Review: MoreBeer’s New School Kicks Hazy Pale Ale Homebrew Recipe Kit

This review is by Homebrew Finds Contributor Brad Probert.  Brad is an engineer, expert homebrewer and experienced reviewer.  Grab a link to Brad’s website at the end of this review.

MoreBeer’s New School Kicks Hazy Pale Ale Kit

New School Kicks is categorized as a Hazy Pale Ale. I don’t know if that’s an official style, but it’s a perfect description to know what’s in store for you. It’s a cousin to the uber-popular Hazy IPA, but less hoppy.

Unboxing and Kit Inventory

Grain: I opted for un-milled grains, as I like to crush my own to have control of the grain crush. The malts were packaged in pre-measured bags of 5 lb and 1 lb increments, from Viking Malts. Therefore it was easy to cross-reference to the recipe card to confirm I got the right amounts of everything.

Base Malts in 5 lb and 1 lb BagsViking 2-Row Xtra Pale Malt

Hops: The hops came in light-proof, thick bags, where the hops supposedly were nitrogen flushed before bagging.

Hops Packaged by Artisan

Yeast: The recipe kits from MoreBeer don’t come with a specific yeast, instead they give you a list of yeast recommendations from the different yeast vendors they carry (White Labs, Wyeast, Gigayeast, Imperial, and Omega). I hadn’t used Gigayeast before, so I opted for the GY054 – Gigayeast Vermont IPA. Gigayeast packages contain 200 billion yeast cells, which on the package they say can be used as a straight pitch without a starter to ferment 5 gallons of wort up to 1.070 gravity. So that’s a great time saver. The yeast came inside a foil-lined bubble wrap padded envelope with an ice pack. Things were still cool inside after a FedEx shipment from PA to MI- not cold, but sufficient.

Yeast Packaged in Bubble Envelope With Ice PacksFresh GigaYeast Package- Only 3 Weeks OldRecipe Card and Tap Handle Insert.  Recipe Details Redacted.

Easy to Follow Recipe Card + Tap Handle Insert: In addition to the ingredients, there was a recipe card with basic brewing directions, a cut-out shape to go with the MoreBeer custom tap handle, and a sheet of basic brewing process tips.


Get Current Pricing, New School Kicks via MoreBeer, Review Continues Below


Brew Day – Brewing New School Kicks

Brew Day- Mashing in Spike Kettle with Blichmann RIMS

The recipe directions were very general. For example, they gave mash temperature, but didn’t specify a mash time. And for whirlpool hops, they didn’t dictate a whirlpool temperature or time. For seasoned brewers, this is a welcome flexibility, since we all have our particular opinions on certain process details. For newbies, this might mean a little outside research is required, which could be a good learning experience anyway. I did a single-step mash with a mashout, and adjusted water with brewing salts to match a NEIPA water profile and lactic acid to adjust the pH. I ended up with a measured pH of 5.44 in the mash. After the 60 minute boil, I whirlpooled the hop additions for 20 and 25 minutes each at 171F.

Wort During Recirculation MashHit my Mash pH – Measured using Milwaukee MW102 (MoreBeer part MT609)Hands on ReviewPost Chiller Wort into FermentorOG 12.5 Brix = 1.050 SG. Measured using Milwaukee MA871 Digital RefractometerHands on Review – Also, Search “refractometer” at MoreBeer

Fermentation

Fermentation was a quick start, with signs of gravity dropping (monitored via Tilt Bluetooth hydrometer) within 5 hours after pitching. I fermented at 68F for about 3 days, when I noticed the rate of gravity drop starting to slow. At 5 days in, the gravity had stopped dropping, even after another temperature increase, so I added the first dry hops. The second batch of dry hops was added at about 5.5 days into fermentation. The gravity dropped another couple of points, and then at 7.5 days in, I transferred to a keg to cold crash. After 5 days of cold crashing, I transferred to the serving keg. To minimize oxygen pickup during this phase (which I’ve found to be critical for flavor stability in hoppy beers), the beer sat with a head of CO2 pressure in the keg during cold crash, and transfers were done using a Northern Brewer anti-gravity diaphragm pump into kegs that had been purged of air by filling first with StarSan completely, and then the StarSan pushed out by CO2. The efforts appeared to pay dividends as I had good hop flavor stability on this beer after kegging. It finished fermentation with an ABV of 5.4% and FG of 1.010, with a yeast attenuation of just under 80%.

Fermentation in SS BrewBucketHands on Review – with FTSS2 Temp ControlNew School Kicks Fermentation Plot via TILT Bluetooth Hydrometer – Hands on Review

Custom Tap Handle and Included Insert

Custom Tap Handle for Recipe Card Insert or Chalk Writing on Blank Inserts.  Note: All MoreBeer recipe kits include a free insert that works with this tap handle.Tap Handle with Recipe Insert for Tasting Party

Conclusions: Finished Beer and Tasting

This beer was delicious from the beginning. When transferring to the serving keg before developing any carbonation, it was smooth and tasty. The haze was prominent from those first samples, and all through the drinking phase, with a super-opaque kind of grapefruit juice color (but not the pink kind). With carbonation, the hop flavors became a bit more pronounced, but there was never any kind of bite of bitterness. It just became more “palate opening”. It definitely lived up to the expectations of a “hazy pale ale” versus a “NEIPA” due to an overall less hop-forward presentation. There was no significant malt presence in the flavor, and although that meant the flavor was all hops, it was more subdued and less puckering than a typical NEIPA. I have made a few NEIPAs before, but typically with Wyeast 1318. This GigaYeast Vermont IPA strain gave it the style-indicative sweetness, but overall was a bit smoother than Wyeast.

I served this beer at a party with some neighbors and it was very well received. A few people were convinced there must have been some fruit in it because of the great fruity hop aroma wafting up out of it. With the yeast sweetness not too pronounced, and the full-flavor hops kept just in check, it made for an easy drinker that got many refill pints. Several people noted that it was so good and flavorful, but not heavy, that they could drink it all night long. I totally concur with that sentiment.

More Info at MoreBeer

More Photos

2-Row Grains Pre-CrushMilled GrainsAmarillo Pellet HopsGigaYeast Instructions

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Special Thanks to MoreBeer for providing the kit used for evaluation in this review.

By Brad Probert.  Check out Brad’s website – beersnobby.com

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