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Style of the Week: Fresh Hop Beer!

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August 25, 2014 by fhsteinbart


Wet hopping

Adding the fresh hops later in the boil will hold down the grassy, vegetative flavors and aromas, and allow the natural oils and resins to permeate the beer.

Fresh hop beers are a peculiar type of beer that goes back hundreds, if not thousands of years. During the harvest in the hop fields, brewer’s who were impatient to start up brewing again after the long hot days of summer used fresh hops to whet the palate of thirsty drinkers around the world. Near just about every hop growing region are clusters of breweries, to whom getting fresh hops meant the beginning of the harvest season, and all the traditions that went along with that. Today, we do it more for the incredible flavor and aroma that’s been preserved in the beer from the use of fresh hops. However, there is a downside to using fresh hops, just picked from the fields. These hops must be used within 24 hours, or else they will spoil, and the other side of the story is that if you boil fresh hops too long then you can get a grassy, vegetative flavor from the chlorophyll, and other compounds found in the fresh hop cone. The best beers to make with fresh hop beers are those of light flavor and body, so that the more delicate aromas and flavors of the hops can shine through. I prefer the American Wheat beer style for my fresh hop beers, as there are structured to be mildly flavored and hopped, and so tend to be an easy beer to wet hop. Below is a recipe of mine that was formulated just for fresh hopping:

Extract version:

OG: 1.054 TG: 1.010

6 lbs. Wheat DME

1 oz. Willamette hops for 60~90 minutes

1 lb. fresh hops for 15 minutes

1 lb. fresh hops at 0 minutes (knockout)

1 Whirlfloc Tablet or ½ tsp. Irish Moss

¾ gm. Calcium Chloride per gallon (~3.75 gms. or 1 level tsp.)

Wyeast 1010, WLP320, T-56

Procedure:

  • Heat 2-5 gallons of water to 165°F.
  • Turn off heat and add malt extract, stirring until fully dissolved.
  • Return to Heat, bring to boil for 5 min. then add 1 oz. bittering hops.
  • At 15 minutes add Whirlfloc tablet or Irish moss and the 1 lb. of fresh hops.
  • At knockout (0 minutes) add remaining 1 lb. fresh hops
  • Turn off heat and cool mixture by placing kettle in an ice bath or using a wort chiller.
  • Add mixture to fermenter, removing hops, and bring total volume to 5 gallons using non-distilled bottled water or filtered tap water.
  • Aerate unfermented wort (shaking works well).
  • Pitch yeast and ferment at 65°F to 68°F. for up to two weeks, allowing to age an additional two weeks before packaging up as usual.

All Grain version:

OG: 1.054 FG: 1.010

4½ lbs. Pilsner Malt, or 2-Row Pale Malt

4½ lb. Red Wheat Malt

1 oz. Willamette Hops (bittering 60~90 minutes)

1 lb. fresh hops for 15 minutes

1 lb. fresh hops at 0 minutes (knockout)

¾ gm. Calcium Chloride per gallon (~3.75 gms. or 1 level tsp.) in both mash and kettle

1 Whirlfloc Tablet or ½ tsp. Irish Moss

Wyeast 1010, WLP320, T-56

Procedure:

  • Infusion mash at 149°F for 90 min.
  • Sparge until 6~6½ gal wort has been obtained.
  • Boil for 1 to 1½ hours.
  • Adding bittering hops after 15 minutes boiling and continue to boil for 75 more minutes.
  • Add fresh flavor hops at 15 minutes remaining.
  • Add Whirlfloc or Irish Moss at last 10~15 minutes.
  • Add fresh aroma hops at knockout.
  • Gravity may vary depending on system efficiency, so adjust accordingly.

Package up as usual; bottled versions should use 150 gms. corn sugar (approx. 1 cup), or kegged to 25 psig, and allow two weeks to come into condition. Serve at 45~50°F in a tulip 16 oz. pint, share and enjoy!

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