In Utah, one IPA reigns supreme. Four years ago, when Squatters released its Juicy IPA, the Salt Lake City-based brewery had no idea its version of a hazy would grow to be the most popular IPA in the entire state! Now, Utah’s number one (and most delicious) IPA just got even juicier with the release of its royal sibling—Juicy Imperial IPA.

The higher-alcohol, even juicier, imperial hoppy beer doesn’t want to take the crown away from Juicy IPA; just polish that good-looking headpiece so she shines even brighter.

“It’s tricky because obviously, Juicy has been so massively successful, and we still wanted to stay true to the original core style,” says Sean Petersen, the Squatters & Wasatch brewer tasked, with his team, to develop the recipe for Juicy Imperial IPA. “But at the same time, we wanted to go higher in alcohol, so we had to up the flavor—just make everything a little bit more punchy, so it made its [own] mark.”

A challenge for sure.

But Squatters, the first brewery to open in Salt Lake City after a two-decade-long drought and only second in the state, has always bucked beer conventions.

Now, Juicy Imperial IPA will see if it can beat the top-rated Juicy IPA as one of the best IPAs in Utah.

With trumpets blaring and horns booming, all rise for her majesty the Juicy Imperial IPA.

How Do You Brew A Juicy Royal Highness?

squatters craft beers juicy imperial ipa
Photography courtesy of Squatters Craft Beers

Daunting is the word Petersen used to describe crafting the recipe for Juicy Imperial IPA.

But perhaps there was no other person better suited to lead the team creating this DIPA.

A brewer for ten years, Petersen eventually joined the now-closed Toasted Barrel Brewery. The mostly mixed-culture- and sour-focused brewery wanted to add hazies to the portfolio when the haze craze took off, even though those beers were outside of our comfort zone we really enjoyed drinking them

“My boss had a hard time with some of the aspects of [hazy brewing], so he tasked me to do it,” says Petersen. “I dove headfirst into hazies and learned as much as I possibly could as quickly as possible.”

Years later, Petersen’s commitment to the cloud has paid dividends for Squatters.

“ It took a lot of great minds on the Squatters team to engineer this new Juicy Imperial and everyone here has added a little piece to the puzzle. It really took everybody’s efforts to bring this beer together and we couldn’t be happier with the results.”

So, how did the team at Squatters take an already rock-solid recipe and amp it up?

Well, in true Squatters fashion, they took most of what they knew about hazies and gently tossed it out the window.

Juicy Imperial IPA: Going Against the Haze Grain

squatters craft beers juicy imperial ipa
Photography courtesy of Squatters Craft Beers

What sets Juicy Imperial IPA apart from the OG version is how Petersen and his team manipulated the hops—Comet, Bravo, Galaxy, and Mosaic (all of which you’ll find in the original Juicy IPA) along with new ones like Strata.

Although Petersen wouldn’t share exactly how many pounds of hops go into Juicy Imperial IPA, he did say that the hop load they add to each batch in the whirlpool is similar to what they add to the fermenter for regular Juicy IPA but significantly smaller for the dry hop. Which is very intentional.

When you think of brewing a conventional hazy IPA, Petersen says most brewers turn to an active fermentation dry hop to achieve that stable haze.

“The majority of hazies will have a dry hop two or three days into fermentation … [when] the yeast takes those hop compounds and transforms them into newer compounds,” says Petersen. “[But] that’s something we stayed away from in this beer.”

Instead, Squatters went heavier with hops on the hot side. “I wanted to get more saturated hot flavors in suspension in the beer,” he says. “I really wanted to access a lot more of those compounds that can only be fully found on the hot side.”

And rather than add those hops two or three days into fermentation, Petersen puts them into the whirlpool, including a few tricks that he couldn’t disclose to ensure they’re not adding too much astringency. “Because that’s a big part of the hazy; you want a soft bitterness and pillowy mouthfeel,” he says. “It’s really easy to go overboard, especially when adding a ton of hops to the whirlpool.”

Although Petersen did drop some hints. “It has everything to do with rest and individual addition times, temperatures, and the speed of the knockout itself,” he says.

And for dry hopping, “we just let the fermentation take its course and did a dry hop at the end of fermentation. That is the only dry hop this beer receives,” explains Petersen. “We found a balance between the hot and cold side that we are very happy with, and it seems to help achieve the hop saturation levels we are looking for without going overboard.”

So why does the brewer who became a master of murky stray from the established ways?

“We figured out a better way to do it,” says Petersen. “It’s amazing how small tweaks can make a huge difference.”

A Royal IPA Fit for Everyone

squatters craft beers juicy imperial ipa
Photography courtesy of Squatters Craft Beers

All of this brewing wizardry holds up in the high court of hops.

While Juicy Imperial IPA only went live in the market last month, the beer is already the talk of the town.

A significant accomplishment, especially since this beer has to live up to the OG Juicy’s high-ranking status.

The elevated Juicy IPA achieved its cult-like following because of its approachability; it became a beer of the people.

“I have so many friends that Juicy is their go-to beer just because they know it’s consistent, they know it’s easy drinking, and they know it’s going to be fresh,” says Petersen.

Perhaps even more magically, Juicy Imperial IPA follows in those same footsteps even as a 7.8% ABV imperial version.

“Juicy is successful because it’s very approachable to a wide range of beer drinkers,” says Kristin Martino, marketing manager at CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective. “I would say that’s also the appeal for Juicy Imperial—that an imperial IPA still accomplishes that approachability.”

Martino admits that “Juicy Imperial IPA “is one of the more approachable hazy imperials I’ve tried,” she says.

Of course, Petersen reminds us that’s the point of hazies. The craze for turbid, murky, juicy beers took off in the first place because, versus their overly bitter counterparts, they felt “super approachable to everybody,” he says.

But make no mistake. While Juicy Imperial IPA is fit for everyone, drinking this beer is meant to make you feel like the king or queen you are.

“It is a more regal version of Juicy IPA,” says Martino, noting it’s higher in alcohol, juicier, and a step above the rest. “It’s the queen bee of juicy beers!”

Tasting Royalty With Juicy Imperial IPA

squatters craft beers juicy imperial ipa
Photography courtesy of Squatters Craft Beers

Petersen says Juicy Imperial IPA pours a pale orange with a solid, stable haze.

On the nose, “we have our dank, our citrus, our melon, some of those mixed and layered in there,” says Petersen. “But predominantly, I get pretty heavy pineapple, Juicy Fruit gum, and like a sweet orange.”

When you take that first sip, “We’re looking for that big, soft, pillowy mouthfeel that we want out of all those hazies,” says Petersen. “We hit that pretty hard on the head on the first.”

Where Can I Find Juicy Imperial IPA?

You can find Juicy Imperial IPA in 6-packs with 12oz cans within Squatter’s footprint in Utah.

To enjoy what could be the new best IPA in Utah, grab yourself a sixer and taste why Juicy Imperial IPA will make you feel like a king or queen.