Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Brewday: Fresh Hop Beer!

So the weatherman was predicting the end of Summer here, and we had one last glorious weekend ahead. My Centennials were doing pretty well, as you can see above. My Cascades and Willamettes grew to about 7 feet tall and then just stopped. No weird diseases or pests. Just stopped. But they were planted near the end of June so I can't really blame them. My Chinooks have flowered but the cones weren't ripe yet. I decided to go ahead and make the Fresh Hop beer with just the Centennials. If it began to get cold and rainy while I waited for the Chinooks to come around I might lose the whole lot to mildews and diseases. The first year is about building root structure anyway. Can't wait for next year!

So I climbed the ladder, unhooked the C-clamp that the rope was tied to on the roof, and we harvested what we could. I'd had aphid problems on the Centennials and Cascades. Sprayed with insecticidal soap three times throughout the season. But I think what really helped was a wasp colony that found the vines and started eating the aphids. Still, freaked me out when I had to climb up there...

We managed to harvest a mighty... two ounces. Yep. Woo hoo. With the 1/4 ounce I'd already harvested and dried, that was it. I'd planned on using six ounces of fresh hops in this recipe, so I faced the choice of: use what you have and see what happens, or cut with Cascade and make something drinkable but inauthentic. Decided, screw it. Use only the 2 oz and see what happens. The bitterness of fresh hops can be difficult to dial in, so I did use an ounce of Newport to get the IBUs spot on. Anyway, the reason you use fresh hops is their superior aroma and flavor anyway, not bitterness.

Fresh Hop Pale Ale
All Grain. 5.25 gallons
Est. O.G. 1.054
Act. O.G. 1.061 (over boiled, oops. Diluted later with a gallon distilled water.)
Est F.G. 1.012
Est ABV 5.2%
IBU = somewhere between 40 and 45

9.5 lbs Pale Ale Malt
8 oz Crystal 80
4 oz Cara-Pils

Mash at 151 for 75 minutes. Knockout at 168. Collect 7.5 gallons.
90 minute boil
1 oz Newport (11.1% AA) at 60 minutes.
1 oz Fresh Centennial at 15. I would have preferred 3 oz.
1 oz Fresh Centennial at 0. I would have preferred 3 oz.
1/4 oz Centennial (dry hop)
Whirlfloc at 15.

Used Wyeast London III. You could use American Ale and it would be fine. I just needed a starter for my upcoming Pumpkin Ale.

Oh yeah, water modifications. Into the mash: 1 T pH 5.2 stabilizer, 2 t gypsum, 1/4 t kosher salt, 1 t Epsom salts.

UPDATE 11/19/09

The beer has turned out well. It's pleasantly hoppy actually, despite only 2 oz of fresh hops. It seems to have picked up a floral, perfumey hopiness more than anything, which is really, really weird considering it was Centennial hops. There's a bit of grassiness too, which I attribute to dry hopping with the 1/4 oz dry whole Centennial. Won't be doing that next year. Needs a bit more body. I'll mash at 154 next year.


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