Monday, October 11, 2010

Wild Wet Hop Brewday

The fruits of yesterday’s labor headed for their rendezvous with my brewpot. Nothing says delicious like a little over a pound of fresh hops laying around waiting to be used. My favorite secondary effect are the thousands of aphids that ended up on the kitchen counter, and/or in the brewpot. The AA of this beer stands for aphid apocalypse. Word.

77. Wild Wet Hop Beer
1 lb. Breiss 2-row
1 lb. Dingeman’s Pale malt
8 oz. Dingeman’s Biscuit malt
8 oz. Breiss Caramel 20 L

Mashed @ 150° F for 60 minutes (hit 158° F) with 6 quarts water; raised to 170° F

Batch sparged with 1 gallon of 170° F water

Added to brew kettle, brought to a boil (60 minute) and added:
3 lbs. 6 oz. Pilsen Light DME
1 ½ lbs. Bavarian Wheat DME
8 oz. Turbinado Sugar
1 tsp. gypsum
7.6 oz. wild wet hops

w/10 min. to go: 3.3 oz. wild wet hops

w/5 min. to go: 4 oz. wild wet hops

@ removal from heat: 4 oz. wild wet hops

Chilled wort, racked to bucket, and pitched mason jar of Wyeast 1332 Northwest Ale saved from batch 72

Brewed: 10/11/2010
Secondary: 10/29/2010 @ 1.012
Bottled: 11/4/2010

OG: 1.054 (or something like that; I forgot to write it down)
FG: 1.012

Tasting Notes: This marks the second year we’ve made this beer; the wild bike path hops don’t carry a lot of bitterness, but they create subtle and gentle fruit flavors. The goal this year was to construct a light, pale malt body that would showcase the strength of these hops while also constructing an approachable and drinkable beer. Pouring a light caramel copper that is slightly hazy, Wild Wet Hop has a mousse-y thick white head that laces the glass well. The nose is soft and perfume-y fruit: apple and pear with a fair amount of juiciness in the front followed by a slight spicy tartness. There is no malt in the nose, but that was part of the intention with a restrained malt bill—I wanted a chance to showcase the full range of the hops. The beer starts with light caramel and breadiness that quickly gives way to fruit and floral hop flavors; the middle dries out and features spicy hop flavors with a clean and clear pear flavor, and the finish is spicy and tart coupled with a gentle lingering bitterness. There is a touch of sharpness in the finish that is lightly grassy and vegetal, most likely from the 1 ½ lbs. of fresh hops. The carbonation is bright, lively, and creamy—it both lightens and brightens the beer, rounding it on the palate. As fresh hop beers go, this one is closer to a APA than an IPA; it is bright and very drinkable. Not everyone has enjoyed the apple and pear tartness; in last year’s beer I initially thought the flavor was from was acetaldehyde (green apple bite) until I realized the other tart and fruity components that were apparent in the beer. This year, I used both a different yeast and a much lighter malt profile, and the apple tartness is brighter and the pear flavors are more forward on the palate. For next year’s version, I’ll probably drop the malt level and push this towards a session-level fresh hop beer to further play with the delicate hop flavors. I’m also planning on scoring more of the wild wet hops—I love the light bright flavor of the hops, so I want enough to enjoy for more than a couple of weeks. Word.

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