Hop Harvest IPA was brewed on 09/18/16. This beer marks the first time I’ve had access to freshly picked hops! A coworker of mine, Steve, is a fellow homebrewer who happens to also grow his own hops. I showed up to work and found a bag of about three and a half ounces each of freshly picked and dried Nugget and Cascade hops!
I brought the hops home that night, measured them out in 1 ounce bags, flushed with Co2, and then put them in the freezer until brew day a few days later. The flavor fresh hops impart is supposed to be unique and intense when compared to using pellet hops. I had about 6 and a half ounces to work with here, so that’s not a ton given that whole cone hops have more plant material that doesn’t impart anything to the beer than pellets do. I figured to get the most out of this beer I needed to both do a smaller batch to make the amount of fresh hops I had go further, and I needed to supplement them with some pellets.
I bought two ounces each of Cascade and Nugget pellets to use during the boil and first round of dry hops, saving all my fresh hops for the hopstand and keg dry hops. If you read my blog, you know I make my pale ales in the New England/Northeast style. I always do a round of dry hops in the fermenter while primary fermentation is still active. I used an ounce each of Nugget and Cascade pellets in the fermenter just for ease of removal. Getting bagged whole cone hops out of the carboy would be awful, and not bagging them would make yeast harvesting difficult. So pellets it was. An ounce and a half each of my freshies were saved for hopping in the keg.
Cascade and Nugget are not the trendiest types of hops, and I’ll be interested to see what these classic American hops do in the new school NE hoppy style. Cascades are still citrusy, and I can see Nugget fitting in here too. Nugget can lean more towards the herbal, pine and spice side of things, but I’ve had strictly Nugget hopped beers that were fruity as well. Cascade and Nugget aren’t the Citras and Mosaics of the IPA world anymore, but that’s kind of appealing here, combining old and new. I’ll also be excited to see what using fresh hops brings to the table as far as flavor and aroma intensity goes. In reality, 6 ounces of fresh cones isn’t a lot by today’s pale ale standards, so I’m hopping that by doing a smaller batch I was able to stretch them a bit further.
Brew day was a madhouse, but in a fun way. I was given two one gallon brew kits by my friend Andy, and I decided to put them to good use. While I was brewing my fresh hopped pale ale, I had two batches of one gallon all grain beers going on the stove. Needeless to say, I had my hands full. Things were pretty hectic, but everything turned out well for the most part. The Hop Harvest ale went really well, I hit all my numbers. I mashed in at 152 for 60 minutes, sparged, and got my 60 minute boil going. I used some of my Cascade and Nugget pellets in the boil, and saved a bit for a flameout addition. I had a big addition of fresh hops go in right at flameout, and I steeped the hops in a hopstand for 45 minutes to let those freshies really soak in. After the hopstand I chilled to about 70 degrees, took my hydrometer sample, and poured through my strainer into the carboy. My hydrometer sample came in at 1.058. The beer fermented at 68 degrees for 4 days. I hit it with the first round of dry hops on day 4 and ramped the temp up to 72 to help the yeast finish out.
Batch Size (fermenter): 4.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.058 SG
Estimated Color: 6.2 SRM
Estimated IBU: 36.6 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 73.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
5 lbs 8.0 oz Pale Malt, Golden Promise (Thomas Fawcet Grain 1 64.5 %
1 lbs Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM) Grain 2 11.7 %
1 lbs White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 3 11.7 %
6.0 oz Honey Malt (Gambrinus) (25.0 SRM) Grain 4 4.4 %
4.0 oz Carapils (Briess) (1.5 SRM) Grain 5 2.9 %
4.0 oz Munich 10L (Briess) (10.0 SRM) Grain 6 2.9 %
2.5 oz Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) Grain 7 1.8 %
0.25 oz Nugget [13.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 8 15.3 IBUs
0.75 oz Nugget [13.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min Hop 9 16.6 IBUs
0.50 oz Cascade [5.50 %] – Boil 10.0 min Hop 10 4.7 IBUs
2.50 oz Nugget [13.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 Hop 11 0.0 IBUs
2.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 Hop 12 0.0 IBUs
1 oz Cascade [5.50 %] – Dry Hop 1
1 oz Nugget [13.00 %] – Dry Hop 1
1.75 oz Cascade [5.50 %] – Dry Hop 2
1.5 oz Nugget [13.00 %] – Dry Hop 2
London Ale III (Wyeast Labs #1318)
Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 8 lbs 8.5 oz
Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Mash In Add 10.66 qt of water at 163.7 F 152.0 F 60 min
Keg Update 09/29/16: I kegged this beer last night on 2.25 oz of fresh Nugget and Cascade hops. I used some stainless steel washers to help keep the bag weighted down. I took my final hydrometer sample and it came in at 1.012, giving me an abv of 6%! The sample tasted nice already, with citrus and some herbal and pine notes. I’ll be anxious to see jhow this turns out!
Tasting Notes 10/12/16:
Appearance: Hop Harvest pours a cloudy orange color with gold highlights. This beer started with the usual level of juice like haze I get in my New England style beers, but as the keg has gone, it’s begun to settle out a bit. Its still hazy, but not turbid. The beer has a nice white head that dissipates fairly quickly.
Smell: I’ve never used Nugget hops, and its been a while since I’ve used Cascade, so I’m not sure how much the fresh hops differ from the usual pellets, but this beer has a unique smell. The dominant smell almost reminds me of being in a forest after a rain shower. Its a very fresh floral and herbal note I think, with citrus and a bit of peach underneath that. I’m guessing the peach comes from the 1318 esters, while the citrus should be the Cascade. I’m thinking the herbal and floral notes are from the Nugget hops.
Taste: This beer benefits from the stirring the keg up periodically, otherwise its a bit bland for a NE style pale. The bitterness would be mild in a more flavorful beer, but there’s not a ton of hop flavor, so the bitterness sticks out a bit more. There’s a spicy herbal flavor, with just a hint of grapefruit and peach beneath that. The Golden Promise and honey malt add a bit of complexity to keep the beer from seeming boring, but there’s a bit of harsher bitterness in the finish. Don’t get me wrong, this is a decent beer, but its pretty balanced and certainly not a hop bomb. Its just a bit bland.
Mouthfeel: Pretty nice body on this, but nothing special. Medium carbonation. The bitterness in the finish creates a drier feeling on the tongue that interferes with what would otherwise be a smooth finish.
Overall: I can’t say I’m necessarily let down here since I didn’t really have any expectations for this beer, but I’m certainly not impressed with it either. I think the issue comes down to the amount of hops used. The fresh whole cone hops have a lot more plant material by ounce, and while the aroma and flavor they provided was raw and pretty cool, I just didn’t have enough. I should have done an even smaller batch to really make the most of them, but oh well. I’d love to try another fresh hop beer though, and it was cool getting to use some varieties that I don’t use much if any of. In the grand scheme of things, this is a forgettable beer. I’ve brewed plenty worse, but I’ve certainly brewed better IPA’s.