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.

Fresh hop delima

I got the call that my hops were in September 5th. It’s now the 15th and I haven’t used them. They are still languishing in my fridge. This is a post about my dilemma with fresh hops. When I ordered them I was extremely excited to have ordered them. Now that they are over 10 days old in my possession, I’m a little less ecstatic.
In hindsight I don’t think I’d do this again, not this way it’s just not worth it. This isn’t a slam on the grower, the home-brew shop A&G homebrew, or wet hops in general, just that my particular scenario doesn’t seem to make any logical sense to use them. I need to invest in more shelf stable ready to use ingredients not extremely perishable ones.
I had to place my order them well in advance, July for a mid september arrival. I have a hard time predicting if I’ll have time to mow the lawn, let alone brew on short notice. One must understand agricultural product not grown locally subject to the whims of nature, and long distance shipping. I also ordered them from a shop far from home, requiring an hour and a half drive to get them, further complicating the logistics of brewing with them. Due to their freight, perishable nature, and the cost of retrieving them, they are expensive. $19 for 1LB of fresh Amarillo hops. When all said and done, they’ll have the alpha acid of 1/4-1/8th that, making it more than $6 an oz. Finally I don’t have any info on AA. Making it impossible to know what I’ll get from them. When I do get them into some wort, it’s likely going to be a mystery what I’ll get, and next to impossible to reproduce.
With all that said, I still need to get this hops into some wort. My next batch will be based on my first batch, a hoppy Amarillo American wheat, I originally called 2 AM Maiden.
The plan is to make it using the fresh hops as a flavor/ aroma addition at 5m. I am trying to reduce some of the bitterness, and add more hop flavor, the hop schedule I used for the original batch, had additions at 60, 45, 30, 15, and dry. The new hop schedule, which Beersmith calculates at 30 IBU, has 60m, 5m and dry hop additions. It’s an extremely basic extract recipe. Just what I’ve got time to make on such short notice. More later, but I’m off to start my starter.