Sunday, March 29, 2015

Hops, Hops, and more Hops + East of Monaco IPA

I dedicate this article and brew to my buddy Phish who just dusted off his kegs and picked up his mash paddle.  It's brew time!

I have spent the last year really diving into yeast and malt, now its time to get my bones in gear and start rippin' out some serious hop-centric brews.  In a couple weeks the Brew Farm Group is going to be hosting a SMaSH Beer tasting and I think it's perfect timing for me to get started into this next chapter in my brewing.

Granted there have been plenty of IPA's, but there has to be many, many, many more!  So let's begin.  I have done two iterations of what I dubbed, CO Tribute IPA.  It's a very pine-based hop beer.  I want to expand on that with a few tricks and ideas I've picked up since I last put this down.

The beer I am setting out for on this brew is the baby version of what later will be a Piney DIPA and ultimately a pine hop based American Barleywine, but we must crawl before we walk.

In an attempt to avoid spent hop bag flinging, I must preface what I am about to write with these words; When reading below keep in mind I am simply trying to "simplify," an extraordinarily complex ingredient of which can and will exhibit any number of characteristics when utilized in an indefinite series of processes, quantities, crops, etc etc etc.  The sky is truly the limit, and this ingredient can not be perceived in a vacuum (or while vacuuming for that matter.).  Ok, the preface is complete, let's see if we can get a foothold on the universe that is HOPS!

Elementary School of Hops

To begin, I have broken down this glorious gift of the beer gods into several overlying categories:

Pungent - High Alpha: Zeus, Columbus, Tomahawk, Challenger

Clean - High Alpha: Horizon, Warrior,

Piney: Simcoe, Chinook, Northern Brewer

Citrus: Cascade, Centennial, Amarillo,

Fruity (passion fruit, gooseberry, melon, etc): Citra, Mosaic, Nelson Sauvin

Earthy/Floral/Spicy: EKG, Styrian, Crystal, Fuggle, Willamette

Noble: Saaz, Spalt, Tettnanger, Hallertau

High School of Hops
As you may be thinking, there are many, many, many other hops with names, and with no names (like ADHA-527) out there, but these are pretty famous in their own right and fairly easy to come by at your local HBS.  So, if you want to learn hops, this is a great place to begin, but you can take it to the next level and visit the amazing resource below and get the full monty:
Aroma Wheel
University Level of Hops

Image result for pliny the elder
Graduate Level Hops

Regarding IPA grists I have two "go-to" grain bills I will be working from on standard IPA's.

The Non-fruity IPA grist:  
2-row, sugar (5%), carapils (3%)
(for color add dark munich, Marris Otter, dark wheat or a darker sugar)

The Fruity IPA Grist.  
2-row, Crystal 40, sugar (5%), carapils (3%)

The premise here is based on a great philosophy I'll paraphrase here: IPA's are a hop-centric beer, so let the hops shine!  Dry out the beer, and keep the grist as simple as possible especially\ if the hops are not fruity.  Now, if the hops are fruity, we humans perceive fruit and associate that with sweetness, so by adding crystal (perceived sweetness) you are reinforcing that sentiment in your mind.  Conversely, you are not "confusing," your mind and as a result, helping the beer to be perceived as a complete idea.

And that is what I call, an overview.  There are books written on the subject, but I am not here to re-create the hop wheel. I leave the details to the great men and women who came before me, but I do have enough to make a beer, so....

Let's begin.

East of Monaco IPA
The profile:
Grist: non-fruity
ABV - Sessionable - >5%
Bittering "bite" -  medium - Chinook for bittering hop and majority of IBUs
Flavor: Pine and Citrus 
Resulting Flavor Hops: Simcoe (Pine/Citrus), Cascade (Citrus) 
Aroma: I am going to target a big piney and citrus aroma and not hold back.  I want folks to know this beer is coming as it approaches their beach chair! 

Resulting Aroma Hops: Chinook (Pine/Citrus/resin), Simcoe (Pine/Citrus), Cascade (Citrus)

Batch - after hop loss: 4.5G estimated
OG - 1049
FG - below 1009
ABV - 4.9%
IBU target - 55 (40ibu's from 60 minute charge)
BUGU - 1.0ish

Grist (non-fruity)

2-row - 8 lbs (91%) or 6.6lbs LME (for best results do a full boil)
White Sugar - .5 lbs (6%)
Carapils - .33 lbs (5 oz) (3%)

Hop Schedule
FWH - .25oz Simcoe and Cascade
60 - Chinook (11.4%) - .5oz
0 - Simcoe (13%) - .75oz
0 - Cascade (7%) - .75oz
0 - Chinook - (11.4%) .5oz (just finishing the oz:)
DH1 - 4 days each - I'm starting with the schedule below and will repeat it after the initial DH if I want more.
Chinook - .5oz
Cascade - 1oz (has twice the essential oil content of the others.)
Simcoe - .5oz
Keg DH - 1 oz Challenger, .5oz Simcoe

Post DH Experiment - Split batch to a grapefruit rind, peeled and twisted, DH'd to compliment citrus notes.

Yeast - 001

Keg, carb and enjoy!

Brew Day - 3/29/15
Brewed at NF during workshop
Mash 154
FWH hops in. Dig it.
60 in
0 in. - no boil overs.

D0 - 1046. pitched 72, 150ml medium thick slurry, second gen 001 off Chinook SMaSH. Couldnt chill there so if there is any issue, it could stem from the long ride home (3 hours from flame out to pitch..)
D3 - 5/5 - 73 degrees
D4 - 2/5 - 67 degrees (61 degree room)
4/5 - FG 1006.  Added DH
4/10/15 - purged bucket and keg. Added 1oz challenger (the pine/citrus wasn't juicy enough) and .5oz simcoe to keg in bag.

4/22/15: Tasting Notes
S - Beautiful bouquets of citrus, orange, rinds, and resin.  This is definitely the highlight of the beer!
T - a little lacking here.  It took a week of cold conditioning for the taste to come around, but I will say it doesnt have quite as much hop character in the flavor as I'd like.  I thin the chinook was a good choice on bittering but I couldve been a bit more aggressive there.  The bitter bite is nice, but not overpowering.  The fruity aspect of the hops are coming through mostly, but there isnt much in the form of ;layering or complexity here.  A little muddled.  It is growing on me but its not mind blowing.
M - dry and highly sessionable
O - a good IPA.  I can drink more than one, so I will rate it "good," on my scale.  Needs more hop flavor, and I feel ike the chinook could have been a little more upfront.
Next Time - Go with 1oz on each of the FWH, up Chinook at 60 and keep the rest the same,  The 0 and DH portions of this beer seem to be very well done.

Bottom Line  - I feel like Im being a bit too restrained.  The IPA's I enjoy blow my mind with hops.  If IM going to do this, i just have to go big!  I would go so far to say that this IPA would make it to the tap at some breweries, but for me its gotta be huge.  I'm thinking the FWH is cool and all, but for now I want to roll with a solid 60 min add for the bite I enjoy then go Hop_tastic on the 00 and double DH.

Case closed.

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