Fresh hop American Amarillo Wheat review

From reading the brew day post, the second attempt at a hoppy american wheat took a few unexpected turns. I struggled to get the wort out of the kettle after boil, this being my first time brewing with whole hops, and fresh hops. The recipe itself is super simple, dme and hops, and a big dry hop dose. Ultimately I’m trying to replicate three floyds gumball head I was aiming for a light bodied, very aromatic, hop flavored beer. I ended up with a very light bodied, astringent, chlorophyl flavored beer, with tons of dry hop aroma. IMG_1994
The beer is very clear with a small head, it’s slightly over carbonated right now, but at 11psi it was pouring great. I dry hopped this beer with Citra and Cascade in the keg this has certainly improved the beer with time. The hop aroma is about where I want it, though, I wish it was more tropical. I worried about extend exposure to the hops, but it hasn’t caused any problems. I used a hop bag, and floss to hang the bag from the gas in post.
This was a beer I rushed to dry hop and carbonate to bottle for a competition, and I’ve got a post coming up on entering competitions. When it was bottled young, it tasted very astringent, and grassy. While it did age ok, it’s still very astringent and not where I want it. IMG_1996
At least the color is where I want it.
So for next attempt at 2AM maiden, I’m going to do the following.
This is going to be all grain, brewed with 55% american wheat, 37% pale, 8% Crystal light. Moving away from single hopping this beer, I’m planning on hop bursting, with amarillo and cascade, and dry hop with citra and centennial. Goal to increase the fruitiness, and hop flavor, and lose some of the bitterness.

Update: The remainder of the Keg was dumped. It just wasn’t going to get consumed. It was astringent, and getting worse, not better.

American Amarillo Wheat take 2

I finally got a chance to put the fresh Amarillo hops to use. When I picked up the hops at A&G homebrew I also picked up some DME. I had everything else on hand for a batch, except yeast, a slight oversight on my part. Thankfully one of my fellow home brewers from Brew free or Die was willing to share half a yeast cake of Wyeast 1968 London ale. This is the same strain of yeast I used for my first home brew.
I made a starter from the pitch, not so much for yeast growth, but to wake up the yeast. Since it had been dormant for a little while. My goal with this beer is to improve upon my hoppy amarillo wheat recipe, to be closer 3floyds famous Gumball head. The recipe is similar to the original 2am Maiden, but targeting less bitterness, with more flavor and aroma. Recipe changes include swapping out liquid malt extract in favor of dry malt extract. I also did a full volume boil, but the most significant change is the hop schedule. I started with nugget and warrior hops for bittering, but replaced all the other original hop additions (45,30,15,0) with a single addition of 1 pound of fresh amarillo hops at 15m. Other process changes included skimming the boil, which I was inspired by the mad fermentationist to do. I figure I do it with soups when cooking why not with beer?

The brew day went ok, but as usual I’m having a few process miscues. I have sorted out my boil volume issues, I overshot boil volume a little, but that’s ok for this beer. Hop & trube issues are still a problem. I installed the dip tube, but did not get any filter to prevent the whole hops from blocking the tube. I tried fruitlessly to clear the tube, but I eventually had to pour the wort into the fermentor.
It has been in the swamp heater since sunday afternoon, and was happily blowing off Monday evening. While I’d ideally ferment at a lower temperature, like 65, I’ve been starting beers at 67, and using additional thermal mass to slow temp rise, but also using a fish tank heater to keep the temp from falling once peak fermentation has slowed and temps start to fall. The beer is now sitting at 70, and is slowly bubbling away, It’s nearly ready for dry hopping. I’m not quite sure what I’m going to dry hop with. After the hop floaties I had with the Alpha King Clone, I’m leaning toward whole hops. For the ultimate recipe I’d really like to stick with amarillo, because I’m a huge fan of it’s flavor profile. However the whole leaf hops I have on hand are, Citra, Cascade and magnum. I will definitely use Cascade, choosing between Citra whole leaf and amarillo pellets. I like citra but not as much as I love amarillo. I’ll update when I put it on tap and post a tasting review.

First Brew

2am Maiden Amarillo American Wheat
These are the notes from my first batch of beer. For my first beer I brewed a true brew American wheat kit.
I’ve wanted to homebrew beer for a long time. I’ve even owned most of the equipment for a few years. What’s been keeping me from getting it done? I suffer from perfection paralysis, I’m not a perfectionist, but with some projects, I can’t seem to get off the ground until things are just right. 
I finally had enough inertia to make the leap this past Monday, and all it took was getting a copy of the complete Joy of Home brewing. It’s funny that after reading the first few chapters of the book, I had enough confidence to get going. It’s rare the that a intro book is this good, if you want to try home brewing, this book will get you started no question. 

The beer I’m brewing is based on the True Brew american wheat extract kit, but I didn’t brew it exactly as it was in the box. I changed the boil time, the hop variety, quantity, and addition times. Those are the changes I intended. I have also made some changes that I did not intend, aka mess ups. I had a boil over, a few unintentional flame outs, I didn’t read the instructions on my yeast, and I had a cooling problem. All of these were just inconveniences and shouldn’t significant’y impact the beer. Or as they say, opportunities to learn. The good news, is that when I checked the airlock the next morning, it was bubbling away. I’d made beer! There are a few more steps to complete, days of fermentation, dry hopping, bottling and bottle conditioning before it’s ready for drinking, but I have made my first batch of beer. 
So what’s next? I’m going to follow the standard home brewing progression. I started with an extract kit, I plan to move on to extract and specialty grain brewing, and eventually making own recipes once I can follow a recipe well. Some day (when I’ve got a lot of free time) I’d like to try all grain brewing. I plan on brewing another batch as soon as I bottle this one, because I know my time afterwards will be limited. If anyone has recipe recommendations, or suggestions on an appropriate style of beer for me to brew I’d gladly take them into consideration. This first batch is going to be a light and hoppy american wheat beer. I’m thinking this next batch should be something appropriate for spring, bonus points for utilizing season appropriate ingredients.
This leaves one question for you. What’s been lingering on your list for a while that will be crossed off next? What will it take to get you to pull the trigger?