This beer is named Darkest Days as it is brewed in the period just after the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere. I was given some Nelson Sauvin hops by fellow contributer Al, who was a little disappointed with a New World Pale Ale called Seaham Sauvin he brewed with them. I love beers brewed with this hop usually (such as Thornbridge Kipling), but didn't want to have a modest beer so boosted the citrus & tropical fruit hop profile with Amarillo & a little Cascade, Citra & Chinook.
Mash: 1 hour 15 min. The temperature was 67ºC for most of the time, but started at 63ºC for the first ten minutes & ended the last ten minutes at 69ºC due to not paying close attention to the thermometer.
4.00 Kg Maris Otter Pale Malt
200g Crystal malt
Boil: 1 hour 15 mins.
15g of Chinook hops (13.8% alpha acid), 15g of Citra hops (14.0% alpha acid) & 15g Cascade hops (7.7% alpha acid) at 30 mins.
15g of Chinook hops (13.8% alpha acid), 15g of Citra hops (14.0% alpha acid), 15g Cascade hops (7.7% alpha acid) & 50g Nelson Sauvin (12.3%) at 60 mins.
8g Irish Moss at 60 mins.
50g of Nelson Sauvin hops (12.3% alpha acid) & 50g Amarillo hops (10.9% alpha acid) at 70 mins.
50g Amarillo hops (10.9% alpha acid) & 50g dried elderflowers dry hopped.
This yielded 20 litres of wort. The handy calculator gives me a bitterness of about 156 IBUs although most of the hops are added late in the boil or dry hopped meaning this should be way hoppier than this bitterness level suggests. The alcohol level should be around 4.1%.
US-05 yeast was taken from a bottle of Swan Song & a starter was made with a little sugar added.
Bottled on 4th January 2014.
Verdict after 1 week - not as hoppy as I thought it would be - which seems strange given the weight of hops. A little unwanted phenolic TCP taste is present too. Still a plenty drinkable beer though. Time will hopefully dissipate this off-flavour.