For the past several years, I’ve been growing hops in my backyard. The desire to grow hops came directly from my interest in homebrewing. It was an experiment that has literally, born fruit (or in this case flowers), that have aided in my homebrewing the past several years. In addition to providing me with enough hops to brew several batches, hops also make for a decorative addition to the backyard garden.
Each year, my family and I harvest our hops for use in our homebrews. The varietal that produces the most is Cascade. Cascades have a signature flavor that is present in many craft beers, pale ales in particular. The Cascades I grow at home seem to have a slightly different character than those grown in the Pacific Northwest, but of course, different geographies have different characteristics.
That said, this year’s Harvest Pale Ale has been brewed as an all-grain recipe, and when compared to my first batch, was a much more successful brew.
- 10 lbs – 2 row
- 1 lbs – Belgian Caravienne
- 2 oz – Cascade (homegrown) bittering
- 2 oz – Cascade (homegrown) flavor
- 2 oz – Cascade (homegrown) dry hop
- California Ale Yeast (WLP002)
- Heat strike water to 170° F.
- Mash in all grains with strike water.
- Allow mixture to mash for 60 minutes.
- Lauter mash with 170° F strike water, collecting 6 gallons of wort.
- Bring wort to a boil.
- Add in first hop addition and boil for 60 minutes.
- At the 40 minute mark, add wort chiller (to sanitize).
- At 55 minute mark, add in finishing hops.
- At the end of 60 minutes, turn off heat and cool wort to 65° F - 70° F.
- Once cool, rack to primary fermentation carboy and pitch yeast.
- After primary fermentation, rack to keg and dry hop for 1 week.
- Once dry hopping is finish, pull out the hops, and carbonate.
Tasting Notes (wort) — 9/16/12
Very cloudy amber/orange color, a lot of particulate matter floating about. The aroma is malty, sweet, with a light citrus and piney hop character. The flavor is toasty, light caramel, slight grain with a medium hop bitterness. Hop flavor is piney. Body is full, no carbonation.
Tasting Notes (after primary fermentation) — 9/30/12
Dark gold color, clear, no head. Toasty, slight caramel aroma. Light resiny hop aroma. Flavor is resiny, piney, with a touch of toasty and caramel. Hop bitterness is medium. Body is medium-low, very, very low carbonation, dry-ish finish.
Tasting Notes (final) — 10/9/12
Cloudy, dark gold/muddly amber color with thin, off-white head. Aroma is slightly piney, slightly citrus, pungent and floral. Malt flavor has slight caramel notes with some toasty malt flavors. Hop flavor is resiny with some citrus flavors. Hop bitterness is medium, and is lasting on the palate. Body is medium-low/medium with medium/medium-high carbonation. Finish is on the dry side.
Original Gravity: 1.050
Final Gravity: 1.010
Estimated Alcohol by Volume: 5.3% ABV
I was pretty happy with how this beer turned out. Process wise, I hit the temperatures and gravity I was supposed to. Flavor wise, this beer is the physical has all the characteristics of the hops it was made with, from flavor through aroma. It’s really an interesting experiment.