Hoppy New Year!

{Originally posted on January 6 – somehow erased/removed from the website! Technical difficulties or gremlins? You decide…}

A year ago, I began writing this blog to share my brewing experiences, advice, recipes, etc. Among other things, the blog has led to the formation of a loose-knit group of local brewers who swap beers, recipes, advice, and that group has even begun to compete against each other, arranging informal tasting and judging events. In the fall we held our Black IPA Challenge, and in March we will gather again to compare American IPA’s. I know of at least eight brewers who have brewed or are about to brew their entry, basing their efforts on clone recipes of IPA’s by the Pike Brewing Co., the Oregon Brewing Co, Rogue, Stone…

I decided to take a different tack. After a little research, I finally came to understand what one brewery meant by “continuously hopped”. It seems that the brewers at Dogfish Head actually do add hops, a little at a time, at short intervals, throughout the entire boil. They make three (at this point) different IPA’s, of differing strengths and bitterness, each identified by how long they boil it and how long they continue to add hops. You may be familiar with their 60 Minute, 90 Minute and perhaps even the 120 Minute version.

I hope they have an automatic, programmed hop-feeder, because even the 60 Minute version which I did was labor-intensive.

This brew is smooth, hoppy, fragrant, complex… all the things a good IPA should be. Lighter in color than many, barely a deep gold, bold at about 6% abv, pleasantly bitter without being overwhelming… I didn’t bother to calculate my IBU’s because there were literally more than 45 different hop additions (Dogfish claims 60 IBU’s, thus reinforcing the 60 Minute name)…

For authenticity, I used only North American malted barley (from MaltEurop, in western Canada) and US-grown hops (indeed, the whole hops were all home-grown!).

Fishhead 60, American IPA
5.5 gallons, all-grain

Ingredients:

  • 9 lbs. MaltEurop 2-row pale malt
  • 1 lb. toasted MaltEurop 2-row pale malt
  • 1 lb. 30°L crystal malt
  • 1 oz. Pallisades hop pellets (8.3% aa)
  • 1 oz. Amarillo hop pellets (9.1% aa)
  • 1 oz. Simcoe hop pellets (12.2% aa)
  • 1/2 oz. home-grown whole Nugget hops
  • 1/2 oz. home-grown whole Cascade hops
  • 1/2 oz. home-grown whole Willamette hops
  • White Labs East Coast Ale yeast (WLP008)
  • 3/4 cup corn sugar (for priming)

Procedure:
Toast 1 lb. pale malt (375°F for ten minutes on a cookie sheet). Grind pale, toasted and crystal malts. Heat 13 quarts water to 164°F. Mash in grains, hold at 152°F for 60 minutes. Heat another 15 quarts water to 170°F, runoff and sparge. Collect 25 quarts of sweet wort. Bring to boil, begin adding hops over the whole 60 minute boil: start with the Pallisades, adding a few pellets at a time over the course of the first 30 minutes. Start adding the Amarillo as well at the 15 minute mark and continue to the end of the boil. Add the Simcoe over the last 20 minutes. Chill wort to 80°F, take a hydrometer reading, pour into a sanitized primary fermenter. Add the whole hops (in a mesh bag), pitch yeast, seal and ferment 10 days at 60 – 65°F. Rack to secondary, removing dry hops, and age ten days to two weeks at 45 – 50°F. Prime with corn sugar, bottle and age three weeks at 40 – 45°F.

OG: 1058

Note on hops: Dogfish uses Warrior, Amarillo, and Mystery Hop X – Simcoe is a guess, Pallisades replaced Warrior which was unavailable to me. I will be adding a few pellets of whatever aroma hop I have on hand to the bottling sugar mix, to add one more dose of fresh hop aroma. I opted to dry hop this beer in the primary rather than the secondary, purely out of convenience. If you can get the hops in and out of your secondary fermenter, feel free to dry hop then instead.

Anchors Aweigh…

All homebrewers and modern craft brewers owe a nod of respect and a thank you to Fritz Maytag. The heir to the appliance company fortune, Fritz rescued his favorite brewery, Anchor, from extinction in the 1960’s, and made it into one of the most innovative and respected small breweries in North America. Best known for Anchor Steam, the brewery also produces a surprising array of other beers, including a terrific porter, an American wheat beer, the classic Old Foghorn Barleywine, and my personal favorite, Liberty Ale. Liberty is a robust British-style pale ale, bittered with American hops (Cascades primarily) and dry-hopped in the secondary. I brew it with Northern Brewer hops as well, and ferment it with the same San Francisco lager yeast that I would use for Anchor Steam. Rich and hoppy, this is a great session beer for the moderate hop-head.

Ingredients:

  • 9 lbs. Maris Otter pale malt
  • 8 oz. toasted pale malt
  • 8 oz. 20°L crystal malt
  • 2-1/2 oz. home grown Cascade whole hops
  • 5.3 AAU’s Northern Brewer hop pellets (1/2 oz.@10.6% aa)
  • White Labs San Francisco Lager yeast (WLP810)
  • 3/4 cup corn sugar (for priming)
  • 2-3 whole Cascade flowers

Procedure:
Toast the pale malt (350°F for 15 minutes). Grind the grains. Heat 14 quarts water to 165°F, add crushed grains and hold 75 minutes at 153°F. Runoff and sparge with 14 quarts water at 170°F. Collect 24 quarts sweet wort, heat to boiling. Add 2 oz. Cascade hops, boil 45 minutes. Add Northern Brewer pellets, boil 30 more minutes (75 total), shut off heat. Remove Cascade hops, chill wort to 80°F. Take a hydrometer reading, pour vigorously into a sanitized primary fermenter, add 1/2 oz. Cascade hops (in a mesh bag), pitch yeast. Ferment in primary for 7 – 10 days at 55 – 60°F, transfer to secondary (remove dry hops), age 10 – 14 days more at 45 – 50°F. Prime with corn sugar and bottle. Bottle condition cool for two weeks or so.

OG: 1057
IBU’s: 60 (+/-)

Notes: I used my own home-grown Cascade hops to brew this beer, and thus am only able to guess at the IBU’s – recent commercial Cascade crops have ranged anywhere from 3.5%  to 7.2% aa – I chose to split the difference and calculated based on a value of 5.3%. I dry hop in the primary rather than the secondary, and steep a couple Cascade flowers in my priming sugar syrup to bring out the fresh hop aroma at bottling.

Home brewing is not an exact science, no matter what some may tell you. When I plan a brew, I always have a target gravity in mind, based on what I know about my ingredients and my system. I am usually within 3 or 4 points of my intended OG, but rarely right on the nose. Well, today I nailed it. 1057 exactly, right where I wanted to be, right at what Michael Jackson gives as the official Anchor Liberty OG. I’m so proud…