclination lies more towards brewing traditional German-style lagers and Franco-Belgian saisons. They landed on the idea of crafting a New England-style IPA in flavor, with a brilliant appearance and aesthetic, as opposed to the standard haze. The name and beer Clarity of Purpose was born!

(Yes, Clarity of Purpose. Keep reading.)

The brewers set out to make a grist low in protein and polyphenol, as most haze in beer comes from an interaction between the two. They used flaked corn (low in protein) and Crisp Clear Choice malt (low in polyphenol) to achieve this.

The other component for an NEIPA is yeast. We will now send it over to Ben for some beer science.

The theory is that there are hop compound biotransformation reactions catalyzed by something in the yeast used in fermentation, with some yeasts more inclined to catalyze these reactions than others.  The theory states that geraniol is transformed to B-citronellol, and additional glycosides are hydrolyzed, freeing them to volatize in flavor-active forms – both also contributing to haze.  The argument is that adding dry-hops during active fermentation further catalyzes these reactions. 

We decided to use Saccharomyces Trois in cooperation with our normal English Ale Strain.  The Sacch Trois produces a slightly tart beer with flavors of mango and pineapple – perfect for use in conjunction with Citra and Mosaic hops. It is also quite unpredictable, and in this beer fermented very slowly.  It seemed to inhibit our English Ale yeast as well.  Sacch Trois is not very flocculent, but we had hoped that it would bind with the extremely flocculent English Ale yeast and drop out. That was not the case and the yeast never really dropped out of suspension. 

The result is a hazy, New England-style IPA due to these factors. There are mango, pineapple, papaya, and other tropical fruit aromatics, and it tastes fantastic. But it is mightily opaque, unlike the hoped-for clarity from the original Grumpy’s brainstorm-and-Banquets session. Thus, the name was changed to Obscurity of Purpose.

HOWEVER, Clarity of Purpose still exists. We collaborated on a second batch at Fair State, this one without the Sacch Trois, in hopes that the low protein/polyphenol grist will keep the beer as free of haze as possible. (“Expect a slight haze, akin to something like Xtra-Citra,” says Ben.) Fair State will be holding a release party at, appropriately enough, Grumpy’s on Monday, April 2nd.

TO RECAP:

  • Surly and Fair State collaborated on what ended up being two NEIPA-influenced beers. The beer nerd in your life may need to lie down for a spell.
  • Obscurity of Purpose is available at Surly’s Beer Hall now. This is a draft-only release.
  • Clarity of Purpose will be available on draft at Fair State next week. They’re also planning to release it in 4-packs of 16-oz. cans.

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