Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hop Harvest

Well, I just got back from the hopyard and picked about half of the cones I had that felt papery, started to brown at the tips, or where lupulin was obvious. I wasn't expecting much, and for once I fulfilled my expectations....I didn't get much. See that picture over there-->? I got about twice that, weighing a measly 2 ounces. Wet. Even after picking the rest, I'm guessing I'm only going to get an ounce dry, if that. I'm a little disappointed that I need to scale down my "Homegrown IPA" into a "Homegrown Blonde". C'est la vie. Kristen really liked the AHA's "Fill in the Hop Blonde" that I brewed, so I'll probably brew that again, grains and bittering hop the same but just add whatever homegrowns I get at 10 minutes or flameout or whatever.

Last Saturday I brewed up an all Columbus APA:

  • 7 ounces Caramel 40
  • 8 ounces Carapils
  • 6 pounds Briess Pilsen DME
  • .5 oz Columbus - 60 minutes
  • 1 oz Columbus - 10 minutes
  • 1.5 oz Columbus - flameout
  • OG: 1.056, 41 IBU, 5.4% ABV
  • US-05 yeast pitched at 65, held at 65
This batch I decided to experiment with water a little since I had been tasting a little harsh bitterness and hop flavor until my hoppier beers aged for a couple of weeks, with the exception being the Simcoe IPA I just blew through, which might be simply because that beer was bitter but also had tons of hop flavor and aroma which might have masked it. Since I already had a busted carbon filter, I decided to try to just use hard city water from my outdoor faucet (not through a hose). For no particular reason, I decided to use 4.5 gallons of hard water (including a half gallon for steeping my grains), then 1.5 gallons of softened tap water. I crushed one campden tablet, stirred to dissolve, then let sit in my brewpot for 15 minutes before I started to boil water. I did not treat the steep water unfortunately, so we’ll see if there’s anything from the chloramine or chlorine. Hopefully not.

I'm planning on getting this in the keg fast, probably 2 weeks in primary and then straight to the keg, since we blew through the Simcoe IPA in less than 2 weeks so now I've just got a Raspberry Wheat on tap. That Simcoe IPA (recipe in the previous post), was probably the best beer I've brewed so far. Clean, bitter, dry, malty, HUGE hop aroma, super fresh. If you haven't used Simcoe yet, I strongly suggest you pick some up. I think Surly Furious has Simcoe in it, so if you can find that try it. Actually, I think this beer did turn out to be similar to Furious, which is what I was hoping for. Nice malt backbone, almost amber color, higher gravity but still sessionable, and big hop aroma and flavor. Did I mention the aroma? When I got the recipe from the Jamil Show podcast (American IPA show, Mike McDole's recipe) they suggested after 2 weeks in primary, transfer to secondary, dry hop, and then rouse the hops every day to keep the aromatics in suspension. I don't know how much of an effect this had, but 2 ounces for 10 days left tons of aroma, totally sniffable from a few feet away. I'm not trying to brag, but this beer was so awesome I went to the brewshop and picked up enough Simcoe for 2 more batches and will brew it the same way both times without changing anything, a first for me.

While I'm waiting for the Columbus APA to get drinkable I'm drinking my Raspberry Wheat. If we didn't have tons of raspberries in the garden this year I don't think I would have brewed this because I don't even really like fruit or wheat beers all that much, but it sounded good at the time. I am pleasantly surprised by this beer. It's nice because it's got that graininess of the wheat and refreshing since it's lightly hopped and fairly dry, with a little tartness from the raspberries, but it still has a small amount of an interesting hop flavor from the Argentina Cascades. I'm pretty happy that this turned out to be so balanced, I was really afraid of making a too-fruity beer.


Bri said...

As far as my hop harvest went, I got 1 ounce dry (including the plastic bag). Down side, I can't smell a thing. So, don't know where I / el planto went wrong.

I liked the surly furious you loaned me after camping. I did enjoy the aroma and bitterness. Definately would drink it again. If you have such high recommendations for Simcoe, I'm definately going to throw down a batch with it.

Matt Andrews said...

So what you are saying is, you like Simcoe? Just fooling around. I have heard good things, I need to get some simcoe and try it out! I love hops so much, this year has been a big focus on hops, whether it's growing, getting the hopshot and brewing back to back IPAs!! The hefe I brewed was 1oz at 60 minutes, I found myself almost bored during the boil! haha!!

I am thinking I will brew 5 gallons of a homegrown APA with nothing buy homegrown hops, just to see what happens. It's going to take a few years to get enough hops, but it will be worth it, I hope! haha!! I know I will want to use them for aroma in the meantime!

Matt Andrews said...

I took a hop cone that I plucked a week ago and it was all dried up on the counter and it didn't smell like a thing. Then I crushed it and the smells went nuts!! So just break open the hops and hopefully you will find your smell!!