Saturday 8 September 2012

Mystery Hops

I find it hard to believe that we've been brewing for almost a year now; that first canned batch was truly terrible, but many mistakes later (who could forget the floor beer?) our beer is definitely improving.  All we've learned will be tested today, as our latest batch features mystery hops!

Mystery hops prior to a stint in the dehydrator
Approximately 10 years ago my father planted a hop rhizome in his backyard with the intent of using the hops to brew beer.  He never did use them, and in the passing years forgot what type they were.  I only found out about their existence last fall, and by the time I got to them they were well past a usable state but still smelled great.  Being pretty excited about using home grown hops, I was more on the ball this year and harvested 26 oz last weekend.  Comparing the cones to pictures from the internet, our best guess is they're Northern Brewer.  After drying I was left with 9 oz, or a good amount for a batch of Mystery IPA.

They're hops Officer, I swear!
It's amazing how much weight is lost during the drying process.  The vine was is great shape, we had 10+ feet of trellising, and it was a great summer for growing pretty much anything and we only got enough for one batch.  I think if they turn out to taste good, I might try and dig up some of what should be a rather large rhizome and replant it to try and up production for next year.  That should make for a decent blog post sometime later this fall.

Anyway, the brew day is going pretty smoothly so far.  We've recently tried to combat our sub-par efficiency problems by using a 5.2 pH equalizer and a longer mash time, so hopefully that'll get us over 6% ABV.  The recipe is pretty straight forward, with only base malt and some medium crystal for colour and head retention.  This batch is going to be all about the hops, so hopefully they're not terrible.  Hopefully...

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