At the back end of last year, we got together with our great friends at Left Handed Giant for a collaboration brew. Together we brewed up Finzels, a 7.5% Sour IPA.
We were both fascinated with the emergence of the Sour IPA style, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to brew what we’d both been itching to try out.
Bruce (from Left Handed Giant) had just been to America and had picked up some cans from Hudson Valley, the brewery that is probably most famous for making this particular style. He sent some cans over pre-brewday, we tried them together and decided how we wanted the beer to look and feel.
The Sour IPA combines the juicy-hop forward profile of New England style IPAs with the sharp tartness and luscious fruit flavours of the best kettle sours, backed up with some milk sugar to bind all those flavours together.
The acidity comes from lactobacillus, and acts a control to the residual sweetness of the NEIPA, which is usually brewed with soft grains such as wheat or oats. It’s this thick and creamy, hoppy yet fruity and tart style of beer, with the balance coming in-between all of those factors.
For our collaboration, we brewed two different beers and blended them together. The first was a standard New England Double IPA with lactose, while the second was a classic Gipsy Hill sour. We added lactose to the NEIPA to balance out the sourness, and to give a bit more emphasis to the fruit flavours.
Post brewday, we fruited the NEIPA during fermentation, picking fruits which would complement the aromas from a heavy dry hop addition of Rakau, Mandarina Bavaria, Huel Melon, and Motueka. We settled on mango, apricot and peach, adding around 850kg to the beer while it was still in tank.
After adding the fruit, all that was left to do was to blend in our sour ‘addition’ bit by bit until we had achieved the desired level of sourness in the finished beer. The result is a big bodied, fruity, slightly sour, low bitterness, hop forward IPA that weighs in at 7.5% and drinks like a sorbet in a glass.
We named the beer Finzels, after the area of Bristol in which Left Handed Giant’s iconic brewpub is based. The label features Heather, one of the forces that makes LHG tick (Bruce, Jack and Rich make it tock!).
Finzels will be available to purchase online via our online shop as part of our next set of specials releases on Wednesday 22nd January at 12pm.