Hop Harvest Hoedown

BYOB by | Sep 2012 | Issue #68

Illustration by Ellen Crenshaw

Harvest ales—beers with just-picked hops—are as old a tradition as you can find in the craft beer world, dating all the way back to the prehistoric year of 1996. That year saw Sierra Nevada’s draft-only release Harvest Ale, the first modern fresh-hop ale. Since then, brewers have been working with growers (or growing their own) to get their fill of pungent, sticky, green hops.

Unless you’ve got a hopbine in your backyard, a fat lot of good that did you until now! This year, there was a concerted commercial effort to release fresh hops to homebrewers. Amongst the varieties offered were hot hops like Citra and Simcoe, and classics like Cascade, Amarillo and Chinook. So, how to use them?

Let’s start with how much to use. Since these hops haven’t been dried, they’re much less potent than our everyday dried flowers and pellets. A good rule of thumb is to use 4–5 times the weight per dose. Also, don’t bitter with them—you’ll destroy all the interesting stuff that’s different and expensive. Use them only as late kettle hops, and use lavishly. Aim to brew a little stronger gravity, as you will leech water from the hops and dilute your beer.

The homebrewed APA has gone the way of the dodo. It’s all IPA’s these days. Keep malt simple to showcase the hops. This recipe contains more crystal than I normally use to mask chlorophyll and other “green” vegetation flavors.

For 5.5 gallons at 1.075, 88 IBU, 10 SRM, 7.8% ABV

Malt Bill
7.0 lb. domestic 2-row malt
7.0 lb. Maris Otter
1.0 lb. Munich malt
1.0 lb. British Crystal 60L

Strike at 153°F and rest for 60 minutes.

1.5 oz Warrior (pellet) | 15% AA | 60 minutes
8 .0 oz Citra Wet Hop Flowers | 0 minutes (whirlpool)

US-05 / WLP001 / Wyeast 1056