Friday, August 2, 2013

Wet-hopped IPA & Hop Harvest 2013, Part I

Note: Because this post will cover a brew day and hop harvesting, I've decided to split it into two parts.

Last year I brewed the harvest ale from hell - this year, I wanted to learn from those mistakes and do it the right way. Ordinarily, you'd be seeing this post next month, but my second year hop plants have been going nuts this summer. So crazy, in fact, that I had hops ready to harvest in mid-July - compared to early August last year.

So two weeks ago, I sought out to make a beer with all the hop cones that were ripening on the bines.
 My intent last year with the harvest ale was a wet-hopped pale ale, with tons of fresh hops in the boil and post-fermentation. Timing didn't quite work out, however, as the grain I wanted to use - grown and malted right here in town - wasn't ready at the same time as my hops. In the end, I had to dry them, freeze them, and use them much later in the year. This year, I was able to brew another local beer, but with the abundance of hops, I stepped it up and made an IPA.
I started my brewday early in the morning, and used the downtime while mashing/lautering/etc. to harvest as many hops as I could.

Because picking the hops is so tedious and time consuming, I was only able to do the Centennial plant and the top 1/3rd of the Cascade before running out of daylight. About halfway through I started simply cutting off the side vines and picking the cones off once I got down off the ladder. I still ended up with two bags full of cones, which I immediately put into the drying screen I made last year.

I ended up using nearly a pound of hops in the boil, with another pound in the carboy after the beer had finished fermenting. Thankfully, I learned my lesson from last year's harvest ale and used some bags for the whole hops this time.

I actually forgot to grab my hydrometer, so I was only able to guesstimate ABV. Here's the recipe:

Batch size: 5.00 gal

1.00lbs US 2-Row
8.00oz Crystal 20L
8.00oz Munich
8.00oz Sucrose (table sugar)

1.00oz US Chinook 12.5%AA - 60min.
0.50oz US Chinook 12.5%AA - 45min.
4.00oz US Cascade (Wet) ??%AA - 10min.
4.00oz US Centennial (Wet) ??%AA - 0min.
4.00oz US Cascade (Wet) ??%AA - 0min.
1.00lbs US Cascade (Wet) ??%AA - in fermenter (wet-hopped)

1 pkg. Safale US-05 Ale Yeast

Here are some more photos from the brew day:

Mashing in.


Separating the cones from the leaves.

8 ounces of freshly picked Cascade hops.

Ready to go.

Excuse the mess - home renovation in progress.

You can see that only the top 1/3rd of the plant has been harvested. Plenty more left to pick...

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