Being a back garden hop grower I have the option of making straight-off-the-bine beers. Having never done so before, always drying and storing harvested hops, I decided to give it a go. One of the big problems with homegrown hops is not knowing the alpha acid content, and now I was going to be adding another variable into the mix in the form of wet hops. Just how much should I use that won’t end up with neither a super sweet nor super bitter beer?
The Fuggles usually come in earlier than Target, and sure enough they were ripe enough to pick but the Target still needed some bine time. I really wanted to make this beer 100% green hopped, but I’d have to use so much Fuggles to get it bittered I was worried about getting too much green grassy flavours in there, and I couldn’t wait for the Target to ripen without drying the Fuggles. I decided to cheat a little, and bitter then beer with a neutral, high alpha hop and do all late additions with the green Fuggles.
|Right: Fuggles. Left: Target. Centre: Cascade|
All in all I ended up with about 1.2kg of Fuggles. The challenge now was to set up the recipe in Beersmith and try to get as accurate a bitterness level as possible to suit the beer. I had read up that you need to use about 5-6 times the amount of green hop than you would with normal dried hops. I estimated the Fuggles at 4% AA, so I divided that by 6 and added them as a new hop in Beersmith with an alpha of 0.66%. Then it was just a case of scaling it to wherever I wanted the bitterness to be.
I also had some random grains that I wanted to use up, so the grist is a little odd.
Batch size: 20L
1.9kg Golden Promise
1.6kg Lager Malt
180g Torrified Wheat
15g Warrior 17.8%AA @ 60 mins
50g Fuggles 0.66%AA @ 20 mins
50g Fuggles 0.66%AA @ 10 mins
100g Fuggles 0.66%AA @ Whirlpool 10 mins
Mash @ 67C for 60 mins
Fermentis US-05 dry yeast – I really wanted an English yeast, but I didn’t have any, so
|The hop additions|
This beer turned out pretty good. You could tell the hops were different, they had a much fresher, grassier aroma, but were very clearly Fuggles character. It definitely worked in a pale ale, and made quite a refreshing beer. I entered this into a national competition, but it had been a couple of months in the bottle by then and it wasn’t well received. I should have held some back to try at the same time, but it had all gone by then. I will be making another on at the end of this year, hopefully I’ll get some Cascade and/or Target in there as well.