Extra Brut: A New Kind of IPA

By John Gillooly, Drake’s Brewmaster
February 20, 2018

A month ago we discovered a pretty unique take on IPA at Social Kitchen & Brewery in San Francisco. Their brewmaster, Kim Sturdavant, created a super dry IPA called Hop Champagne, using enzymes that make complex sugars in beer, completely fermentable. Reducing the amount of residual sugar in beer, to this extreme, gives the beer an ultra-dry, brut champagne-like body, that’s a great platform for hop aroma and flavor.  

Trocken: Extra Brut IPA, poured from the brite tank before packaging.


Because we’re always looking for new ways to express our love for hops, we decided to brew our own version, Trocken: Extra Brut IPA (“Trocken” means dry in German). Our beer is a nod to German Riesling and features Hallertauer Blanc, a new German hop, that imparts notes of white grape skins, bolstered by bright citric flavors from Amarillo and Bavaria Mandarina hops, and a bit of crisp tropicality courtesy of El Dorado hops. The beer finished at 7.8% ABV. 


Trocken will be available on draft starting today at Drake’s Dealership and Barrel House, while supplies last, as part of our Tuesday Tapping Series. Every Tuesday, both locations feature a new beer created by our brewing team.

The beer is often packaged the morning it’s served, so you can enjoy them as fresh as possible. Tuesday Tapping’s are a great opportunity to taste new, unique, or experimental beers. On February 27th you can expect a Dunkelweizen made with rye.

Photo: Drake’s Production Manager, DeVonne Buckingham (left), with Kim Sturdavant of Social Kitchen & Brewery


If you would like a better understanding of how and why an extra brut IPA was created, here’s how Kim Sturdavant approached the creation of his beer Hop Champagne:

I’ve played around with this enzyme to dry out our triple IPA in the past, rather than using dextrose (which, as a personal preference I try to avoid). I’ve had this concept floating in my head for a year or so and finally got around to realizing it in practice. The timing is great, because right now the brewing scene is all about fluffy hazy juicy IPA profiles with a lot of mouthfeel, and this is a huge contrast to that, and a refreshing (pun intended) alternative.

What I’m striving for is the palest possible color and smallest amount of body in the beer to lay the foundation, or lack thereof, for the hops. Making a dry neutral malt profiled beer, to allow the hops to pop more isn’t a new concept, but this extra brut style is all about pushing that as far as possible to the point it comes across as something like hop Champagne, if possible.

With basically zero body to balance out the bitterness, we’re left with a puzzle to solve, and that’s what we (all of us that are just starting to brew these) are doing right now. I’m really curious to see how other brewers approach this puzzle. I really hope more breweries give it a shot so we can learn from each other and push the style forward. I can’t wait to try the Drake’s version!

There you go, straight from the brewer. Kim, thanks for the opportunity to mess around with a new IPA style. We hope Trocken does you proud. Once we knock this beer out, we’re going to take a shot at brewing a dry and hazy beer, using enzymes to ferment out all the available sugars, but with a lush hazy body from unmalted oat. Hazy Brut, baby, stay tuned! Until then, RELEASE THE TROCKEN!


  1. Dan Buchalter says:

    Might this actually run out today on draft? Will there be a bottled release? Sounds great but my schedule today makes it unlikely I can make it until after 5pm if at all.

    PS liked the “Release the Trocken!” comment.

    • Brian Stechschulte says:

      Hi Dan, this beer will only be available on draft. We should have a good supply for at least a week unless there’s a bigger rush than we’re expecting. You should be okay if you swing by tomorrow.

      • Dan Buchalter says:

        Thanks, I’ll do my best to drop by this week, and maybe get an order of “tots” while I’m at it.

  2. Wondering what the alcohol % is…

  3. Hi all, super interesting stuff can you give any more info on the enzyme or process used? I assume it’s probably amylase and either added during the mash or at fermentation.

    • Brian Stechschulte says:

      Hi Mike,

      The enzyme was added during fermentation, but not sure about specific timing. We purchased the enzyme (believe it’s amylase) through Brewers Supply Group. They could help you a bit more on specifics.

  4. I can’t say enough about this beer! Maybe it’s partly because I’m sick to death of the NE IPA thing (and the sickly sweet juice profile), but the Trocken is quite honestly one of the best beers I’ve ever tasted. I can see this easily becoming a Drake’s classic and wholly support this becoming a beautiful bottled beverage in perpetuity. Well done! (Please make more.)

    • Brian Stechschulte says:

      Hi Cody,

      Thank you so much for the feedback. We’re really excited about this beer style and plan exploring it further. It’s good to know people are enjoying Trocken. Thanks again.


  5. Man, I’ve been brewing a similar style for years! I Use pineapple juice and light coloured fruit ales for flavour… along with blasphemous amounts of Citra. Glad this juicy shit might fade out soon haha