Welcome to part 2 of the We Brought Beer A to Z of craft beer.
D – DIPA, Dry-hopped
Or Double India Pale Ale to give it it’s full title. Was often referred to as Imperial IPA back in the early days of craft, and refers to IPAs that sit between 7.2% and 9.9% in ABV. Traditional DIPAs had a big sweet and malty backbone rounded out with a big hit of bitter hops. However, the rise of the hazy Vermont version of the style over the past few years, popularised by breweries like Cloudwater & Verdant in the UK, and Trillium and Treehouse in the USA, has led to an increase in the popularity of the style, probably because East Coast styles tend to be more juicy, less bitter and more approachable at a higher ABV.
This is a process that involves adding hops whilst the beer is conditioning, in a chilled state, meaning that only hop aroma is imparted, not hop bitterness. Traditionally this process literally involved throwing hops in the top of fermenter although these days many modern craft breweries use what is called a hop cannon which fires hops into the conditioning tank under high pressure. If you sniff a beer that has been dry hopped versus one that hasn’t, the difference in the aroma is striking, which is why breweries do it. That said, adding more hops to produce more aroma increases production costs, hence why you’ll see many double dry hopped (DDH) with quite eye watering price tags!
E – Esters, East Coast
One of many chemical reactions within the brewing process, esters are a byproduct of fermentation. They impart an often fruity flavour to the beer and tend to be more common in ales, which are fermented at a warmer temperature than lagers, which are cold fermented over a longer period of time. The type of yeast used also plays a big part in how much – many? – esters are produced – yeasts used to make many Belgian beers and certain German ales (such as Hefe-weizen) produce very pronounced, often banana flavoured esters that are an integral part of the beer’s characteristic.
By which we’re referring to the East Coast of the USA, in a beer context (obvs!). Not historically a significant region for beer, in the past decade it has blossomed into one of the most exciting beer scenes, with exceptional breweries popping up all over the place, including Trillium, Treehouse, Other Half and Hill Farmstead (who have been voted best brewery in the world several years on the trot). More significantly however, it has also unleashed its own style of IPA onto the world – the East Coast IPA, also known as New England IPA (NEIPA), Vermont-style or even Yeast Coast. In contrast to its West Coast cousin, East Coast IPAs eschew bitterness & clarity in favour of a juicy mouthfeel and hazy appearance.
F – Fermentation
The penultimate stage of the brewing process (if you exclude packaging), fermentation is the glorious part that transforms sugary wort into beer! It occurs in a fermenting vessel, at which stage yeast is “pitched”. Over a period of between 4-14 days the yeast gets to work, eating up most of the sugar in the wort, converting it into alcohol and CO2. If you wanted a crude but effective way to remember this process, you could say the yeast gobbles up the sugar, farts out CO2 and pees out alcohol. But of course we know that you’re too sophisticated to think of it like that!