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Funky Fusion

5 months after releasing our first IPA with Clean Fusion, we check in with Head Brewer Nick in light of our latest release in the Clean Fusion journey - Funky Enuff New World IPA - to see what he's been tinkering with in the pursuit of the ultimate hop profile.

Q: How’s Clean Fusion progressed since the earlier iterations - have there been tweaks to the process?

A: We are always tweaking and tinkering in the brewery! The Clean Fusion project - and by extension the Hazy Pilot Program - has been constantly evolving for a good chunk of our existence now and we’ve definitely learned and adapted a lot along the journey. The first tweak is the timing - we’ve found, as the literature suggests, that a short-n-sweet 18 hours or so of contact time with the hops is key to keeping a balance of a nuanced hop profile and excessive green, vegetal hop character at bay. The second tweak is temperature - we’ve been trialling both warmer (18-20°C) and colder (10-12°C) infusion times and have found spinning onto the hops at 12°C and letting free rise to 14°C is the best balance of character using this process. The third tweak is yeast - we’ve been testing a mix of unique yeasts together to find a ‘house yeast’ that we are truly happy to work with. After a good 18 months of trials, we reckon we’ve nailed it and it’s taken our Hazy Program to that next level we were looking for. It’s expressive, versatile, works extremely well with a wide spectrum of hop varieties and is an absolute work horse.

Q: How do these tweaks in the brewery translate to the beers themselves?

A: Even in our latest releases, we have slightly alternative approaches. Funky Enuff New World IPA has a larger focus on the hops, as in the hop load is much higher than say an earlier release like Wonderland By Night DIPA. We went with a colder ferment with our House Yeast and an astronomically high hop load with a very short contact time in Funky Enuff to see if hop extraction was more potent at a higher rate. Whereas in Wonderland By Night, we’ve pulled back on the hop load but given the same contact time and employed a warmer ferment of the same House Hazy Yeast to express, integrate and compliment the nuanced character of the hops used. Both are outstanding beers and tasted side-by-side you can tell they share a common thread, but truly do stand on their own as new age examples of the ever evolving world of IPA.

Q: What can we look forward to in the future?

A: We will be looking at the relationship between hop load, hop variety/combos, contact time and temperature. This Holy Quartet of Flavour™ is almost certainly interlinked, and like how we approach everything here at One Drop, understanding its workings and basing our trials on the fundamentals will be how we evolve this part of Clean Fusion. We’re also looking at alternative adjuncts to add during the process like Sauvignon Blanc grape skins, beta-acid derived hop products and oenology yeast nutrients to amplify and integrate the expressive character of world-class hops and our House Yeast culture to really push our Hazy Program to the next level.


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