Ramble On

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Brewing with @hawksbillhops

Since the hops harvest last August, I have worked on various experiments combining some of the hops varieties in a black IPA recipe I put together.  As an ode to “The Big Lebowski” I’ve tried naming the output on variations of “a black steer’s tuckus on a moonless night” – because the beer is quite dark. 

Some in the craft beer writing crowd actually call these beers over-hopped porters, which may be fair.  The current recipe I’m working with offers hints of toasted malt while leaving a reminder that it was brewed by a hops farmer – I’ve used 6 to 8 ounces of hops in each five-gallon batch so far.  The hops bill features either CTZ or Chinook bittering hops and Cascade for aroma; in addition, I dry-hopped the first two batches with either Cascades or some commercial Chinook pellets.

The batch in the photo here is still in primary as I’m posting this, but will be moved into secondary over the next few days.  It was done with the CTZ hops as bittering.  I don’t plan to dry hop this one.
On the ABV front, the two finished batches have gone at 7.2% (CTZ) and 6.8% (Chinook), I expect this batch to come in somewhere near those numbers as well.  The IBU calculations were around 60 for the CTZ batch and 45 for the Chinook, this most recent one will be closer to the original CTZ batch.

This kind of experimentation is a new stage of my homebrew experience.  I’ve had solid results with Porters, and the honey lavender kolsch was well received.  I could probably stand to try some lagering experiments and it goes without saying I should be looking into all-grain brewing, but I am not ready to make the time commitment for mastering those processes, especially while I am doing all of this in Mary’s kitchen!

To sum up the batches I’ve brewed to date with the Hawksbill Hops harvest, there are:
  • Batch 1: CTZ and Cascade, with a Cascade dry hop, delivering 7.2% and 60 IBU;
  • Batch 2: Chinook and Cascade, with a commercial Chinook pellet dry hop, delivering 6.8% and 45 IBU; and
  • Batch 3: Same recipe as batch 1 but no dry hop, and I substituted Maris Otter extract for part of the standard I'd used before; ABV/IBUs TBD .

There will be a batch four, it will be all Chinook, but I won’t brew that one until January.  I have in mind to make another go of a whisky barrel porter in the meantime; it will be bottled by the holidays but not ready for drinking until February 1.  My goal on that one would be to offer a near-stout experience that can be enjoyed in front of the fireplace. 

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