Saturday, August 10, 2013

Fresh Hop w/ Cascade Brewday

The Fresh Hop King of Ohio is back to defend his Ohio Fresh Hop 2012 Championship Belt. While detractors abound, nothing says deliciousness like fresh hop beers. Well, fresh hop beers done right, which means avoiding the caramel bomb, bro. This beer features a little over a pound of fresh Cascades from Mankato Farms in New Carlisle; I picked them up at Brewtensils on Saturday morning from Darren, and soon after started adding them to the boil. And as a little twist to this fresh hop delight, I’m trying out a saison yeast this year—ECY08 to be precise. Oh, and a special note to Gus: you better have used those fresh hops and not sat on them. Don’t anger the Fresh Hop King. And don’t worry—for those of you wondering about my usual fresh hops exploits, I’ll be headed out for my annual harvesting of the janky wild hops on the bike path soon!

154. Fresh Hop w/ Cascade
5 lbs. Rahr Pale
3 lbs. MFB Pale
1 lb. MFB Vienna
1 lb. Breiss White Wheat

Mash @ 151° F for 60 minutes w/ 3 gallons RO water & 2 g. gypsum; collected 1 ¾ gallons @ 1.084
Batch sparge @ 172° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water; collected 4 gallons @ 1.030

Collected 5 ¾ gallons; topped off with 1 ¼ gallons RO water to bring to 7 gallons, brought to a boil (60 minutes), & added:
w/60 to go: 1 oz. Cluster leaf 7.6% AA

w/20 to go: 4 ½ oz. fresh Cascade

w/10 to go: 5 oz. fresh Cascade

w/5 to go: 5 oz. fresh Cascade

w/0 to go: 5 oz. fresh Cascade

Let stand for 20 minutes, chilled, & pitched ECY08 Saison Brasserie from 152. Saison w/ Spelt

Primary: 8/10/2013 @ 66° F
Secondary: 8/28/2013 @ 1.004
Bottled: 9/7/2013 w/ 3.0 oz. table sugar

OG: 1.048
FG: 1.002

Tasting Notes: Fresh Hop w/ Cascade pours a clear and brilliant straw with a nice creamy white head that delicately laces the glass. The nose is loamy earth, spicy pear, and banana cream pie with bright floral and fruity esters; I did use a saison yeast—a “novelty yeast” as Elli dubbed it—for this beer, so I’m not really surprised that it doesn’t quite read like a fresh hop beer in the nose. In fact, with the expressive yeast, the fresh hops are pretty much drowned out in the nose. My bad. Flavors are similar, opening with bread crust, clove spice, and banana, followed by a gentle fruity bitterness with orange and lemon in the middle, and cracker malt mixed with more clove and lemon pith in the finish. There is clean mineral carbonic bite via the bright carbonation that is slightly peppery even though the beer has a soft, doughy mouthfeel. The beer as a whole is bright and clean, with a fair amount of subtly and balance. Still, as a fresh hop beer, it does fail. Technically, as a saison it is a bit dubious as well, since the bitterness levels are too low: it is dry and well-attenuated, but balanced toward the malt side, even if it is a bone-dry malt side. In the Great Saison Chain of Being, flavors heads towards Hennepin with the soft banana flavors; although this beer is drier in the body. But a good beer nonetheless—it is interesting and enjoyable for all of its faults as a fresh hop beer. For next year, when I try and combine the two styles again—as I undoubtedly will—I’ll choose a more neutral saison yeast that will give the fresh hop subtlety a chance to shine through.


  1. Did I become a detractor without even knowing it?

  2. Oh, I'm pretty sure you know you're a detractor. That's just how you roll.