Traditional white IPA recipes should pay some homage to the original creators of this unique style of beer. Originally brewed in 2010 as a collaboration by Steven Pauwels and Larry Sidor and recognized as an official style of beer in 2015 by the BJCP; this style of beer is basically a blend of a Belgian Wit beer and an American IPA.
As a result of this blend, any white IPA recipe should produce a beer that is smooth tasting due to its wheat beer heritage but also have a distinguishable hop presence and characteristics due to its American IPA heritage.
The following is one of our favorite recipes for this style of beer; if you wish to modify it or create your own, further in this article we will provide you with some brewing tips on how to do so…
White IPA Recipe
Batch Size: 5.3 Gallons (Fermenter)
ABV: 6 – 7%
5.5lb (2.5kg) Belgian Wheat
5.5lb (2.5kg) Belgian Pilsner
1lb (0.5kg) Flaked Oats
0.5lb (0.25kg) Carapils
1oz (28g) Centennial (60 min)
1 oz (28g) Amarillo (10 min)
SafAle T-58 Ale Yeast
Mash at 152℉ for 90 minutes. Perform a mash-out if you wish by raising the temperature to 170℉ for 10 minutes. Sparge with 170℉ water. Boil for 90 minutes due to using Pilsner malt. Because you are making an IPA you want to get as much of the essentials out of the hops as possible in order to provide high levels of flavor and aroma, as such it is recommended to whirlpool the hops for approximately 20 minutes.
Next, chill your wort down to yeast pitching temperature as quickly as possible, transfer it to your fermenter and pitch your yeast. Strive to ferment the beer at approximately 65 – 68℉ for the first 5 days, after which a gradual rise in temperature to approximately 70 – 72℉ is recommended but not required. Leave the beer in the fermenter for 10 days which will allow the yeast time to clean itself up.
Because this beer has a hazy appearance there is no requirement to cold crash it, as such when fermentation is completed you can proceed to package it in either kegs or bottles. Carbonation levels are typically around the 2.25 volume range.
Tips to Brew a White IPA Recipe
Although it is true that if you brewed a beer that had the grain bill of a Belgian Wit and hopped it like an American IPA you would be close to having made a White IPA there is actually a little more to it than that…
For grains keep it to even parts unmalted wheat malt and Belgian pilsner malt. Other European pilsner malts such as German Pilsner can be used however Belgian is preferred. Do not attempt to replace the unmalted wheat with malted as you will end up with more of an American Wheat beer than a Belgian Wit.
5 – 10% of the grain bill should be rolled or flaked oats in order to increase the mouthfeel and flavor. Some recipes will also include a small amount of Munich malt, typically under 5%, doing so adds some bready characteristics, just don’t go add any more than the 5% or it will overpower the wheat and reduce some of the softness it brings to this beer.
As in the case of this recipe you can add a small amount of a dextrin style malt like carapils for some increased head retention and mouthfeel.
This is where this recipe takes a significant deviation from its Belgian Wit beer heritage which is typically lightly hopped using noble hops. With a White IPA, you want the bold citrus hop characteristics provided by American hops.
As for the type of American Hops and how much to use the choice is really yours. Many commercial examples use cascade, centennial, columbus, amarillo and nugget; however, craft breweries and homebrewers use the new-age hop varieties like citra and mosaic and even some of the New Zealand hops and report excellent results.
As for hop additions, the choice is again yours, some brewers put all of the hops in as a bittering addition at 60 minutes, while others will have a bittering addition followed by an aroma addition towards or at the end of the boil like this recipe calls for while other recipes will call for dry hopping for more aroma.
The yeast is an important part of this recipe and also where the Belgian Wit beer characteristics come from. The yeast helps provide for some of the pepper and spice characteristics.
We tend to prefer dry yeasts, and SafAle T-58 Ale Yeast is a great option. If you prefer liquid yeasts then White Labs and Wyeast both have Belgian Witbier yeasts you can use.
Adding spices is optional, as you will see with our recipe we did not include any as the yeast provides enough of those characteristics for our liking. However, you may want to try adding some as traditionally this beer and Belgian Wit beers do have some spices such as orange peel and coriander added.
If you decide to add spices go carefully as you can easily add too much which will have a negative effect on the beer. Start with ½ an ounce of each and adjust accordingly. Typically spice additions are at the 5-minute mark of the boil.
The Final Word
As you have seen there is some freedom to be creative when designing White IPA recipes, especially with the variety of hops and their additions as well as the spices. However some aspects of your recipe you need to be conservative with and stick to the traditional guidelines for this style, i.e. the type of yeast used and the grain bill.
Have fun making this beer, if you enjoy Belgian beers and IPA’s you are in for a real treat!
P.S. Be sure to grab the recipes for my top 5 best-selling beers from my brewpub. Details are on the side of the blog or at the bottom if you are on your smart device. Cheers!