Friday, October 3, 2008

Golden Nugget "Wet Hop" Harvest Ale

Only 14 hours old, a healthy addition of wet nugget hops were tossed into the boil of this golden harvest ale for flavor and aroma. Nance's hop vines literally drape the whole length of her wrought iron fence along the entire back end of the Chicago lot. Massive and impressive to say the least, and obviously, it's been coming back for many years.

Nance has a deep appreciation for plants and animals, and has dedicated her life to their preservation and spreading of knowledge. I'm extremely appreciative for the opportunity to use her organic hops in my mostly organic pale ale. Thank you Nance.

With the hop shortage effecting choice and cost within the homebrewing front, it seems that more and more brewers have started to grow their own vines. I even had a friend try to grow a few rhizomes for me. The thing is, they take several years to put out a healthy bounty. I told Nance that her vine is like the end of the rainbow for me, and that I know I could make a really great harvest style ale with them. I can't wait to taste the final product. If we brew another one in 2009, this year's brew will definitely inform us on how best to utilize these hops.

Mr. Wizard at BYO came in handy when formulating the wet hop additions. I'll be going with three wet hop additions, but there are other hops going into this beer for bittering and supporting flavor. Cluster, with a touch of Simcoe, for solid bittering. Simcoe will also support the wet hop flavor with a 30 & 15 minute addition. I hope to get a full wet hop flavor and aroma, but don't want it to be the only hop in there. About half the beer will also get "wet" hopped in secondary. Nugget hops get played down as a strictly bittering variety, but since they're green, I hope these will provide a unique hoppiness. For the most part, these fresh hops smell quite "green," and have a sort-of musty scent. The tighter/greener cones smelled more like hops (citrus/pine), but the cones that have opened more and are a bit yellow/green smell good but strange/off.

I'm going with a pale ale recipe that has a lot in it, but will remain pretty light in complexion. 20L Crystal and Honey malt will definitely add some big sweetness. A blend of toasted malts will add dryness, and well...some toasted notes. Overall, these malts should provide enough complexity for a rich and hoppy harvest ale.

Golden Nugget "Wet Hop" Harvest Ale

8.5 lbs. Organic 2-Row
1.0 lbs. Crystal 20L
1.0 lbs. Belgian Wheat Malt
.50 lbs. Can. Honey Malt
.35 lbs. Victory Malt
.35 lbs. Special Roast

1.0 oz. Cluster, 7.9%, pellet, 60min
.15 oz. Simcoe, 11.9%, pellet, 60min
.35 oz. Simcoe, 11.9%, pellet, 30min
.50 oz. Simcoe, 11.9%, pellet, 15min
3.0 oz. Nugget, aa%?, wet, 5min
3.0 oz. Nugget, aa%?, wet, KO

.75 oz. Nugget, aa%?, wet, Dry 1 gallon- bottled
6.0 oz. Nugget, aa%?, wet, Keg

Wyeast 1056: American Ale (huge yeast cake)

Brew Day Stats

Brewed: 10/2/08
Kegged: 10/26/08
Racked: 1 gallon dry hopped for about 2 weeks

Water Adjustment:
Strike: 2 tsp gypsum, .75 tsp epsom, .5 tsp acid blend
2nd Sparge: 1 tsp gypsum, 1 tsp cacl, .75 tsp epsom
Boil: .25 tsp Kosher Salt

H2O/Grain Ratio: 1.25 qt/lb
Mash Ph: 5.4
Sacch. Rest Temp/Time: 152°F/60min
Mash Out Temp/Time: 165°F/10min
1st Batch Vol/SG: 3.75gal/1.057

2nd Batch Sparge Vol/H2OTemp/MashTemp: 3gal/184°F/169°F
2nd Batch Vol/SG: 3gal/1.027

Pre-Boil Vol/SG: 6.75gal/1.044
Boil Time: 75min
Post-Boil Vol: 5.75gal
Mash Efficiency: approx. 73%

OG: 1.054
IBU: approx. 60
Color/SRM: Golden/9
Ferment Temp: 66°F

FG: 1.013
ABW: 4.3%
ABV: 5.4%


1. A slow start on fermentation, but the temp is pretty low
2. Scent from from fermenter is quite hoppy and clean
3. So far, so good
4. This beer should be good w/o dry hops and will be fun to compare
5. Though they look very healthy, the hops come complete with red spider mites, aphids among other bugs, with unseen webs, bug dung and airborne pollutants. If they present any sort of bacterial problem with the beer, I don't want to infect the whole batch
6. Bottling the 1 gallon dry hopped batch resulted in a surprising taste. The beer, with its honey malt sweetness and these soft fruity/citrus hops resulted in a taste that is very much a few drops of grapefruit squeezed onto a soft ripe peach. Can't wait to smell and taste the fully carbonated beer.

Tasting Notes dry hopped bottle

Appearance: Crystal clear golden color with some orange highlights, dense white head falls slowly to a layer of bubbles on surface
Aroma: Fresh ripe peaches! Touch of grapefruit and overall fruity sweet, faint alcohol
Taste: Some fine layers of flavor, peach, touch of grapefruit, honey, slight biscuit, bitterness
Mouthfeel: medium-light, good carbonation
Aftertaste: Dry bitterness remains with a slightest touch of dry hop oxidation, subtle sweet malt rides into the aftertaste
Drinkability: Very satisfying & refreshing taste!
Overall: Pretty assertive for its otherwise soft peach flavor and aroma. The bitterness is clean and sharp and perhaps a bit too much for the subtleties in malts. I think the malts are sweet and unique and go well with the fresh nugget hops. These hops definitely give off a pretty smooth peachy fruit quality that's much lighter than I expected. They remind me of Northern Brewer dry hopping, and in this brew the Simcoe is definitely playing a role. I could easily imagine a summer style American wheat beer with loads of these fresh hops, and perhaps a tiny addition of dried apricots.

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