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Overall Impression: A very pale, hop-forward American IPA variant with a bone-dry finish, very high carbonation, and a restrained bitterness level. Can be suggestive of a sparkling white wine or Champagne. The hop character is modern, and emphasizes flavor and aroma dimensions.
Aroma: Moderately high to intense hop aroma, very bright and hop-forward in the balance. Modern American and New World hop varieties provide a wide range of possible characteristics, such as tropical, stone fruit, citrusy, or white grape, but not grassy, vegetal, or herbal. Malt is subtle, neutral, and in the background, but never caramelly or overly corny-sweet. A light, clean alcohol note is optional. Very clean fermentation character; should not be yeasty.
Appearance: Very pale color, ranging from very pale straw to very light gold. Crystal clear but a touch of haze is acceptable. High to very high carbonation gives a massive, rocky, billowy, white head with tight, persistent bubbles.
Flavor: High to very high hop flavor, same descriptors as aroma. Low to very low neutral malt character, subtle in the balance. No strong malt flavors, no caramel. Perceived bitterness is low to very low due to the bone-dry finish and very high carbonation. Neutral to slightly fruity fermentation profile. No diacetyl. Dry to very dry finish with a fresh, hoppy aftertaste, and a clean bitterness.
Mouthfeel: Light to very light body with a spritzy carbonation (high to very high), reminiscent of a sparkling white wine. No bitter, harsh, hop-derived astringency. Alcohol warmth may be present but should never be hot.
Comments: Original concept was a sparkling wine-like IPA, although the hop character now varies more widely. Very low final gravity and high carbonation makes balance critical, often requiring a surprisingly low measured bitterness. ‘Brut’ is a wine term indicating dryness. Used incorrectly, added enzymes can cause diacetyl, which is always a flaw.
History: A modern craft beer style originating in 2017 at the (now closed) Social Kitchen & Brewery in San Francisco as a west coast reaction to the rising trend of east coast hazy and juicy IPAs as well as thick and sweet so-called milkshake IPAs. The style is still evolving and changing (and perhaps dying, as the beer was quite faddish in 2018-2019 in the US). Most versions seem to be morphing into low-calorie IPAs.
Style Comparison: Less malt flavor, bitterness, and color than an American IPA, and much drier and more highly carbonated. Dry-hopped like an American IPA. Similar aroma and flavor as a Hazy IPA but without sweetness and with much less haze. Very pale, highly carbonated, and dry like a Belgian Golden Strong Ale but not as strong and without Belgian yeast character.
Commercial Examples: Drake’s Brightside Extra Brut IPA, Fair State Brewing Co-Op The Brut Squad, Ommegang Brut IPA