Monday, September 12, 2016

Hop Harvest Day & Wet Hop Cascadian Dark Ale

It was time to harvest my hops in Western NY. Most of the small hop farms in the area had already harvested theirs even though I couldn't imagine how it was possible the hops were ready. Mine while papery, weren't easily coming apart in my hands and I made the mistake of harvesting too early last year and wasn't about to do that again.

This weekend would have to be it because much of the hops were browning and they were the most dry I had felt them. The weather was also about the change pretty drastically from 60's overnight to 40's.

I planned the harvest on day where I could also brew. Planning to make my typical Wet Hop Cascadian Dark Ale recipe which hides vegetal wet hop character quite well while also showcasing the citrus and resiny notes from my backyard  Chinook, Cascade and Centennial hops. I also threw in a handful of Norther Brewer because that's all I got from the 1 bine I have. NB doesn't seem to like the climate or soil here in WNY like Cascade, Chinook, Centennial and Mt. Hood do. I also recently found out that Liberty grows quite well here while Perle does not. This could be the placement in my tiny hop yard but I doubt it considering they're in the same 16x4 foot patch as everything but the Chinook.

Came home from work Friday and this poor guy was down!

Centennial harvest, only about a half pound from 2 bines. I don't think they liked the string of 90+ degree days and no rain this year. Even though I have then irrigated.

You can see the large percentage that were turning brown although even the worst of them had good lupulin content.
I've brewed the Wet Hop CDA before, I only tweaked it for this years available harvest. The rye gives it a nice body without taking away from the strong hop presence.

Wet Hop Cascadian Dark Ale:


Fermentables

AmountNameDiastatic PowerColorNotes
13 lbsPilsner (2 Row) Bel105.00000002.0 SRMBelgian base malt for Continental lagers
3 lbsRye Malt75.00000004.7 SRMAdds a dry, crisp character to the beer. Yields a deep red color, and a distinctive rye flavor Must limit to 10-15% fo the mash as it tends to produce "stuck" mashes.
1 lbs 8.0 ozCrystal 40, 2-Row, (Great Western)0.000000040.0 SRMCrystal 40 (35-45°L) A fully modified and saccharified two-row crystal malt roasted to a target color of 40° ASBC. A versatile malt providing moderate color and caramel flavor.
1 lbs 4.0 ozCarafa II (Weyermann)0.0000000415.0 SRMChocolate malt. Dark beers, Alts, Bockbiers. Adds color and aroma.

Hops

AmountNameAlpha AcidsTimeNotes
2.50 ozCascade5.500000030.0 minA hops with Northern Brewers Heritage Used for: American ales and lagers Aroma: Strong spicy, floral, grapefruit character Substitutes: Centennial Examples: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Anchor Liberty Ale
2.00 ozCentennial10.000000060.0 minUsed for: General purpose bittering, aroma in American ales and Wheats Aroma: Floral, citrus aroma, spicy, clean bittering flavor Substitutes: Galena, Eroica, Nugget, Bullion Examples: Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot
1.00 ozChinook13.000000030.0 minStrong versatile bittering hop Used for: Ales, porters, stouts Aroma: Heavy and spicy aroma Substitutes: Galena, Eroica, Nugget, Bullion Examples: Sierra Nevada Stout, Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
1.00 ozNorthern Brewer8.500000060.0 minAlso called Hallertauer Northern Brewers Used for: Bittering and finishing both ales and lagers of all kinds Aroma: Fine, dry, clean bittering hop. Unique flavor. Substitutes: Hallertauer Mittelfrueh, Hallertauer Examples: Anchor Steam, Old Peculiar,
1.00 ozCascade5.500000060.0 minA hops with Northern Brewers Heritage Used for: American ales and lagers Aroma: Strong spicy, floral, grapefruit character Substitutes: Centennial Examples: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Anchor Liberty Ale
1.00 ozCentennial10.000000060.0 minUsed for: General purpose bittering, aroma in American ales and Wheats Aroma: Floral, citrus aroma, spicy, clean bittering flavor Substitutes: Galena, Eroica, Nugget, Bullion Examples: Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot

Yeast

AmountNameAttenuationNotes
50.28 mlSafale American76.5000000American ale yeast that produces well balanced beers with low diacetyl and a very clean, crisp end palate.

Mash Steps

AmountTypeNameRatioTempTimeDescription
24.44 qtInfusionMash In1.250 qt/lb64.444444475.0000000Add 24.44 qt of water at 158.6 F

The brew day went quite well considering I harvesting hops and mowed my lawn during the mashing and boiling.

Here is the 1.75lbs  bag of wet hops that went into the whirlpool!


First Wort Hop :)

Had to mash them down into the chiller, Haha
 The following day I harvested my Mt. Hood and Liberty hops. I pulled as much weight in hops from my two Mt. Hood bines as I did the 7 bines I harvested the day before, 3.5lbs. The remaining Chinook, Cascade and Mt. Hood are currently drying out in my home made box-fan oast.

I love this hobby. Even though the hops cost me about an extra $60 in my water bill for the summer and they take hours to harvest for very little yield I have good time watching them grow and utilizing what I can from them. $60 would buy me about 2-3lbs of already dried and harvested hops and that's literally all I got from my harvest once you calculate the difference between wet and dry hops. I could have save myself the time and money but there's just something about utilizing your own home grown ingredients that is ultimately satisfying. Besides this is a hobby, you're going to spend some money on your hobbies, right?