The Homebrewer’s Corner – Evaluating a Hop

I like hops.  I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true.

When I find a new hop, I love trying it out to find out what it can do.  There are a lot of really good ways to try hops out, but my favorite method is brewing the same pale ale recipe and using the hope throughout the entire brew.  Not only do I get five gallons of delicious brew out of it, I also get to see what the hop does throughout the brewing process.

For a primer on how hop additions work, let’s talk about timing.  There are a lot of times when a brewer can add hops to brew.  Typically, bittering hops go in at the beginning of the boil, flavor hop go somewhere in the middle, and aroma hops go in at the very end (or as dry hops in secondary fermentation).

When I get a new hop variety to try out, I brew a very simple pale ale that uses the hop at each of these stages, including dry-hopping.  This will let me evaluate the following:

Bittering addition: Is the bitterness of the hop harsh or mellow?  Most of the time, there’s not much difference in perception for hops added early, as all of the volatile aroma and flavor substances tend to be vaporized by long boiling, but I always include the hop at this stage so I can get a full picture of what the hop is like.

Flavor addition: Using a flavor addition in the middle of the boil allows you to get a better picture of what the hop tastes like.  Keep in mind that you’ll also pick up some aroma and bitterness in this addition, so be sure to include it in your calculations.

Aroma addition (flameout): Just as you’re killing the heat to your kettle, you stir this one in.  This is the aroma addition in the boil.  It is very similar to making a hop tea, as you’re essentially steeping the hops without boiling off the volatile compounds.

Aroma addition (dry-hopping): This is more like cold-brewing your coffee than making a hop tea.  This preserves more of the delicate hop aromas, which provide that “fresh” hop character you can pick up in locally-brewed IPAs (shipping and storage tend to oxidize these compounds somewhat).

Using a hop at each one of these stages in a brew is a very good way to getting a full picture as to how you’d like to use that hop in the future.  I recommend finding a pale ale recipe that you really like and can brew consistently.  It will allow you to compare the hop varieties against each other without other changes in recipe affecting your perception.

Because this is a written article and no longer on the radio, here is a recipe that I use to brew my Single Hop experiments.

Evaluation Experimentation Ale

Grain Bill
8.5 lbs 2-row pale malt
1.5 lbs Crystal 20L
.5 lb CaraPils

Hops
7.5 AAU Hop* for 60 minutes
.5 oz Hop for 15 minutes (flavor addition – some people prefer 30 minutes)
.5 oz Hop at flameout
1 oz Hop in secondary (5-7 days)

Other Ingredients
Irish Moss (1 tsp at 15 minutes until end of boil)

Yeast
Fermentis Safale US-05, Wyeast 1056, or White Labs WLP001

Mash at 152 degrees until all of the starches are converted, mash out at 170 degrees.  Bring it to a boil and add the first addition.  After 45 minutes, add the second hop addition and the Irish Moss.  As the hour runs out, turn off the heat and add the last hops.  Whirlpool, chill, and ferment.  Rack to secondary after fermentation stops and add the 1 oz of dry hops.  After 5-7 days, bottle or keg and sample.  Best served fresh.

Extract Version:

Replace the 2-row base malt with 5.1 lbs of Light Dry Malt Extract.  Steep the other grains in a cheesecloth sack at 152 degrees for 20 minutes, then remove them, allowing them to drip back into your kettle.  Add your malt extract and bring to a boil. Proceed from the first hop addition as above.

 

The Rundown #1

Welcome to The Rundown.  Each week, we’ll post new beer releases, special editions, and seasonals that you can find here in Springfield.  If a beer has not yet been released, we’ll also let you know the release date. Mother’s Brewing Company Tasting Room: Chocolate Thunder – Stout brewed with Askinosie Chocolate. Pulp Fiction – Saison with Blood Oranges Imperial Three Blind Mice – Big brother to three blind mice, this one’s big, bold, and delicious. Grow Cukes not Nukes – Cucumber Saison, cool and refreshing with a hint of black pepper from the yeast.  Should be out next week. Love Factory #2 – Not out yet, but you should be thinking about it.  Launches on May 17th at the 4th Ever Mother’s Day Festival. Springfield Brewing Company: Hellbender Hellerbock – Pale golden bock beer with a healthy helping of fruity hops. Del Fuego! – An SBC favorite, this stout is dosed with smoked Chipotle Meco, Pasilla, Ancho  and De Arbol peppers.  Don’t fear the heat, though.  It’s well balanced and not too spicy. Quencher in the Rye(PA) – A newer addition to the SBC family, this RyePA is crisp and bright with some peppery notes from the hops and rye. White River Brewing Company: Ole Mill Ale – You can still find this in a few stores around town.  It’s big, bold and delicious.  A big malt backbone and some warming alcohols make this an ideal companion for sipping next to a fire on a chilly spring evening. Buck Hollow Blond – A Missouri take on a Belgian blonde, this should be hitting stores next week.  Once I have a firm date, I’ll let you know. Leaky Roof Meadery: Berry Picker – Four berries in a mead?  Yes, please.  The sweetness of the mead is well balanced by the tart addition of four berries.  A very refreshing change of pace for when you want something completely different. (Available on tap only) Around and about town: Boulevard Grainstorm: A “double black rye IPA”, expect big malt, big hops, and the darkness of a storm at night.  Big beer. Tallgrass Brewing: Halcyon and new variety packs hit stores this week.  Halcyon is a refreshing wheat beer made from Kansas wheat and a healthy handful of hops.  Nice citrusy beer, and it comes in cans for your outdoor adventures. Deschutes: Fresh Squeezed will be back in town this week.  It’s an IPA made with citra and mosaic hops, lending bright citrus and tropical fruit in large doses without the addition of actual fruit. Not The Stoic is a Belgian dark strong ale (Read: a quadrupel) from a Deschutes.  It releases in town next week, so keep a sharp eye out for it.  I’m not sure how much will be around. Abita Andygator Doppelbock – This beer looks pretty intense.  It’s a high-gravity beer fermented to a dry finish using German yeast and Liberty hops.  It’s a clear straw color with a bit of sweetness, bread, and spice, but it finishes dry.  It’s back in stores in SGF and now available in 6 packs. Anchor Brewing Company – The California Lager (Part of their Zymaster Series) is out.  It’s a single-hop beer that uses cluster hops “from a long line originally grown in California.  They are actually doing a lot of local sourcing, using water from Yosemite, their own California yeast strain, and the Cluster hops. Anchor IPA is also out and about town.  It’s a well-balanced IPA with a solid malt backbone and an intense hop bitterness. Other Quick Hits:

  • Cathedral Square Belgian White is now available in 6 pack bottles
  • Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout (seasonal)
  • Stone Sprocket Bier (Black Rye Kolsch)
  • Sierra Nevada Hoptimum (limited time)
  • Founders All-Day IPA (a personal favorite) is coming in 15 pack cans for the same price as 12.
  • Odell Loose Leaf Session Ale (session IPA)

What’s on Tap! 4/24/2014

White River Brewing Company Tours – White River offers tours of their brewing company every Saturday, but you must make an appointment. Email Elonzo@whiteriverbrewingco.com to reserve your spot. Tours are every hour and are limited to 12 people.

Live music at SBC every weekend:
Tonight from 8-10pm, 180 degrees featuring Kristi Meredith.
Friday Nights, 6-9pm, The Johnny Stricklar Trio
Saturdays from 4-7 pm, The Ryan Talbot Experience

Sundays and Mondays at the brewco, they have my favorite special ever.
Appetizer and a pitcher for $13. Can’t beat a pitcher of pils and some pulled pork nachos, in my opinion.

Wednesday is Happy Hour Live at the University Plaza Hotel Lobby.
5:00-7:30 pm or so. Live music, local beer, food samples, and the best Networking opportunity in town.

May 3rd is Big Brew Day (National Homebrewer’s Day) at The Homebrewery in Ozark, Missouri.
Admission is free, and The Homebrewery and the Homebrew ZOO will be offering demonstrations on homebrewing and meadmaking, there will be a potluck and barbecue, and a lot of homebrew to sample. IF you’re a homebrewer or are interested in the hobby, you should stop by and visit with us for a while. If you’re interested in brewing as part of Big Brew Day, please contact todd@homebrewery.com and make sure he has room for you. Let him know which recipe you’d like to brew and how much, and he’ll have your ingredients ready for you when you get there.

May 10th is the Craft Beer Fest at the Brown Derby Wine Center.
Proceeds to benefit the The Doula Foundation. VIP Early Entrance tickets (12:30-1:30pm) are available in advance for $25 per person (limited to the first 100 sold). Regular Entry tickets (1:30-4pm) are $15 and will be available on the day of the event. They’ll have around 100 different craft beers to sample, both out of bottle or can and on tap. For VIP Early Entrance, RSVP to (417) 883-4066

May 17th is 4th ever Mother’s Day Fest.
2PM to 8PM in Mother’s Back Yard. (215 S Grant Spfd, MO). $5 at the gate, kids under 15 get in free. Bring lawn chairs, blankets, etc. Live Music, Local Food, Local Art, and Local BEER. (Including Love Factory Mark 2). Afterwards, there will be an afterparty at Patton Alley Pub.

Welcome to Beer Buzz.

Welcome to our new Beer Buzz site.  We are currently working on the site in preparation for our new launch.  Thank you for your patience.

Beer Buzz was originally a blog and radio show under the TAG Media umbrella.  With the end of TAG Media at the end of April, 2014, SGF Beer Buzz will begin a new adventure as your independent source for craft beer news and information in Southwest Missouri.

We look forward to providing you with in-depth insight into local and regional breweries, special events, and more.

Thank you for being a part of craft beer in Missouri.

Southwest Missouri Craft Beer News, Events, and Information