Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Brewing with Homegrown Wet Hops

I'm hating myself for forgetting to take a picture of this one! I had about 8.7 ounces of whole wet cascade hops grown out of my hop plants in my mom's backyard. Supposedly wet hops are 4/5 excess water and thus equivalent to one fifth as much dry hops - which left me with the equivalent of 1.75-2 ounces of hops. That's really just enough for a single hop addition in a hoppy beer, so I decided to use them all for aroma, and to do a 5 gal batch so as to get the greatest impact from these hops. Boy oh boy was it fun to brew with them, though. The color was different from regular hops - much more vibrant. And the aroma, while mild, was great.

I decided to go with a hoppy amber ale, so that the beer would be hop-forward, but wouldn't totally rely on the hops for flavor, since I wanted to keep the non-wet additions as neutral as possible, while still producing a hoppy beer. I overshot my efficiency a bit, as I was trying to reduce my efficiency (since I heard lower efficiencies lead to a soother malt profile and want to test this). But it is still within the style guidelines, and since I overhopped it intentionally, I think the increased gravity will likely lead to more balance.

I used Pilsner malt just because I had that available and didn't feel like tearing into an unopened sack of regular 2-row. And I used magnum and glacier hops because they are both smooth bitterers and they have a fairly neutral aroma/flavor. I think the glacier addition will "back up" the cascades, rather than compete - much like Willamette and Goldings tend to do. I also added a small addition of pelletized cascades at 30 min just to pump up the bitterness a bit and give the beer a slight "cascadey" quality in its bittering profile, so as to maximize the percepted impact of the fresh hops.

I used a pint of dense, hoppy, 10-day-old WLP001 yeast slurry I got from Triple Rock, and that's fermenting at a cool 60F right now. Since I am not dry hopping this beer, as soon as it is finished in 2-3 weeks, I will crash cool it, fine it, and keg it. Hopefully that way I will get as much fresh hoppy aroma from it as I can.

Here's the recipe:

Recipe: Wet Hop American Summer
Style: 10B-American Ale-American Amber Ale

Wort Volume Before Boil: 8.50 US gals
Wort Volume After Boil: 6.00 US gals
Volume Transferred: 5.25 US gals
Volume At Pitching: 5.25 US gals
Expected Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.041 SG
Expected OG: 1.059 SG
Expected FG: 1.013 SG
Expected ABV: 6.1 %
Expected ABW: 4.8 %
Expected IBU (using Tinseth): 43.9
Expected Color: 13.0 SRM
Apparent Attenuation: 77.7 %
Mash Efficiency: 80.0 %
Boil Duration: 90.0 mins
Fermentation Temperature: 60 degF

Canadian Pils Malt 8lb 0oz (66.3 %) In Mash/Steeped
Canadian Munich Malt 10L 3lb 0oz (24.9 %) In Mash/Steeped
UK Medium Crystal (120EBC/65L) 1lb 0oz (8.3 %) In Mash/Steeped
German Carafa Special III 1.00 oz (0.5 %) In Mash/Steeped

US Magnum (17.0 % alpha) 14 g Loose Whole Hops used 90 Min From End
US Cascade (5.3 % alpha) 20 g Bagged Pellet Hops used 30 Min From End
US Glacier (5.6 % alpha) 30 g Loose Whole Hops used 10 Min From End
US Cascade (5.0 % alpha) 55 g Loose Whole Hops used At turn off

Other Ingredients

Yeast: White Labs WLP001-California Ale

Mash at 150 degF for 60 mins

Recipe Notes
Flameout Cascades in this recipe were an early August harvest from my own hop vines. Alpha acid % is merely a guess. Name courtesy of Corn Dog

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