“Let’s say you have a beer. Let’s say this beer is a hazy, New England Style IPA with tons of hoppy goodness. Let say you love this beer SOOOOOOO much, that you want to make it twice as awesome as it already is. So, you take the recipe for the original beer and double the ingredients (or in our case use half the amount of water.) What you would expect is an even hazier, hoppier, boozier version of the original, yes? As it is in life, and definitely in brewing, things never go the way you think they will.
You may have had our NEIPA, Fuzz, and you may have then ordered our IIPA, Double Fuzz, and thought to yourself… “These beers aren’t even remotely close to each other! I’ve been hornswoggled!!” You would be right to feel that these beers, beyond the raw ingredients, are completely different, but we here at Gyppo would never hornswoggle you. Double Fuzz is a copper hued, 8.2% Double IPA with hints of mosaic and Citra bitterness and a smooth mouthfeel. Not to mention very un-hazy. Fuzz is a hop-splosion of aroma and bitterness wrapped up in a hazy curtain of deliciousness. Why are they so different if the raw ingredients are the same, you ask?
There are two main things stemming from one source that create this dichotomy. Carbohydrate, or sugar content in the wort which will later become alcohol. To put it simply, the higher the gravity of the wort (Gravity being a measure of the sugar/carbohydrate density in a fluid, such as wort) the less utilization of Alpha-Acids from hops resulting in a less bitter beer than one would expect. If you remember back to the time we talked about IBU’s and Hops, the equation is already a bit slippery. This reduction in utilization in higher gravity wort is another wrench in the machinery. Also, this higher gravity results in a more “Stressed” fermentation for our little friends, Yeast. The more alcohol they are swimming in the “harder” they have to work and thus create different aroma and flavor profiles than they would in a lower alcohol, less stressful” environment. This also causes the yeast to stop fermenting before the alcohol content becomes crazy high. There are yeast strains that will ferment to a very high alcohol content, but the strain used for Fuzz and Double Fuzz is a classic English Ale yeast which isn’t genetically disposed to push the percentage up. The yeast can no longer handle the environment, they settle out and leave behind a little unfermented carbohydrate. Hence the slightly sweeter feel of Double Fuzz.
There are multiple other variables, such as pH, temperature and rigor of the boil, time spent in the whirlpool, slight variances in the physiological make-up the raw ingredients from different harvests, etc, that can make major differences in the final result even when trying to make the exact same beer with the exact same everything. There are laboratories filled with brilliant minds trying to figure out a way to make Budweiser™ Taste like Budweiser™ every time you have a Budweiser™ . Even when you have a Budweiser™ on Mars™, for sometimes global domination is a stepping stone to the Universe achieved through methodical consistency!
Fortunately, for us here at Gyppo, we don’t have to worry about Space Brewing. We are lucky to be able to experiment and enjoy the results. Delicious beer is delicious beer. Our Pilsner might taste different batch to batch, but it will always be fantastic. Our Fuzz may be Fuzzier and our Beach Beer may be Beachier, but it will always be ours. We also are afforded the opportunity to experiment with lemon zest, cherries, chocolate, and peaches (that’s coming soon). You also get to enjoy the results. Double Fuzz was an experiment to see what would happen if we used the same stuff, but concentrated it. Not to make a ramped up version of Fuzz, but to make a delicious Double IPA via a cool thought experiment and the results are undeniably so.
Come down to Gyppo sometime, beer journal in hand of course, order a taster glass each of Fuzz and Double Fuzz and check not only how good they are, but how a simple change in the process can make two things so very different.”