Homebrew: Baron Silas Greenback

Submitted by DM on Sun, 21/10/2012 - 11:19

I've been meaning to plant a hop bine in the garden since I moved into my current home over a year ago, but its just not happened.   Much like my homebrewing, its not really to save money - although that's an added bonus - its to make a product that I can control the processes making it & to make something individual & unique to me.

The Ormskirk Baron however did grow some hops, but he doesn't homebrew (yet!).   When he put on Twitter that the hops harvested this year were up for grabs, I offered him some of the resulting beer in exchange for the hops.   The hops weren't dried to preserve them - making them "green hops" - were posted to me & I brewed with them the day I got them.

The name Baron Silas Greenback is referencing the green hops, The Ormskirk Baron & my namesake's initials DM.Image removed.

Mash - 1 hour 10 min in total - strike temperature 70°C falling to 66°C & held steady until the end.

1.66 Kg pale malt

100g crystal malt

Boil - 1 hour 30 mins.

Cascade green hops (estimated 6% alpha acid): 125g intitially, 100g after 1h 15 min.   This may seem like a lot of hops, but the equivalent dry weight of them is around 8/10ths of the wet weight.

Final volume 5 litres.   It is very tricky to estimate the alcohol content & bitterness units as the liquid volume wasn't enough to float a hydrometer in & the hops were of an unknown alpha-acid level & moisture content.   I have aimed for a high strength beer, with high hop levels like an American IPA which is in keeping with the style of hops & ensuring that the few hops used were savoured.

Fermented for 10 days with yeast taken from my Singularity Stout which is 2 generation old White Labs English Ale WPL002.

Bottled on 21/10/12.

Verdict after 2 weeks in a bottle: this beer cleared fast & is a deep copper colour.   There's no outstanding hop aroma, but a reasonable grapefruity-resinous hop taste with a solid bitterness.   There is some alcohol warming too, as expected from this strong beer.

Verdict after 4 weeks in a bottle: More prominent alcohol warmth now.   A herbal bitterness & some hoppiness.   Well worth trying out, but I'll remember to add more later hops next time.

Seems like an inappropriate turn of phrase, but are you considering dry-hopping this bad-boy with the same (green) hops?

(Or maybe just a few cones in 2 or three of the bottles for a crude trial?  You could always bung them muslin first if you don't want bits in your beer (and who does?))

I for one would be interested in knowing how that turned out.

Kanpai!

No. The green hops would have gone off in the week and a bit the beer was fermenting. Green hops have a good chance of infecting the beer I imagine too, so they all got a boil.
Hopefully The Ormskirk Baron will be impressed enough to share next years larger harvest too.

I see you comment on needing more hops next time.  I think you may have done your calculation wrong or something. The references I can find say wet (green) hops are 80% water, so that makes 100g green hops = 20g dried hops.

I tried using green hops once and seem to remember using about 3½ times as much by weight compared to dried hops. (I got scared adding 5 times and reduced it). At this point the hops gave some flavour, but not nearly enough; the 5-times-factor probably wasn't a million miles away.

I say be brave next time! It's a load of hops to use, and I'd be more concerned about the volume of them in the boiler than the bitterness. Half a kilo of green hops is a bollock-load.

What was more interesting though was that the flavour was noticably different. There was a definite vegetative "green-ness" to it. Grassy almost. Definitely not unpleasant though. Curious. I'd liked to have explored it further. Good luck next year.