Shaking up the Beer World - The Milkshake IPA


Milkshake IPA


Style Overview


Impression: An addition of lactose to a New England IPA amplifies all of the characteristics that originally set the haze craze in motion, creating a beer with an even juicier appearance, and a smooth and soft body that is the perfect backdrop for modern hops and fruit additions.

Aroma: Intensely hoppy, highlighted by new American hops varities and citrus fruits. Sublte notes of malt and a slightly bready character.

Appearance: Ranging from light yellow to pale orange, often resembling a glass of fresh-squeezed citrus juice. Hazy, not transparent, with a thick white head often with very high retention. 

Flavor: Fruit-forward, citrus notes matching those found in the aroma. Medium-low to low bitterness, which is often blanketed by the thick body. Slight malty presence with subtle sweetness but without carmel or toasty qualities. 

Mouthfeel: Lactose distinguishes the mouthfeel, bringing a velvety presence that is both smooth and creamy for a full-bodied beer, typically with medium carbonation.


Making Sense of Milkshake IPAs

The craft-beer scene is constantly evolving, as brewers are always in search of the next big thing that will get customers to belly up to tasting-room bars. The explosion in popularity of hazy New England-style India pale ales in recent years has given rise to a newer subset: the milkshake IPA. How do you define this style, and how does it differ from other beers? Here’s an overview of this dessert-inspired brew and a few examples you can try if you want to get a taste for this trend.

Start With the Haze

Since milkshake IPAs are a subset of the hazy New England style, it makes sense that brewers start by creating the signature murky brew that has delighted drinkers and enraged traditionalists for years. While some brewers pride themselves on producing beers so clear you could read the newspaper through your glass, this style throws that out the window by foregoing the filtering process entirely. By heavily dry-hopping these brews, which means adding hops in the fermenter, proteins from the lupulin-laced flowers stay in suspension. Combined with yeast and other protein-heavy adjuncts, the finished product closely resembles orange juice and has a softer mouthfeel and more-delicate flavors.

Creating the Milkshake


Bag of Lactose
Once the hazy IPA entered mainstream brewing culture, it was only a matter of time until the style evolved, and the milkshake is the result. To create these beers, brewers introduce copious amounts of fruit, vanilla, and other flavors to the hazy brew before topping it off with one key ingredient: lactose. This sugar, which is found in milk, adds a creamy sweetness to the beer that mimics the flavor and mouthfeel of a classic malt-shop treat. Since lactose can’t be fermented by yeast, this addition is done strictly to alter the flavor and texture of the brew without upping the alcohol content.

Examples of the Style

Now you know what goes into a milkshake IPA, it’s time to try one for yourself. Here are five outstanding examples of the style that’s pushing the boundaries of brewing:
  1. Strawberry Milkshake IPA by Tired Hands Brewing Company -- a play on the classic diner treat, brewed with strawberries and vanilla.
  2. Live Transmission by Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery - grapefruit and orange peel welcome a touch of citrus to this creamy ale.
  3. Cloud Catcher by Odell Brewing Co. - hazy with a smooth texture and highlighted with notes of orange and peach for a tangy punch.
  4. Piña Colada Milkshake by WeldWerks Brewing Co. - mimics the flavors of the classic frozen cocktail with the addition of pineapple and coconut.
  5. Liquid Art Fest IPA by Collective Arts Brewing - tropical fruits like mango and passion fruit are accentuated by the aroma and flavor of citra and simcoe.  

Brew Your Own

With the knowledge of what brewers are doing to create this style of beer, now it’s time to create your own milkshake IPA recipe, and MoreBeer has you covered with the equipment and supplies you need. To start on your brewing journey, stop by one of our stores or give us a call at 1-800-600-0033 today.

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