Monday, September 17, 2012

Wild Wet Hop Brewday

Two years ago, I made a Wild Wet Hop beer using hops I found growing on the local bike path. I missed out on the wild hops last year, so I was excited to see that this year was a bumper crop for those delightful green devils—Elli and I picked a little over three pounds on Sunday, and we didn’t even put a dent in what was out there. I held out on using all of them in this beer, which was a good idea, since the two pounds of fresh hops I did use took up more space in the boil kettle than I expected. I plan to head out again Thursday to pick another couple of pounds to use in another Wild Wet Hop beer—this one with coffee, ala the Press Black IPA experiments from earlier in the year. So many hops! And so little time!

127. Wild Wet Hop 2012
8 lbs. Weyerman Pilsner
2 lbs. MFB Vienna

Mash @ 153° F for 65 minutes w/ 4 gallons of RO water & 2 g. gypsum; collected 2 ¾ gallons @ 1.070
Batch sparge @ 166° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water & 2 g. gypsum; collected 4 gallons @ 1.024

Collected 6 ¾ gallons; brought to a boil (60 minutes), & added:
w/60 to go: 8 oz. wild wet hops

w/15 to go: 6 oz. wild wet hops
1 tsp. Irish Moss
8 oz. table sugar

w/10 to go: 6 oz. wild wet hops

w/5 to go: 6 oz. wild wet hops

w/0 to go: 6 oz. wild wet hops

Chilled, racked to carboy, & pitched Wyeast 1332 Northwest Ale

Brewed: 9/17/2012

Secondary: 9/28/2012 @ 1.012; dry hop w/ 2 oz. wild hops (frozen)
Bottled: 10/4/2012 w/ 3.0 oz. table sugar

OG: 1.050
FG: 1.010

Tasting Notes (11/10/2012): Wild Wet Hop pours a slightly hazy soft gold with a prolific and dense white head. It is clear enough to see the streaming bubbles inside the glass, which offers a nice visual effect when held up to the light. The nose is mainly bread crust mixed with grass, hay, and a slight spiciness that is part pear and apple; it does start to veer into a vegetal and chlorophyll aroma, which is probably in part from the two pounds of wild wet hops that went into this: that might have been a bit of overkill. Flavors start with bread crust and a touch of apple; there is a touch of the grass and chlorophyll, but further back. The middle is lightly spicy with more of a green apple bite, which lingers into the finish. There is toast and a fair amount of spritzy spiciness in the finish, although the beer finishes bright and clean with a touch of lingering hay and grass. The light body and spritzy carbonation works well with the beer—this worked well in trying to create a beer that allows the light delicate flavors of the wild hops to shine through. I’m going to call the beer a moderate success, although I am guessing most people are going to complain about the vegetal flavor and ignore the delicate pear, apple, and spicy flavors playing across the profile of this beer. Two main things to improve this next time around: cut the overall volume of hops, specifically the 60 minute addition, and collect them later—in going for still green and colorful hops, I may have erred on the side of young—the flavor from the last version is in this beer, but it has a more vegetal and green taste to it. Oh, and dry hopping with frozen hops: bad idea. Dry them out first. I’m not sure how much the vegetal flavor is a product of the dry hopping with frozen hops, but it did taste much better going into the secondary (i.e. prior to dry hopping) than it did going into the bottle. Lesson learned.

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