I’m going to get this out of the way. I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. Got my Ph.D. in Gainesville, FL. When I took my job in the DC metro area, I was under the impression that the winters here were mild. Maybe I’m just a warm weather wimp but the windchill hit -28 F about a week before the brew day. The pipes froze in the house and I had to crawl around in the crawlspace when the temperature was 0 F (at least under the house I wasn’t exposed to the 30 mph wind that was generating that insanely low windchill. My ambitions to brew a ton in January / February was met with the harsh reality of intolerable weather. I know there is no such thing as bad weather, just inadequate preparation but the weather got the better of me for about 3 weeks. I fucking hate winter. I’ll catch up because I have to but that’s why the brewing posts have been spaced out further than I wanted the past few months. Maybe you didn’t notice.
I love these experimental hop varieties. I’d be perfectly fine if I’m eventually known in the homebrew community as “that guy with all those experimental hop saisons”….that is a fine identity to me. This is one of the few varieties that haven’t had a name attached, which is sort of cool. So I am brewing another simple saison with this single hop, not a lot to say about the background of the beer, just off to the brewing.
What do we know about this hop? From the source, “Clean, pleasant, floral, citrus, huge mint, herbal, mellow spice, thyme, saaz-like, cucumber, sage, touch of lemon.” Wow, that’s a bag of words. Here are the numbers.
OK, that was fun. The only way to learn about these hops is to brew with them.
Batch # 2015.06
5 Gallon Batch
Brew date: February 28th, 2015
ABV: 5.25 %
85% American 2-row pale malt
5% Flaked oats
I slightly overshot my mash temperature, it started out at 155 F. That isn’t too far off…I’m not worried about it. I added pH stabilizer. I ended up collecting about 9 gallons after sparging.
It was a cold one out there. It took awhile to get this up to a boil, windy day, low wind chill but I got it boiling and held it there for 70 minutes. Wort was chilled using my immersion chiller for about 45 minutes. The wort draining into the fermenter was quite cold but that is fine.
All the hops used are pelleted ADHA 527. The AA% reported on the packaging is 15.6%. Hops were obtained from yakimavalleyhops.com.
2 ounces at 10 minutes
2 ounces for hop stand for 30 minutes after flameout
2 ounces dry hopped in fermenter
2 ounces in keg
Wort was transferred to the carboy through the side port on the pot which has a mesh screen on it. Not a lot of hot break or hop material made it into the fermenter. Just over 5 gallons collected. The yeast from Nuggetzilla was added to the carboy and fermetation took place within 10 hours. Beer was mostly fermented out after 2 weeks, left on the cake for 2 more weeks for dry hopping and to make sure it was 100% done.
Unlike the Nuggetzilla saison, this beer was properly chilled. Maybe even over chilled going into the fermenter. Barely…but it got done (pipes were frozen but thawed in time). This is how a beer should go, aside from me getting crazy busy with work and getting ready for baby #2. Nothing to note. It sat at RT for about a week under moderate pressure (about 20 PSI) with the hop bag in the bottom of the keg. This is the standard treatment.
Beer served on draft. Beer is yellow and a little hazy, not too bad. Decent level of carbonation, nice head retention, soft white head medium and small bubbles, some lacing. Looks like most of these beers. A little clearer than they normally start out but this one had an extra week in the fermenter. They usually clear up after a few weeks in the fridge.
Aroma is nice, especially in the very beginning of this one. It is pretty hoppy in the nose, spice, anise, a little lemon, flowery, rose, a little sulfur, the Dupont yeast is cutting through nicely as well. Not getting the “sage” portion of this hop but some citrus notes are sneaking through. Really nice.
Beer is pretty bitter despite being all late addition hops. The bitterness is matched nicely with the Dupont yeast, there is a slight sulfury character to the beer and the hop flavors come smashing through like a ton of bricks. This is a GREAT hop for a saison, it is almost tea-like in its delicateness and floral flavors. There is a slight hint of mint and some mild citrus. The hop is quite fragile and the flavor fades leaving you with this nice Dupont yeast feel to the whole beer. The body of the beer is light but not dry, wet finish.
After drinking this beer for a couple of weeks, the hop character is wearing off a bit. To be expected but the drop off is pretty fast. I’m left with a moderately hopped saison Dupont, which I’m not complaining about at all. I do need to think about how I’m treating the in keg hops to get a more even distribution of the flavors for a longer period of time. I don’t think I’m getting complete extraction of the flavors.
Possible improvements (for future batches):
I think this beer is pretty good. Getting some nice feed back from some local people about it. My biggest let down is how quickly the hops drop off. This is partially due to how I treat the hopping in the keg but until I alter how the keg works it will have to do. I am looking forward to the whole leaf hop one (mostly because it will free up a lot of freezer space to get those damn things out of there). Many more to come.
Upcoming brews and posts:
Jarrylo hops are next in the order of experimental hops, brewing that beer this weekend. That is the last of my pellet hops, after that I’m moving onto the whole leaf varieties like Chocolate and Armadillo. I have to alter my process to do those but I started disassembling kegs this weekend to finish up that project. I have a Palisades single hop saison going on draft this weekend and after that I have a Rudi single hop saison going on draft. I have a few wakatu saison variants I brewed that I’m going to post about as well as a few stouts coming up. Most notably I have a barrel aged Russian Imperial Stout that I just put in bottles out of a whiskey barrel. It has been in the barrel since Halloween…I’ll see how it held up and post about that soon. I am also currently fermenting my first lager ever. Several more weeks on that guy but keep an eye out for that post (debuting new technology in that post). Also currently fermenting my first wine.
More non-brewing posts coming up. A rant about beer and food pairings, a Lactobacillus pH experiment, perhaps something about Kluyveromyces finally. So bottom line, I’m back with a vengeance and hopefully won’t take a long stretch of time off from the blog any time soon.
“Beer’s intellectual. What a shame so many idiots drink it.” ― Ray Bradbury