Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Help me brew

Homegrown hops from my front yard!

I am finally starting to settle in to my new home in Spokane, Washington. I've started to rent a house and, to my surprise, the previous tenant had quite the green thumb! Among other things, I now have spearmint and hops growing in my yard! I've finally begun to unpack my belongings and my brewing setup is aching for some fresh wort.

But I'm at a crossroads of brewing. I haven't brewed in so long (about 7 months) that I have an abundance of ideas and seemingly little time to implement them. Let's start with the basic ingredients I have on hand:

50# American two-row barley malt (base grain)
5# Munich 10L malt (specialty grain)
5# Crystal 40L malt (specialty grain)
5# Carapils malt (specialty grain)

1# of “Spokane” Goldings whole hops (homegrown, unkown AA%)
3oz Amarillo hop pellets (8% AA)
3oz Summit hop pellets (18%[!] AA)
3oz Saaz hop pellets (2.5% AA)
1oz Hallertau Select hop pellets (2% AA)

Whitelabs WLP001 California Ale Yeast (a very clean all-purpose strain, I usually use it for APAs and IPAs)
Whitelabs WLP028 Edinburgh Scottish Ale Yeast (cooler fermenting, maltier strain. I usually use it for stouts, porters, scotch ales, and English ales)

Here are some ideas I’ve been throwing around:

1) Harvest Pale Ale: Using the Amarillo (my personal favorite hop) for bittering and flavor additions and “wet-hopping” with fresh-from-the-vine goldings hops. The Goldings would be used for aroma hops and for dry-hopping. This would be a 5%-6% abv pale ale with a huge hop nose. I would shoot for 35-45 IBU.

2) Mild Ale/Bitter/”Blonde”/Golden Ale/Cream Ale: A milder, easier drinking beer that is quaffable enough to not scare my small group of inland NW friends away from the joys of homebrewing. I would still use the homegrown hops for late kettle additions and dry hopping. I would shoot for 15-20 IBU, 4.5-5.5% abv ale.

3) Winter Ale: A 2008 vintage of the winter ale I did last year . This year I would tweak the recipe and include fresh spearmint leaves late in the boil instead of (or in addition too) the juniper berries I used last year. Scottish yeast strain for 6%-7% abv and about 25 IBU.

4) Belgian Golden Ale (with apple juice): A high-gravity Belgian ale fermented with a fresh apple juice for added complexity and strength. I’d use a Belgian strain of yeast and shoot for a 7.5%-8.5% abv ale with 15-20 IBU.

I may try and re-use my yeast over the course of three batches. Start out with the mild ale, then use that yeast cake on the harvest pale, and finally finish off with a winter ale.

More on re-using yeast in a future post.


Sam Mora said...

Winter Ale.... totally.

Tim Jungman said...

I would go for the Harvest Pale, but you probably would've guessed. The winter ale sounds good as well.

How do you know what strain of hops is growing in your yard?

Mary Kusmanoff said...

My vote in order-
1)Winter Ale
2)Harvest Pale Ale
3)Belgian Golden Ale
4) Mild Ale/Bitter/”Blonde”/Golden Ale/Cream Ale