While my hops gardening was a little more successful than last year, I still didn’t really have much of a harvest. However, one of my wife’s employees was good enough to share hers, and laid about 12oz total on me. Some of that went to other projects which will make it here eventually, but a good few ounces went into today’s brew.
This beer is a variation on the low ABV IPA I’ve been doing a bunch recently. A while back I had the idea to take one of my favorite IPAs, Bear Republic Racer 5, and essentially make it a 5% beer, instead of 7%. The way I accomplish that is something I haven’t really heard of anyone else doing, I just eliminate however much base malt it takes to hit 5%. That’s it. I don’t adjust the hops, (at least not yet) and I don’t adjust the other malts. So, instead of having a weak tasting IPA, this comes out full bodied and malty, with a massive hop flavor an aroma. It’s a like a session beer, but one that tastes like something.
I varied things up a bit today, and brewed a 6g batch, and upped my typical equipment loss to 1g, to account for all those hops. I forgot to adjust my recipe ahead of time though, so I had to do a late extract addition.
Here’s the recipe
For 6g, SG 1.055
1# Crystal 60L
3# Light DME
Mash, 152 for 90min
1oz Magnum 16% @ 60min
2oz Nugget ?% @ 30min
2oz Nugget ?% @ 15min
2oz Nugget ?% @ 5min
1.5oz Nugget ?% Dry hop
Brew day was a series of minor disasters this time for some reason. First, I misread my thermometer by 10deg. Luckily it was undershot, and I was able to bring it back up to temp with a decoction. That meant the mash was more like 142 for 30min, 152 (ish) for 60min. Not too bad, but annoying. Then I ran out of propane coming up to boil, and had to walk 8 blocks to the Rite-Aid (where they didn’t know what propane was!) to pick up more. Later, I dropped a spoon in the boil and wasn’t able to get it out, and then I discovered my hose was frozen around chill-time, and had to bring it inside to thaw it out before running my chiller. Oh, and I seem to have lost one of my fermentor lids, so I ended up having to ferment in a couple used Deer Park bottles. A pretty remarkable day… and most of those remarks were expletives!
Anyway, it’s happily fermenting now, and the smells from the airlock are dank and delicious. Looking forward to getting this kegged up and on draft.
>>> Edit: This brew is now complete and kegged!
So, this is finally on draft. Took me a bit longer this time due to life craziness, but it tastes great, and the wife and I are enjoying it a lot, as is the very nice employee who supplied us with the hops! ABV came in a tad high at 5.5%, but I can live with that.
Tasting Notes: Lemon zest, marmalade, grassy resins, leading into a bananas-foster-y kind of malty sweetness. Finishing with a firm, lasting, herbal bitterness. If anything I wish this had a bit more fruitiness too it, but it’s all Nugget, so there you go. Also, I made the switch to Magnum for bittering on this round, and I think I’m going back to Warrior, it’s just a tad TOO assertive. That said, all around i’s a great beer, providing you like your palette leveled.
One note: I incorrectly listed some of the hop additions as 1.5oz when they were really about 2oz. Yes, that’s a ridiculous amount of hops for a beer so small, but They were pretty dried out, and The alpha acid is likely to be lower than factory produced hops anyway. And this is a very bitter beer. I would not recommend producing this recipe with store-bought hops, unless you didn’t want to be able to taste for a week.