Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fresh Hop Harvest Ale

I had a great bewing day today. I was able to harvest a small amount of my cascade hops (I took 1 oz) and brewed my Fresh Hop Harvest Ale using the Cascade hops right from the vine as well as some Centennial pellets. I used Tastybrew to pull the recipe together since my recently created spreadsheet is not reliable at this moment. I was able to hit my target gravity right on the money. Below is the recipe and brewday stats.

Water PH - 5.4
Mash PH - 5.0
Target Gravity - 1.056
OG - 1.056

7.5 lbs Amber Malt Liquid Extract
2 lbs. Pale two-row
.25 lbs Belgian Biscuit
.25 lbs CaraPils
.25 lbs Crystal 20L
.25 lbs Crystal 40L

.5 oz Centennial (pellet, 10.5% - 60 min)
.5 oz Cascade (fresh wet hops, 6.6% estimated - 30 min)
5 oz Cascade (fresh wet hops, 6.6% estimated - 15 min)
.5 oz Centennial (pellet, 10.5% - 5 min)
.5 oz Cascade (fresh wet hops, 6.6% estimated - Dry hop in secondary)

Wyeast #1056 - American Ale

New Notes:
(9/2) - Primary fermentation went great. When I woke up the next morning, the bubbles were vigourusly popping. I racked to the secondary 8 days later (8/29) and added another .5 oz of fresh picked hops. Thankfully, I have another ounce or so on the vine which I'll dry and store for later use. The hop smell was amazing. Fresh cascade aroma filled the air as I racked the brew. I gave the .5 oz that I was dry hopping with a big squeze and rub to release some more aroma and dropped them in. I'm getting very excited about this beer.

(9/15) - I bottled this yesterday. When I uncovered the carboy to bottle, it had an interesting white film on the top of the beer. It tasted fine as I sipped the hydrometer sample (1.012) so I'm not too concerned. Hopefully the hops didn't have a bacteria on them when I dry hopped. Anyone have any experience with this or have seen this film on their beer before?

(10/6) - Bad news.....I tried the first bottle and it is completly ruined! It tastes like vinager so I'm going to jhave to dump them all. I'm am not happy. I guess thats the risk you run with fresh hops....lots of bacteria on them. Next year I will make sure that I boil them all and not dry hop with them. I had real high hopes for this one....oh well!!!


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Me vs. A Big Bear

It's a slow day here at work, but a friend of mine sent this to me today and I had a good laugh and thought I needed to share. We were at a post wedding reception "after party" and I got in a slight tussle with a bear. I totally kicked that bear's ass. I mean, if it were alive....I would have killed it! Anyways....back to work.

Test Porter and Starter Session

Last night was a busy night for me. I brewed two 1 gallon batches. One was just a gallon of un-hopped wort for starters, and the other was a 1 gallon test batch of a Porter. And the most exciting part about last night was it was the first time I got to use my new wort chiller that I bought from

For the 1 gallon starter batch, I was able to squeeze 9, 500 ml bags of starter wort to save for later use. I separated them out in Ziploc bags and put them in the freezer. My goal here is to start to save and re-use my yeast for future batches. Not only will it help with the cost aspect (I hope to be brewing a lot more now) but a friend of mine tuned me into the tidbit that if I plan on making a lager, that the best results come from 3rd or 4Th generation yeast. That being said, I'm starting. I'm going to order some test tubes so I can store them in the fridge and label them easily.

The 1 gallon test batch was a little different. I completely missed my target gravity (reached 1.046, target was 1.057). After the boil, I had to add some chilled water to try and top off to a full gallon but was unable to reach a gallon before the gravity was already at 1.046 (I originally measured it at 1.096 after I chilled it). I have no clue how that happened. I followed my recipe from tasty brew to the T, but was still not able to make it happen. Unfortunately because I was trying to multi-task my two brews while watching the Red Sox/Rangers slug fest, I took horrible notes and now can't go back and review. It's currently in the jug fermenter (Carlo Rossi jug....thanks for the idea Ted) so we'll see how it comes out in the end. It looks and smells fantastic, but I was a little dissappointed when I took the gravity reading. I guess this will be a good learning experience....if I can ever figure out what the lesson is?!?!?!?

1g Starter:

1 lb extra light DME

Boiled in 1 gallon of water for 10 min, chilled and bagged.

1g Test Porter:

1 lb Muntons Dark DME
4.2 oz Chocolate Malt
2.1 oz Crystal 120
4.4 oz British brown

.5 oz UK Challanger (7.5%AA - 30 min)
.5 oz Cascade(6.6%AA - 15 min)

Wyeast #1275 - Thames Valley Propagator


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Almost Harvest Time

The hops are growing at record pace and I'm psyched. I'm working on the fresh hop APA that I'm going to make with them, along with some centential pellets. I can't wait. I couldn't believe how quickly they grew from just 2 weeks ago. I gave them a squeeze last night and they are still a little ways away from being harvested and some of them are weeks away. I'll post the recipe and pictures of the harvest as it happens.