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  • What is a Milkshake IPA: Unveiling the Creamy, Hazy Craze

What is a Milkshake IPA: Unveiling the Creamy, Hazy Craze

A milkshake IPA is a creamy, fruity beer hybrid that’s sure to intrigue your taste buds. Imagine a traditional India Pale Ale hooking up with a fruit smoothie and a sprinkle of lactose – that’s essentially what you’re sipping on with this style. Blurred lines of beer conventions might have just found their match, giving you all the hoppy goodness of an IPA with a sweet twist.

Milkshake IPA
Peach Milkshake IPA from Bent River” by srboisvert is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

You might be thinking, ‘Does it really have milk in it?’ Well, it’s not milk per se, but milk sugar, also known as lactose, which doesn’t get fermented by the yeast. This unfermentable sugar adds a sweet dimension and contributes to the beer’s smooth, full-bodied texture, just like a real milkshake.

When you pour yourself a glass of milkshake IPA, you’ll often find it has a hazy appearance and can come with a wide variety of flavor profiles, depending on the fruits added. From tangy citrus to tropical melons, brewers have the freedom to play around, making each milkshake IPA you try a unique experience. So, grab your glass and dive into the world of dessert-inspired brews; who said your beer couldn’t be sweet?

Origins and Evolution

You might find it fascinating to trace the steps of the milkshake IPA’s journey from a brewing experiment to a loved staple in the craft beer scene.

Early Beginnings

Milkshake IPAs emerged from the New England IPA (NEIPA), which is known for its hazy appearance and juicy, fruit-forward flavor profile. While NEIPAs set the stage, milkshake IPAs took it up a notch by introducing lactose, a type of sugar that yeast can’t ferment, resulting in a sweeter and creamier beer.

Key Players

Two breweries stand out when you talk about the advent of the milkshake IPA: Tired Hands and Omnipollo. These collaborators are often credited with creating the first milkshake IPA. They fused their ideas and expertise to craft a beer that incorporated lactose, fruit, and vanilla with a hop-forward punch, creating a new and indulgent experience in the world of IPAs.

Brewing Techniques

So, you’re digging into how to whip up a milkshake IPA, yeah? This tasty brew pivots on a few key steps: choosing the right ingredients, nailing the mash and fermentation, and getting creative with the flavors.

Essential Ingredients

The base of your milkshake IPA is a mix of grain. You’ll want to load up on oats and wheat for that creamy mouthfeel. Then, add a kick with lactose; it’s non-fermentable sugar that yeast can’t eat up, so it stays sweet.

  • Grains:
    • Wheat malt
    • Oats (Flaked oats are popular)
  • Sugars:
    • Lactose

Mash and Fermentation Process

Get your mash process right by striking a balance in your water-to-grain ratio. You’re looking for a thicker mash to support the creamy body. When you pitch yeast, opt for a strain that accentuates the fruity flavors rather than one that’s too clean or neutral.

  1. Mash at higher temps for a fuller body.
  2. Ferment with a yeast that compliments fruitiness.

Fruit Additions and Flavor Profile

Turning up the dial on the fruity flavors means tossing in fruit purees and maybe some vanilla beans to layer in complexity. Hops are important, but they’re backstage here, letting the sweet and creamy vibes from the fruit and lactose take the spotlight.

  • Add fruit purees during or after fermentation.
  • Consider vanilla beans for added depth.
  • Choose hops that complement, not overpower, the sweetness.

Characteristics of Milkshake IPAs

Milkshake IPAs stand out in the craft beer world with their unique combination of hazy appearance, creamy body, and bold flavors. They’re a must-try if you’re into beers that offer a different sensory experience than your standard IPA.

Appearance and Mouthfeel

You’ll immediately notice that Milkshake IPAs possess a hazy and often opaque look, almost like a thick fruit smoothie. This is thanks to the variety of ingredients and the brewing methods used. When it comes to mouthfeel, Milkshake IPAs feel smooth and soft, quite literally like a milkshake. They have a thick body that coats your palate, making them substantially more substantial than most beers.

Flavor Spectrum

Your taste buds will get a kaleidoscope of flavors starting with the sweetness from added lactose. The fruit elements range from subtle to bold, incorporating tropical notes and often a hint of vanilla to round out the creamy aspect. These are usually low on the IBU scale, which means the bitterness you might expect from an IPA is dialed back, making room for the sweeter, juicier character to come forward.

Comparing to Traditional IPAs

Milkshake IPAs deviate from their traditional IPA roots primarily through the introduction of lactose, less emphasis on bitterness, and the inclusion of adjuncts. While a classic IPA focuses on hop bitterness—with an IBU that can climb quite high—Milkshake IPAs stay on the low bitterness end. They’re similar to Hazy IPAs or Smoothie IPAs in appearance but take it a step further with their sweet, fruit-forward profiles that create a dessert-like drinking experience.

Popularity and Variations

Milkshake IPAs have stirred up the craft beer world, becoming a beloved style among enthusiasts. You’ll find variations ranging from the addition of fruit to interesting combinations of spices and lactose.

Craft Beer Enthusiasts’ Take

Your fellow beer aficionados are buzzing about milkshake IPAs, appreciating their innovative profiles. Breweries continue to push boundaries, experimenting with different flavors to create unique experiences. You’ve probably noticed how popular these hazy, fruit-forward beers have become at your local taproom, reflecting their growing presence in the craft beer scene.

Notable Variations and Recipes

Ready to explore some standout milkshake IPA recipes? Here’s a small taste:

  • Peach Milkshake IPA: Imagine sipping an IPA that blends the hoppy hit of traditional IPAs with the summery sweetness of peaches, plus that signature creamy texture.
  • Raspberry Smoothie IPA: Tart, vibrant, and bold, this version marries the sharpness of raspberries with a luscious smoothie-like consistency.

Many breweries put their own spin on these recipes, contributing to an exciting variety of milkshake and smoothie IPAs. They typically use a combination of hops that lend a fruity punch, various fruits for that juicy kick, and lactose for the milkshake-like creaminess.

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