With Head Brewer Nick Calder-Scholes.
One of the most technically challenging and lowest ABV beers to date. With a full IPA flavour profile punching well above its weight in ABV, our Head Brewer Nick opens up about the rebrewed Luponus Maximus Micro IPA.
Q: Why did you decide to rebrew with a new selection of hops?
A: our Hazy Program has come leaps and bounds even in the space of 6 months since we first released Luponus Maximus. Being a lower ABV Hazy, we wanted to showcase some newer hops on the market that we’ve been using a bit of lately to achieve an amplified character – think less white wine from this version, and more fruit salad tropical vibes.
Q: What makes it hard to brew a micro IPA?
A: Alcohol - or ethanol - gives a slightly sweet, full effect in the mouth. It's this that gives higher ABV beers their perfect foundation for hops and hop character to pop off of. So finding balance in a lower ABV beer - a product that would typically be thinner, and less robust - with what you’d expect of an IPA in terms of hops, malt, fullness and finish isn’t easy. But we’ve worked for a while now and think we’ve found a way to find a rich fullness that backs up that popping hop character.
Q: What method have you used to achieve low ABV?
A: Contrary to some mainstream lower alcohol production, we’ve just adjusted the parameters in our brewhouse along with some serious wrangling of our in-house hazy yeast rather than any sort of alcohol removal after fermentation. Combined with stacks of oat and wheat and you’ve got yourself a full mouthfeel you’d expect from a hazy with way less alcohol.
Q: What have you personally enjoyed about making this beer?
A: We enjoy a challenge at One Drop and this is technically one of the most challenging beers we’ve done. Personally I feel there’s more space in our lives for full flavour low alcohol products – and there was a time I said I’d never do one, but now I’m eating my oat and wheat laden words. The outcome is way better than I thought it was going to be – it excites me about where this space goes next. 5 years ago at a beer festival you’d find all the brewers hanging around the breweries serving lagers because that was the yardstick. I think full flavour lower ABV beers will join that space as a display of brewing finesse.