Beer Reviews

Cloud Harvest

ABV: 6.5%

Malts: Pilsner, Wheat, Carafoam, Oats, Acidulated

Hops: Galaxy, Citra, Sabro, Cascade

Cloud Harvest used to have numbers. This one doesn’t. It also has a different style. What is up with that?  

All along, the Cloud Harvest series has been about hop innovation and experimentation. We’ve been exploring hopping techniques, biotransformation, new yeast strains, and all sorts of hop varieties and combinations. 

After eight numbered iterations, we got to a place where we’re really happy with Cloud Harvest and want to bring this one year-round. This full-time beer is simply Cloud Harvest. While at its core this Cloud Harvest is in the same lineage as the other Cloud Harvest releases, we’re calling this a Double Dry Hopped (DDH) Hazy IPA. 

Really, we just decided to be a little more specific in the style description and highlight the Primary Hopping and Dry Hopping as well as the elegant, stable haze in this beer. As we were exploring our Cloud Harvest series beers, we used the “Unfiltered Juicy IPA” descriptor since not all the beers were particularly hazy. Our initial focus was on highlighting those juicy, fruity, and soft mouthfeel characteristics. For this release, our production tea took all we’ve learned over the last couple of years of experiments, research, and process refinement to give Cloud Harvest the appearance to match the name and make it truly a Hazy IPA. 

So, what is DDH? 

DDH stands for Double Dry Hopped. That can mean a few things (depending on who you ask), but for us at Rhinegeist, it means that we dry hop this beer two times. At its most simple, dry hopping is adding hops in the cellar or on the cold side of production. Dry hopping is designed to bring additional hop flavor and aroma without adding to the bitterness of a beer. 

Our first dry hop, we call it Primary Hopping, takes place early during active, primary fermentation and brings out novel fruity, juicy flavors by the process of yeast biotransformation and the formation of aroma compounds throughout this interaction of yeast and hops. The second (more traditional) dry hop happens toward the end of conditioning to truly crank up those hop aromas. The result is an intensely aromatic IPA with loads of fruit forward flavors and a delicate bitterness.  

Can you talk a bit about the hops featured in Cloud Harvest? 

Cloud Harvest showcases four hop varieties: Galaxy, Citra, Cascade and Sabro. 

Galaxy is an intense Australian hop that has been around for about 10 year, but remains extremely desirable and enticing for brewers and drinkers alike. Galaxy brings musky, tropical fruit flavors like passionfruit and guava with some dank, orange and lime citrus. Citra is an absolute favorite of ours at Rhinegeist and the aromas and flavors it brings should be no surprise. It’s ALL citrus; grapefruit, orange, and lime jump out. Cascade is an American classic. Another citrus forward variety, Cascade brings oranges, grapefruit and some lovely floral notes for complexity. Finally, Sabro, the new kid on the block imparts bright tangerine citrus and explodes with tropical flavors, particularly pineapple and coconut. 

These hops, together with the yeast biotransformation and expression pack bunches of fruit flavors and aromas into Cloud Harvest with no actual fruit added. 

Which of the previous Cloud Harvest releases is the closest to this one? 

This Cloud Harvest is a totally new creation. Now, sure it came together from the best parts of the previous eight Cloud Harvest releases, but there’s not really one clear progenitor. In fact, at least one of these hops was featured in ALL EIGHT of the previous Cloud Harvests. The yeast strain is the same as in CH08, but there’s influence from CH01, CH04 and CH07 as well. Overall, if you liked the Cloud Harvest series, I’m pretty sure you’re going to love this beer. 

Appearance: Golden with a deep, soft haze and fluffy white foam.

Aroma: Opens with pineapple and passionfruit. A hint of guava and apricot with just a touch of jasmine on the end. Bright tangerine and grapefruit provide citrus.

Taste: Tropical and tangerine citrus flavors dominate with a soft bitterness and surprisingly dry.

Mouthfeel: Super juicy and medium-bodied with a pleasant fruity finish with nothing lingering on the palate.

Overall: Cloud Harvest is beautiful and fun. The beer is a standout hazy IPA and the hop combo brings a lovely mash of tropical and citrus fruit. Super enjoyable. 

Ideal glassware for Cloud Harvest? Personally, I love beers like this from a big snifter where I can really get my face in there. The bright tropical and citrus aromas leap out of the glass. But with summer here, Cloud Harvest is equally enjoyable from whatever is on hand – even straight from the can.