For the past few years, I’ve had a harvest of wild hops from a hedgerow out the road, and invariably I would pick them and dry them out. This year though, with hops growing only yards from the brew pot, it was time to give a ‘wet hop’ beer a go. I decided to do a traditional(ish) IPA, and use only the First Gold hops from the garden. Hopping started off with adding hops directly from the bine to the first runnings of the mash – first wort hops as fresh as they could possibly be!
Hopping then continued through the boil: bittering, flavour and aroma additions in the boil. As they didn’t come in a packet telling me what the AA%, there was a bit of guesswork/estimation involved in predicting the bitterness of the beer. This need for estimation was further increased by the (lack of) measurement; hops were added in ‘handfulls’ rather than weighing how many grammes were used. First Gold have a range of 6.5 – 8.5% AA, so an estimate of 7.5% was plugged into Beersmith, along with weight estimates for the different additions. The expected bitterness calculated by the software was was 79IBUs – a bit on the bitter side and certainly more bitter than my usual brews – but should appease the hopheads of the SouthEastHomebrewers! Hops were also added post primary fermentation; again a couple of handfulls added straight from the bine for dry hopping (or should that be wet hopping..?)
Did I mention there were other ingredients in this beer other than hops? The malt bill was simple, but added the non-traditional angle – 99% Vienna and 1% Carfa II. This created a lovely amber colour, and the Nottingham yeast fermented at 17C gave a nice bright, clear beer.
And so on to the next brew, this time using the (dried) wild hop harvest. Something dark and hoppy perhaps…..