Thursday 17 November 2022

Cold IPA - Recipe Creation Guide

Cold IPA is a relatively new style of beer - and although it's not an officially recognised category within the Beer Judging Certification Program (BJCP) yet, we suspect it's only a matter of time until it will be added.

The style and name was originally coined in October 2018, with the "Relapse IPA" from Wayfinder Brewing. Relapse was their version of a "Wester than West Coast" IPA - similar to a West Coast IPA but with a drier, cleaner finish and excessive hoppiness.

In a previous post we broke down into more detail what a Cold IPA actually is, and how it differs from an India Pale Lager (IPL), but thought it would be useful to clearly define how a Cold IPA recipe should look, so here we go;


The appearance should be a light straw colour, since the base malt is comprised of only rice or corn and two-row pilsner malt (see Malt/Grains section below for more detail on this). The beer should be filtered to achieve maximum clarity. Chill haze should not be present and is considered a flaw.


Since this is still an IPA, the focal point should be the hops. New world American hop varieties with loads of fruit and citrus flavour are preferred. Little to no malt aroma should be present.


The base malt will also provide little in the way of flavour, so the hops will dominate the pallet. There should be a moderate to high bitterness (without being harsh) with a lot of supporting tropical fruit and citrus hop flavour to balance it out. Other common flavours associated with American hops such as onion-garlic, catty, piney and resinous are also permitted.


Body and mouthfeel should be medium to low, since the finished beer should be fermented out fairly dry (to around 82-88% apparent attenuation). Carbonation should be high.

Vital Statistics

ABV: 6.4% - 7.9%
IBU: 50 - 70
SRM: 2.5 - 5
OG: 1.055 - 1.065
FG: 1.006 - 1.009


Rice or Corn - 20 - 40%
Two-Row Pilsner Malt - 60 - 80%

The majority of the grist will be American two-row pilsner malt, with rice or corn (eg. maize) making up the difference and being used anywhere from 20-40%.

This will provide a clean, blank canvas for the hops to be built upon, and will provide a light body. No other specialty malts should be added.

Simple sugar such as dextrose can be added to boost sugar/alcohol content whilst keeping the body and mouthfeel light. This should be kept at 10% or less of the total grist to avoid hot, fusel alcohol flavours from being imparted into the beer.


As with most other IPA styles, hops should be added throughout the boil - at the beginning to provide the majority of bittering, and later in the boil for flavour and aroma contributions. Popular and classic hop varieties such as Mosaic, Citra, Simcoe, Amarillo and Centennial are all great examples to include.

Whirlpool Hop Additions

Whirlpool hop additions are also optional but can certainly be done to help impart even more hop flavour and aroma in addition to (or instead of) late hop additions to the boil. Typical whirlpool hopstand would be for 10-15 minutes at approx 80°C.

Dry Hopping

Dry hopping should be aggressive to help promote the required hop flavours and characteristics of the style. Dry hops should be added before fermentation is completed to help achieve biotransformation from the yeast.

Mash (Temperature & Time)

Mash @ 65°C (to create a highly fermentable wort to leave promote a high attenuation and dry finish)
Mashout @ 75°C for 10 minutes


Lager yeasts are typically used for a Cold IPA, but are fermented at warmer temperatures. Fast-fermenting strains that produce low ester and low sulfur are preferred. Clean fermenting ale strains such as Chico (US-05), Kolsch or California Common can be substituted in, as long as the sulfur and ester notes provided by the yeast are low. The style was created using lager yeast though, so if you really want to stay true to the original style - lager yeast should be used. Fermentis SafLager W-34/70 is a popular option.

Water Profile

As with any beer, water is an essential ingredient and should not be overlooked. In general terms, a water profile that has elevated sulfate levels should be used for this style of beer to help the hops shine and promote the dry finish on the palate. Brewfather's "Hoppy" water profile is a good baseline to start from. Aim for a sulfate to chloride ratio of around 2:1.

Fermentation Temperature

If using a lager yeast strain, ferment it at the higher range of the recommended temperature. If using an ale yeast strain, ferment it at the lower end of the recommended temperature range.

Pressure Fermentation

Pressure fermentation can be beneficial for this style of beer as fermenting under pressure will help to suppress any off flavours from being created - especially when fermenting at the upper range of a yeasts recommended temperature. Typical pressure used is around 10psi.

Cold Crashing

Cold crashing can be beneficial to this style of beer as it can help the hop debris settle to the bottom of the fermenter with the rest of the trub which in turn helps improve the clarity of the beer (which is a requirement of the style as per "Appearance").

Sample Recipe

Birallee Beer & Brewing - Cold IPA Recipe

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All Recipe Creation Guides

All-Grain Recipe List

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