Posts Tagged ‘fresh hop’

homebrewed vojvodina pale ale tasting

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

vojvodina pale pour

at long last, I finally tapped my fresh-hop single-hop vojvodina pale ale (phew!) and AP poured me up a glass.

  • the crystal and cara-pils specialty malts gave the beer some nice color (its actually pretty dark for a pale ale).
  • I was very satisfied with the head on the beer as well – each pour results in a nice 2-finger head which dissipates over a few minutes.
  • the beer has a slightly bready/malty yeast aroma, with no hop aroma to speak of (probably because the beer was a fresh-hop beer, even though the hop’s lineage indicates aroma and dual purpose characteristics).
  • the flavor is pretty mild, with little perceived bitterness.  it’s not malt or hop-forward, but is a good session beer with a clean finish that probably clocks in at over 6% abv.
  • my goals for next year’s fresh-hop harvest ale? lighten up the malt bill, and double the hops (and perhaps pulverize them) and maybe use a yeast with a more transparent finish to see if I can end up with more of a hoppy profile (maybe a fresh hop IPA?).  hopefully I’ll also have enough zeus next year to have a little fresh hop taste-off…

vojvodina pale in the glass

abstract pour

wet hop harvest beer night at toronado

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

the perfect combination - toronado and rosamunde

yesterday I remembered that it was wet hop night at toronado, so AP and I met up with CB, TB, and DW over there to enjoy some great brews.

  • toronado really needs no introduction – it is an SF classic, a long-standing beer bar that has supported the craft beer scene for decades.
  • the place was definitely crowded, but not at capacity (unlike their signature event, the annual barleywine festival).  the lone bartender was grinding through over half a dozen patrons at the bar, but it didn’t take long before I had a pint in my hands.
  • we also managed to score a table not too soon thereafter, and when I saw AP enter the room with an armful of heaping plastic trays from rosamunde, I knew the planets were in alignment.
  • between our group, we managed to try a significant number of the available wet hop varieties.  CB and DW had started with moonlight’s greenbud, and from there we moved on to port’s high tide harvest, speakeasy’s wet hop big daddy IPA, dempsey’s 707 harvest, and sierra nevada’s wet hop harvest.
  • all of them were great – port’s offering was the crowd favorite, but I personally preferred the big daddy, it had a little more malt backbone, but the wet hop aroma and mild bitterness held up to it.
  • the kicker? taking a cue from magnolia’s wet hop event, toronado had all wet hop pints at $3.  I felt like I had just popped out of a time machine.
  • I love toronado, especially during events like this, but for a casual visit I recommend going during the early afternoon on a weekend to avoid the crowds.  I also recommend giving memphis minnie’s a shot if you’re not feeling sausages for take out.

the wet hop tap list at toronado

enjoying some brews and sausages

crowded toronado front

a table at toronado - priceless

view from the back room

potted zeus hop “harvest”

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

zeus on the vine

a couple days ago my potted zeus hop plant seemed to be ready for harvest.

  • the cones on the plant looked like they were ready to go.  like the vojvodina cones, they were light to the touch and contained some lupulin:

zeus cone profile

  • the hop vine was nowhere as prolific as the vojvodina, but it still reached my second story window.  after cutting down the vine, I brought it inside to do some picking.

cutting the zeus

zeus doubled up

zeus vine inside

  • when all was said and done, I had a little over 4 ounces of wet hops (vs. over 12oz for the vojvodina!).  not amazing, but not bad for a little late hop addition.

4oz of zeus

  • instead of using these wet/fresh, I laid them out on a screen where they have been drying for the last couple of days with a small fan on them.  since they have been drying in a somewhat cool environment inside, I am going to let them go for another couple days before bagging and freezing them.

zeus drying on screen

  • I planted the zeus for their very high alpha acid (AA) content, and I can already tell the difference between this batch and my last harvest.  I had to wash my hands multiple times while picking because they kept sticking together from all the lupulin!

zeus vine

magnolia pub and brewery, fresh hops galore

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

hand pumps at magnolia

yesterday CB alerted me that there were some special beers on draft at magnolia, so last night we rolled over to check it out.

  • turns out there were quite a few special beers available – I counted 5 in addition to their regular rotation.
  • the first one I had to try was a pint of their “wet-hop-dry-hopped” prescription pale.  it was described in their mail update as follows: “We tried to see how many pounds of wet hops (Chinook) we could fit into a firkin and then topped it up with Prescription. There might be more hops than beer in it.” this was my favorite of the night by far – it had a great hop aroma and flavor that thoroughly enveloped the beer but was not harsh or overwhelming.
  • CB and I also tasted both varieties of their high time harvest ale – #1 was brewed with 120 pounds of fresh centennial hops, and #2 was brewed with 120 pounds of fresh chinook hops.  both were great, but completely different – CB preferred the centennial, while I enjoyed the chinook.  fresh/wet hop beers are some of my favorites, and magnolia definitely went the extra mile with the style this year.
  • we also tried the other one that was aged for 8 months in a buffalo trace bourbon barrel – once it warmed up a little the aroma on it was awesome, and the barrel gave the beer a ton of complexity.  it was my second favorite of the night.
  • I also had a taste of rosebud, an anniversary beer that “is built loosely around our beloved Maris Otter malt but then goes out on a long, strange trip through a Belgian fermentation, the addition of dried rosebuds, and the juice of 100 pounds of syrah grapes from Amador County.”  the rose-petal aroma was definitely interesting, as was the rest of the beer, but I’m not sure I would order it up again.
  • the place was full but not crowded, and everyone there (both staff and patrons) was very friendly and in a good mood.  the service was awesome as well. to top it off, most pints were only $3 through their tuesday special.  it reminded me of my trip up to portland earlier this year, where this kind of environment was commonplace.  it was definitely my best trip to magnolia – I have to start going over there on tuesdays more often!

wet hopped prescription pale and barrel aged the other one

taps at magnolia

prescription pale, high times, the other one

baby shower kölsch: results

Monday, September 21st, 2009

the setup

quite a few months ago it was brought to my attention that NB and PB were having a baby shower.  I offered to supply a keg for the occasion.

  • oysters and BBQ were on the menu, and the event was being held outside.  I had to figure out a beer that would fit the bill.
  • I chose to brew a kolsch.  not only is kolsch a great session beer, but it is light and crisp, perfect with most foods on a sunny day.
  • I had read somewhere that an initially sweeter kolsch dries out when aged, which is what I wanted.  in order to ensure that the kolsch was light, crisp, and clear, I kegged it in June and cold crashed it in my cool shed for over 3 months.
  • the strategy worked, and the beer came out dry, perfectly carbonated, and super drinkable.
  • in fact, I think “drinkable” was an understatement.  with about 30 people in attendance, and over 20 pouring, the keg was kicked in less than an hour!
  • the couple of bottles of tripel and cider that I brewed up were the next to go.  it’s a good thing I brought a case of lagunitas IPA as backup!
  • thanks again NB and PB, the setup was great!

kolsch pour

oyster shuck

party goers are satisfied

reflecting on the brew, anticipating the future

during the weekend I also managed a couple more beer-related accomplishments.

  • I kegged the single-hop pale on friday.  I’m thinking about letting it sit for a month max, and then breaking it out to enjoy some local hoppyness at its freshest.

single hop fresh hop pale ale

  • I also took down the vojvodina vine on sunday, completing the cycle.  I felt bad stuffing it in the trash, but I knew it would be back even stronger next year!

vojvodina in trash

single hop fresh hop vojvodina pale ale brew day

Monday, September 7th, 2009

on the vine

so, my homegrown vojvodina hops appeared to be ready for harvest.  the cones were light and had a papery feel, and the cones themselves appeared to have a decent amount of lupulin in them:

hop cone lupulin glands

after some research, I found that vojvodinas are a hybrid of northern brewer, styrian goldings, and a wild yugoslavian hop.  therefore, I based my recipe off of a single hop northern brewer recipe and adjusted it with respect to other input from various sites.  I also multiplied the required amount of dry hops by 4 in order to account for the use of fresh hops (many sites say to multiply by 4-5; I went with 4 mainly because my plant ran out of hops!).  here’s my recipe:

  • 8lb pale LME
  • .6lb pale DME
  • 8oz cara-pils (@150 for 30 min)
  • 8oz crystal 60L (@150 for 30 min)
  • 4oz fresh hops @ 60, 30, 5 min

first I weighed out the specialty grains and steeped them from room temp -> 150, then held at 150 for 30 min.  I used a grain sock instead of a mash tun since the specialty grain bill was very small (1lb).

steeping grains

after hitting 150 for 30 min., I removed the specialty grains and added the extracts.  I added a little more DME to compensate for the fact that I hate squeezing every last drop of LME out of the extract bag and usually leave at least a few ounces in the trash can.

LME going in

weighing out DME

then I got to picking the hops while waiting for the boil.  CB and AF rolled by to participate in the “harvest.”

picking the cones

the volume to weight ratio of the fresh hops was pretty deceiving.  after picking a bowl full of hops, I figured we were going to have well over the desired 12 oz.  however, that was a small overestimate:

not quite 12 oz

the first batch of cones got tossed in at 60 min and the picking continued.  we ended up picking the hop vine clean, for a total of just over 12 oz.

hops in the kettle

the starter worked great, and the fermentation took off quickly and vigorously. I’m going to give it a week or two in primary, then secondary while carbing in a keg.

spent hops

the end result – months of anticipation culminating in tossing a bag of hops and sweet wort in the compost.

compost bag

to top off my brew day, I primed and kegged the presidio blackberry kolsch, kicked the tripel keg (finally!) and bottled some of it, cleaned my beer lines, and tapped the abt 12 quad semi-clone (review soon – it is pretty awesome).  phew!

post-fermentation blackberries

kegged blackberry kolsch

and what’s a brew day without sampling a few beers to aspire towards?  I popped a bottle of la folie, while CB brought over a great valley brew IPA and deschutes’ black butte XXI porter. thanks again man!

brewday brews