New Zealand IPA


Electric IPA



"I have been brewing on and off for the past 40 yrs and just got back into all grain (3 vessel) brewing. I brewed 40 litres of NZIPA and I have to say it is the best beer I have ever made, great recipe. Most of the 40 litres has gone but I have another batch currently in the fermentor. Thanks Kal for the great website and recipes." - whistledown



New Zealand produces some of the most unique hops on the planet, which is causing a surge in popularity with craft breweries around the world as they look to implement the resiny fruit flavours to various beer styles. Some will even go as far as saying that the big flavours of New Zealand hops have more 'finesse' than their 'brash' American counterparts.

Rather than the citrusy and pine-like flavours you get from many American hops, New Zealand hops are known to produce something more like a tropical punchbowl: Passion fruit, limes, oranges and Sauvignon blanc grapes (gooseberry flavours).

The hops grown in New Zealand are not native; they were introduced and developed basically since European immigration in the early 19th century. The majority of Kiwi hops (at least traditionally) have been bred to contain a high level of alpha acid, presumably to maximize land efficiency at a time before the use of late hops and dry hopping, at least to the levels currently seen in many modern interpretations of classic styles.

Electric IPAA New Zealand Hop Farm before the harvest. Image (c)

For this recipe we decided to focus on the following New Zealand hops:

  • Nelson Sauvin: The essential oil profile displays "fresh crushed gooseberries", a descriptor often used for the Sauvignon blanc grape, giving rise to this variety’s name. Nelson Sauvin has the unique ability to impart a distinctive cool climate white wine “fruitiness”. Requires judicious application in the brew house as the fruitiness may be a little overpowering for the uninitiated, however those with a penchant for bold hop character will find several applications for this true brewer's hop. Quintessentially New Zealand.
  • Kohatu: A big aroma hop with intense floral characters of pine needles, tropical fruit, and plenty of lime. Kohatu is a touch subtler than most other NZ varieties. The rounded flavour is also earthy and has been described as coming from a more European than American background.
  • Galaxy: Showcases gentle citrus with passion fruit notes, along with a high alpha acid level. Similar to Citra, but with the tropical fruit toned down and a bit more grassy flavour. (Note: While traditionally an Australian hop, the ones we used are from New Zealand and are very similar. Use either for this recipe.)

Electric IPAHopWired is the first bottled new world IPA made with NZ grown pale ale malt and 100% unique NZ hops. Image (c)

Lately it seems we've only been making very dry / light coloured American IPAs, double IPAs, and triple IPAs such as Bell's Two Hearted Ale, Russian River Pliny the Younger, and Stone 'Enjoy By' IPA, to name few. These are all beers where the predominate malt is usually lightly kilned domestic 2-row malt, with very little specialty or crystal malt, mashed on the lower end of the spectrum (145-150F). The end result is a dry beer with little malt flavour, something to let the hops shine through.

For this recipe we thought we'd try something a bit different, similar to what many of the commercial IPA producers are doing with the New Zealand focused IPAs: Stick with an American style IPA, but add a touch more malt depth to it. To accomplish this, we used slightly higher kilned British Maris Otter malt (2.5-4L) as the base malt with just a touch of crystal malt in the 30-40L range for a bit of sweet mild caramel flavour and increased golden colour.

Although there's a touch more of a malty backbone than many American IPAs, this beer is still all about the hops. Even though English malt is used, an English IPA this is not. The hoping rate and yeast make this distinctly an American style.

New to some brewers may be the concept of First Wort Hopping (FWH) mentioned in the recipe. This is a process where hops are added to the boil kettle as the wort is being sparged from the mash/lauter tun. Why is this done? To quote How to Brew:

As the boil tun fills with wort (which may take a half hour or longer), the hops steep in the hot wort and release their volatile oils and resins. The aromatic oils are normally insoluble and tend to evaporate to a large degree during the boil. By letting the hops steep in the wort prior to the boil, the oils have more time to oxidize to more soluble compounds and a greater percentage are retained during the boil.

A blind tasting among professional German brewers determined that the use of FWH resulted in a more refined hop aroma, a more uniform bitterness (i.e. no harsh tones), and a more harmonious beer overall compared to an identical beer produced without FWH.

Brew up a batch and let us know how you like it!


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New Zealand IPA

Size: 12 US gallons (post-boil @ 68F)
Mash Efficiency: 95%
Attenuation: 81.4%
Original Gravity: 1.059 (style range: 1.056 - 1.075)
Final Gravity: 1.011 (style range: 1.010 - 1.018)
Colour: 8.7 SRM (style range: 6 - 15)
Alcohol: 6.3% ABV (style range: 5.5% - 7.5%)
Bitterness: 55 IBU (style range: 40 - 70)

19.5 lb Maris Otter malt (2.5-4L) (95.1%)
1 lb Crystal malt (40L) (4.9%)

1 oz New Zealand Nelson Sauvin hops (11.5%) - added first wort*, boiled 60 min [10.3 IBU] 
1 oz New Zealand Galaxy hops (12.3%) - added first wort*, boiled 60 min [11.0 IBU] 
1 oz New Zealand Kohatu hops (5.7%) - added first wort*, boiled 60 min [5.1 IBU] 
1 Whirlfloc tablet (Irish moss) - added during boil, boiled 15 min
1 oz New Zealand Nelson Sauvin hops (11.5%) - added during boil, boiled 10 min [7.3 IBU] 
1 oz New Zealand Galaxy hops (12.3%) - added during boil, boiled 10 min [7.8 IBU] 
1 oz New Zealand Kohatu hops (5.7%) - added during boil, boiled 10 min [3.6 IBU] 
1 oz New Zealand Nelson Sauvin hops (11.5%) - added during boil, boiled 5 min [3.7 IBU] 
1 oz New Zealand Galaxy hops (12.3%) - added during boil, boiled 5 min [3.9 IBU] 
1 oz New Zealand Kohatu hops (5.7%) -added during boil, boiled 5 min [1.8 IBU] 

1 oz New Zealand Nelson Sauvin hops (11.5%) - added immediately after boil 
1 oz New Zealand Galaxy hops (12.3%) - added immediately after boil
1 oz New Zealand Kohatu hops (5.7%) - added immediately after boil

Fermentis Safale US-05 dry yeast** (42g recommended or make an equivalent starter)

Dry hop: 
2 oz New Zealand Nelson Sauvin hops (11.5%) - added to fermenter near end of fermentation, steeped 3 days
2 oz New Zealand Galaxy hops (12.3%) - added to fermenter near end of fermentation, steeped 3 days
2 oz New Zealand Kohatu hops (5.7%) - added to fermenter near end of fermentation, steeped 3 days

*First wort hops are added to the boil kettle at the start of sparging (before the wort is boiled). For IBU calculations, first wort hopping is said to be similar to a 20 minute addition.

**If you prefer to use liquid yeast, Wyeast 1056 American Ale or White Labs WLP001 California Ale are excellent choices as they are the same clean fermenting Chico strain as US-05. You'll need ~494 billion cells (4-5 fresh packs) or an equivalent starter.

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Notes / Process

  • Add 500mg potassium metabisulfite to 20 gallons water to remove chlorine / chloramine (if required).
  • Water treated with brewing salts to our Hoppy flavour profile: Ca=110, Mg=18, Na=16, Cl=50, SO4=275 (Basically Randy Mosher's ideal Pale Ale numbers with slightly less sulfate). For more information on how to adjust your water, refer to our step by step Water Adjustment guide.
  • 1.25 qt/lb mash thickness.
  • Single infusion mash at 152F for 90 mins.
  • Raise to 168F mashout temperature and hold for 10 mins.
  • ~90 min fly sparge with ~5.6-5.8 pH water (measured at mash temperature).
  • Boil for 60 minutes, adding Whirlfloc and hops per schedule. Lid on at flameout after post-boil hops are added, start chilling immediately.
  • Cool the wort quickly to 66F (we use a one-pass convoluted counterflow chiller to quickly lock in hop flavour and aroma) and transfer to fermenter.
  • Aerate or oxygenate the chilled wort to a level of 8-10 ppm dissolved oxygen. For more information refer to our Aerating / Oxygenating Wort guide.
  • Pitch yeast and ferment at 66-68F (wort temperature). We use modified stainless fermenting buckets in wine fridges.
  • Add dry hops once fermentation is nearing completion (i.e. 5 points from final gravity) and raise the temperature to 70-72F. In our case we simply turn off the fermenting fridges and allow the beer to naturally rise to room temperature. Steep hops for 3 days while fermentation finishes. Assume fermentation is done if the gravity does not change over ~3 days.
  • Before packaging you may optionally rack to a brite tank (we use 5 gallon glass carboys) that has been purged with CO2 to avoid oxygen pickup, add 1 tsp of unflavoured gelatin dissolved in a cup of hot distilled water per 5 gallons of beer, and allow to clear for 2-3 days. Gelatin may "round off" some hop flavour / aroma so we tend to skip this step with hop forward beers like this. As well, the less you handle the beer through racking and potentially expose it to oxygen, the better.
  • Package as you would normally. We rack to kegs that have first been purged with CO2, and then carbonate on the low side (around 2 volumes of CO2) to minimize carbonic bite and let the hop and malt flavours shine through. We chill the kegs to near freezing while carbonating at the same time in a 6-keg conditioning fridge. After ~1-2 weeks at serving pressure the kegs will be carbonated and ready to serve. Like all hop forward beers this IPA is best consumed fresh so feel free to raise the CO2 pressure temporarily to 30-40 PSI to carbonate fast over a 24 period, and then turn back down to serving pressure. Some hop bits will have invariably made their way into the keg during transfer so we use a Hop Stopper Keg Edition filter to ensure that hops do not clog the dip tube and/or end up in the glass. Force carbonating at high pressure and using a Hop Stopper filter allows us to serve this beer 24 hours after kegging. There's no need to wait a few days for any hop bits that made their way into the keg to first settle out.

For detailed brewing instructions, see our Brew Day Step by Step guide.


Questions? Visit our New Zealand IPA forum thread


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