Home-Grown Cascade Hoppy Pale Ale

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Well.  Let’s hope it’s hoppy, anyway…

The taste I took when transferring to the fermenter was quite assertively bitter, in fact probably a bit more bitter than I really intended…

Here’s the recipe for starters:

home-grown-cascade-pale-ale

You’ll notice that I used two 50g bags of home grown cascade…and right about the twenty-minutes-left-to-go point was where things began to unravel a bit…

In hindsight, I probably should have done another centennial addition here instead of using the home-grown cascades (I bought the centennial from Rob at the Malt Miller, and I know that they were 11.2% AA, whereas I had no idea at all what the cascades were…)

Twenty minutes of boiling is plenty of time to extract additional unexpected bitterness, especially when you’re using hops with a completely unknown alpha acid content…and maybe 25g was quite a lot when you’re not sure what they will contribute.

I’ve felt for a while now that some of my beers were good in the aroma department but tended to lack a little in the taste…so that twenty-minute addition was meant to address that.

Mind you, the hops smelt good and resinous from the freezer, so who knows: a ferment, a couple of weeks conditioning and a potential 6.5% ABV may get it to come right…assuming the yeast can wrestle it down to 1010 or so…

All in all it was one of my best brew days; no mess and a quick clean-up meant that I had a solid 1060 OG wort into the carboy, all oxygenated and yeast pitched; everything cleaned and dried, and me drinking a cup of tea by 10.30pm.

I used S04, because I heard somewhere (probably via Mike Tonsmiere on his Mad Fermentationist blog) that some English-style yeasts help to accentuate hop character.

If all else fails and it’s not quite where I want after a week or so, I can dry hop with more centennials or add some grapefruit zest, or maybe even add both…mmm, a grapefruit IPA…

Cascade Hoppy Pale Ale with Pure Hop Aroma Extract – Tasting Notes

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Well, this is another one of those “long-time in waiting” reviews…

God; after the last post about my ho-hum, rather pedestrian, wheat beer; I must sound like a right miserable so-and-so, especially as this particular beer isn’t quite as I wanted it to be, either.

But that’s not to say it’s bad…in fact it’s rather good.  As Pale Ales go, this Pale Ale goes very well indeed.

Trouble is, it’s not the hop-bomb that I wanted it to be and I’m rather afraid that it’s down to two things:

Number one: not using enough pure aroma hop oil (2ml per 10L) I reckon I should have just put the whole bottle in.  Next time I dry hop AND add loads of aroma oil in as well.

Number two: spending a week in the US and drinking loopy-juice like The Maharaja Double IPA  (see earlier entry in this blog) make me feel that can’t ever make anything that hoppy at home…but it’s not going to stop me trying, oh good God, no: I’ve planted a First Gold and two Styrian Golding hop bines this year – as well as hoping for a big crop from my existing Cascade bine, so keep an eye out for something hop-tastically over-the-top this autumn, if not before…

Other than the lack of hop-looniness; this pale ale is nicely bitter, very nicely balanced, is a gorgeous deep mahogany colour, has a superb rich maltiness and – lets be honest about it – anyone else in the world who had brewed it would be over-the-moon –  it really is a very fine Pale Ale indeed.

It’s just not as hoppy as I was hoping for…  Bah.

Cascade Hoppy Pale Ale with Pure Hop Aroma Extract

I’ve missed having a really powerfully hoppy beer in my kegs recently, so I decided to brew one right up.

As beers go this was a straight-down-the-line, no-pissing-about, sort of affair.  The only slight difference was that I included a bit of aromatic malt to the grist bill, hopefully with a view to giving the whole thing a bit of a solid, but not cloying, malt body.

The mash regime was a very simple dough-in at 38C, a saccharification rest at 67C (80 minutes) and mash-out at 76C (10 minutes) and a 60 minute boil.

For bittering I used up some Chinook and Herkules that I had in the freezer, the rest of the hops (all late hops, I might add) were 100g of Cascade pellets.  No dry-hopping for this beauty – I’m experimenting with some Cascade pure hop aroma oil that I got from Rob at The Malt Miller (http://www.themaltmiller.co.uk/index.php?_a=viewProd&productId=244)

Trouble is, I’ve got no idea how much to add?  The instructions on the bottle say 1ml per 10l of beer – but that seems a bit miserly; have you tried it?  What your suggestion?  Maybe I’ll ask Rob, too…

Here’s the recipe, anyway.  Oh yes, I’m using US-05 to ferment this – as I want the yeast character right out of the way – this one’s all about the hops:

Cascade hoppy ale

I’ll let you know how it goes…we’re only a couple days into the fairly business-like US-05 fermentation.

PS: I hit the 1056 gravity smack on the head, but with 25L of wort, so I was quite a bit over.  I’m hoping the yeast will slay this wort to 1009 and that’ll get to almost 6%.  Sweet.

Home-Brewed Fresh Hop Cascade Pale Ale (Braumeister Version) – tasting notes

20141103_190832Great beer deserves great photography, unfortunately this isn’t great photography…

After brewing up this (https://yeastismybitch.com/2014/10/02/home-brewed-fresh-hop-cascade-pale-ale-braumeister-version/) and using the entire hop harvest from my garden, plus another 100g of dried leaf hops, it’s finally ready to drink.

From the keg this beer pours a really lovely autumnal sunny yellow, and is quite clear, too – even with the keg hops.

The head is pure white, sticky, lacy and lasting – pretty much perfect.

The aroma is solid hoppiness: piney, vegetal (it’s fresh hops, remember – they always make things taste a bit “green”) with a good dose of floral too.  There’s hints of the resinous tumult to come, but it’s not the massive hoppiness in the aroma that I was hoping for; saying that of course – it’s way more hoppy than a lot of the beers I’ve eve made, so I really should be ecstatic.

The mouth-feel is nigh-on perfect and makes for a great stage on which the other flavours play out: hops, funnily enough, are to the fore – piney resinous and a great big bunch of fresh cut meadow flowers. This beer is unmistakeably fresh-hopped and is all the more glorious for it.

Towards the end of taste curve comes the bitterness that lays low the hops and allows the malt body to come through.  A refined and refreshing dryness comes in at the very end and prompts the inevitable elbow-bend, sup and head-long charge through hop land again.

Bloody hell.  This is without doubt one of the best beers that I’ve ever made.  All ingredients perfectly in proportion, there’s nothing that I wouldn’t change – especially the palm sugar addition – this allowed the extra gravity without leading to a massive malt-bill cloying sweetness.  Additionally, the keg hopping allowed the extreme hoppiness to continue for longer than ordinary dry-hopping would.

I can’t see how I wouldn’t be making this again next year when the hops are ready.  Speaking of which there’s going to be a lot more hops grown in my neck of the woods next year, oh yes.  Friends have already offered me use of their gardens and farms, etc.

UPDATE: A week or so after writing this and the extreme hoppiness is starting to fade a little – it’s still a beautiful beer, but not as forcefully fresh and vibrant as it was.  Moral of the story: drink hoppy beers quickly!  Speaking of which, if you know me well, why not drop around and help me get through it while it’s still good?!