Recently, I realized something quite strange about me, how much I love getting bored with brewing. If you’re like me, getting bored just means you need to take a step back and look for something new that will help you reboot.
A couple weeks ago, I was daydreaming during work about trying new hops. Pretty normal, right? Just me? Well, ok then. I’ll proceed as if I haven’t said anything odd.
Well I got a hankering, and decided to check out one of my favorite suppliers, Yakima Valley Hops (YVH), where I discovered they were running a wonderful raffle. Buy an 8 oz. bundle of four new strains of hops and they might give you a trip to the Fresh Hop festival. I can only imagine it’s something like this:
Woohoo! However, when you don’t read the description carefully like me, you think that you’re getting 2oz of four different hops, amounting to a half pound total.
I had tried Sierra Nevada’s Idaho 7 Single-Hop Experiment and absolutely loved it, and I wanted to explore it in depth. Thankfully, the variety pack came with 2oz of this lovely hop, so I ordered another 8oz, to make a beer showcasing this hop. When the package came, instead of 10oz of Idaho 7/007 (the “Golden Hop”), I discovered that I had a full pound.
Well… I figured what could be better than a lot of hops to really showcase and explore something new?
Recipe: The Man With the Golden Hop
|2-Row (US)||10.25 lb||1 SRM|
|Munich (DE)||3.5 lb||9 SRM|
|Flaked Oats||0.5 lb||2 SRM|
|ESB Malt (CA)||0.25 lb||3 SRM|
|Midnight Wheat Malt (US)||0.125 lb||550 SRM|
|Comet (US)||1.5 oz||9.5||Boil||60.0 min|
|007||2.0 oz||14||Boil||7.0 min|
|007||4.0 oz||14||Boil||1.0 min|
|007||4.0 oz||14||Dry Hop||3 days|
|EXP Grapefruit||1.0 oz||16.5||Dry Hop||7 days|
|007||6.0 oz||14||Dry Hop||7 days|
|Wyeast British Ale II/WLP 007||1.5L||75%|
|Measured FG (pre Dry-hop)||1.018|
Bittering: Comet – 10.5% AA
Description from YVH:
“Selected in 1961 and released in 1974 by the USDA, Comet was originally utilized for its high alpha acid content and adaptability to growing conditions in the Yakima Valley. Commercial production ceased in the early 1980s in favor of newer super-alpha hops. However, Comet has made a recent comeback, finding favor with some brewers in dual purpose applications for its subtle and unique, “wild American” aroma.”
From YVH: “Wild notes, citrus fruit, and lemon grass”
Personal Notes: Super bright, pungent, piney with strong apricot and mint. Not expecting much flavor/aroma to carry through to the final beer. Mainly bittering component.
Aroma & Flavor: 007 – 15% AA
Description from BSG:
“Primarily aroma and dry hopping due to its potent aroma and flavor, but high enough alpha acids to contribute good bitterness. Excellent as a single hop or part of a blend for IPA, pale ale, and hop-forward American wheat beers.”
The aroma is pungent tropical fruit and citrus (think apricot, orange, red grapefruit, papaya) with big notes of resiny pine and hints of black tea.
Description from YVH:
“The aroma is complex with fruity aromas of orange and apricot mesh with hints of black tea-like character and a pleasant fresh herbal bouquet”
Personal Notes: One of the brightest smelling hops out of the bag. Super Amarillo is how I’d describe it. Citrus all the way through with a whiff of the tropics. Guava maybe? Pineapple, a little tartness on the nose.
You can see my ghetto set up in Jeef’s Corner #1 if you’d like.
I mashed in with 5.5 gallons of 164F water to get a mash of 154F. I realize this sounds a little on the hot side, but I was hoping for a light sweetness to back up the stone fruit character of the 007. It’s my understanding that this is the recommended mash range for Mike McDole’s “Janet’s Brown”, and I know Mike Tonsemire does the same for his India Brown, so I thought there was sufficient evidence to try it.
The water was treated with one campden tablet to neutralize the chlorine which is quite pungent in the Pullman water. Fingers crossed.
After a 60 minute rest, I drew a sample and chilled it to room temp.
First Runnings SG – 1.082
Pre-boil SG – 1.058.
One thing I noted was that it was a touch darker than anticipated. In reality it wasn’t necessarily too dark. It was a pretty copper/garnet color and on par with the delicious IPA from Counterbalance Brewing that I was drinking. It was just darker than I envisioned. These things happen. My supplier’s Munich malt may have been 30L instead of 20L. I may have added a touch more midnight wheat than the scale at my LHBS showed. I didn’t sweat it too much.
To quote our group text during this brew, “That looks like a seriously irresponsible amount of hops.” Why yes, yes it does, thank you for noticing.
The wort was brought to a boil and the hops were added per the prescribed schedule.
For this brew I decided to do a small hop stand, the wort was cooled to 190F using an immersion chiller, held for 15 minutes before being further chilled to 65F.
O.G. was measured at 1.070 – A little under the targeted 1.073, but I can’t help but be happy with it being that close. The wort was transferred to a PET carboy and placed in my new handy-dandy ferm chamber.
Brewday + 4 – S.G. read 1.018 (6.7%), about 75% apparent attenuation. At this point 4 oz of 007 was added for the first dry hop charge.
Brewday +7 – 6oz of 007 and 1 oz Exp Grapefruit were added. While I appreciate single hop beers, I just don’t think they work as well as hop blends. I like to think of this as a hint of vanilla to accentuate the 007 (chocolate, my wife was making brownies).
After 14 days the beer was stable and then crash cooled and fined with gelatin.
Hot damn. I made a New England-style India Brown Ale, and I didn’t even mean to. I should also note that this is post gelatin!
I was fortunate enough to have a local homebrew meeting before I blew the keg (an unfortunate, if common problem in the Jeef household), so I took a growler and twisted some arms to get some unbiased opinions.
Of the ten tasters, there were a lot of comments about the flavor being “singular”, which I kind of expected given the major doses of 007. “Not as aromatic as I’d expect,” was another comment thrown out there, and I had to agree– one week after tapping, the aroma had declined noticeably. “Moderate ‘odd tropical’ flavor” and “a lot of ruby grapefruit” were the other notable evaluations. To be a little bit more scientific, I also asked for perceived intensity ratings on a scale of 1-10 and mapped them in this handy chart.
My personal thoughts were that this was a unique, tasty and interesting hop.
Aroma: This beer and hop combination had a robust nose initially. Not “dank”, in a stanky, green onion, sort of way, but more of stone fruits which explode on the nose. As noted in the above chart stone fruits (like cherry and apricot) shine through, with a thoroughly pleasant citrusy sharpness.
Flavor: There was definitely a sweetness to this beer, which, from what I measured, is possibly coming from that rare, mythical-even, “Hop Sweetness.” I haven’t been able to find much in the academic-sense on hop sweetness, but from what I’ve been able to infer, aggressive dry hopping, especially with newer “juicy” varietals like El Dorado and Mosaic, leave behind a large amount of sweet glycoproteins (the same stuff used to make Stevia, shudder). This beer, however? I love it. The IBUs come through with a tail end bite. It definitely punches through with a sweet, tropical, cherry flavor and aroma.
Overall: This is a really great hop, and I really enjoyed experimenting with it. However, I don’t think I’ll be incorporating it into my IPA game with any regularity. The sweetness and stone fruit perception from this hop would work well in a cream ale or something else in the lawn-mower family in my opinion. Perhaps along side some other underused favorites like Palisade and Sorachi Ace to round out a nice session ale, and well, that sounds like a fun beer to me! While the results of this hop were not as great as I initially hoped, it certainly satisfied my boredom and renewed my passion into exploring new hops. I would recommend people try this hop as an addition to your favorite session beer, it could certainly lend a unique refreshing character.
Cheers and as always feel free to reach out with any ideas for experimental ingredients to be showcased on Jeef’s Corner. Our email address is now on the author’s page.