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:

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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…

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

20141001_121644My Cascade hop bine just before harvest

Oh my god.  I can still smell hops…even though I brewed well over 14 hours ago, I’ve had a shower and all of the clothes I brewed in are in the wash (even my socks reeked of hops).  How could this be?

Well.  Yesterday evening I cut down my bine and harvested 360g of fresh Cascade hops.

It’d be a shame not to use them now, wouldn’t it?

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360g of fresh hop goodness.  I could have just poured milk on them and had them for breakfast

Now how to use those in a recipe?  I’d no idea what the Alpha Acid content of those fresh hops were, so I just blind guessed at 7%.

Cascade in a packet (2013 harvest) are 9.1% – and Beer Engine reminded me the last lot I used were somewhere around 6%, so 7% seemed a good enough punt for me.

According to Jason King on a recently viewed episode of Chop and Brew (http://chopandbrew.com/episodes/chop-brew-episode-14-brewing-with-freshwet-hops/) the human tongue can’t really discern a change in International Bittering Units of +/-10, so as I was also going to really only use them for very late boil additions and not bittering I guessed I’d probably be OK.

I picked up all of my ingredients from Archie at Hops and Vines in Witney (http://www.hopsandvineshomebrew.co.uk/).  Archie has only just bought the business from Mike – who has decided to retire.

If you’re up Witney way you can’t go far wrong than drop in and stock up on some bits and bobs.  Archie also stocks hops and malt from Rob at The Malt Miller, so you know it’s all quality gear.  I’ll do a more thorough write-up in future.

The recipe, just below, was fairly easy to put together and was really just a user-upper of things I had left over (bar the Maris Otter and Cascade dry hops from Archie).

I included the Palm Sugar as I wanted to try and up the ABV on the smaller malt bill and was also looking to dry out the body – which, combined with the US-05 yeast should do the job admirably.

 

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I fiddled about with the hop quantities to make the recipe work.  Bear with me here…  In theory you need 5x the weight of fresh hops for the equivalent dry, so I took my 360g and divided it by 5 – giving me the figure of 72 (rounded up to 70, dead) So in dry hop terms I had 70g to play with (no, I got lost too…), so I split that between the ten and five minute additions 30g/40g(ish) – again, in dry hop terms.  In wet that turned out to be 150g/210g.  My maths is probably all shot to shit there, but it worked out after a fashion, so I’m happy.

I did also have to steep the palm sugar blocks (which look like something out of Amsterdam) in warmish water until they dissolved before adding the resulting gorgeous liquor straight to the boil…

 

20141001_132152It’s just sugar, officer, honestly…

 

So once the Braumeister had finished it’s new mash schedule of:

38C  Dough-in
67C  Maltose Rest
78C Mash-out

We got the usual magnificent-looking wort:

20141001_152728Look at it, just look at it. That’s a seriously clear wort…

 I then sparged the now-lifted malt-pipe with 3.5Litres of water, giving me a pre-boil volume of 27L, the sugar solution was then added and the Braumeister set to “boil”.

Once the boil was on, I added the dry Cascade hops for the bittering charge – 40 or so IBU means that it should be smooth enough but with a touch bitter on the back-end.  The last ten minutes meant the adding of Irish Moss and the immersion chiller – plus a dose of flavour hops, again Cascade.

Then we got five minutes from the end.  Boom – 150g of fresh hop goodness with a backup of 5g of dried:

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Anyone for Brussels Sprouts?

These soon soaked up the wort and got to work spreading the Humulone joys:

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Five minutes later it was time for flame-out.  The boil was stopped, the next 20og(ish) of fresh hops went in and the the chiller went on until we hit 80C.  Chilling was then stopped and I left the whole thing covered for a nice half-hour hop-stand.  That should really extract the aromas.

 

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After the hop stand I ran the lot out into the fermenter.  See how the hops have soaked up the wort, realeased their goodness and sunk to the bottom of the boiler.  They look a bit like ghosts now:

 

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I ended up with nearly 22L of 1051 wort that should ferment out to 1009 with a bit of luck, giving me something like 5.5% ABV.  I’ll let you know how it goes…  I’ve still got 20g of Dry cascade for dry-hopping…as if it’ll need it!