Homebrew: Swan Song

Submitted by DM on Sun, 15/09/2013 - 20:26

I finally got round to growing my own hops this summer & of course I chose a none English varietal: Cascade.   I harvested some last weekend, but they didn't dry well & started to rot.   So this weekend I picked the rest & brewed with them straight away.

Mash: 1 hour 10 mins.   63ºC for the first 30 mins & 67ºC for another 40 mins to try & achieve a dry beer.

5.5 Kg Maris Otter Pale malt

150g Crystal malt

Boil: 1 hour 20 mins.

50g green Cascade hops at the start of boil.

50g green Cascade hops after 10 mins.

50g green Cascade hops after 20 mins.

50g green Cascade hops after 30 mins.

50g green Cascade hops after 40 mins.

100g green Cascade hops after 50 mins.

100g green Cascade hops after 60 mins.

200g green Cascade hops after 70 mins.

150g green Cascade hops added to the hopback after 80 mins.

50g of green Cascade hops were used to dry hop the cool wort.

This gave 18 litres of wort with an original gravity of 1.054. The handy calculator gives me a bitterness of 52 IBUs - fresh, green hops are considerably heavier than dried hops & give around 1/6th of the bitterness. The alcohol level should be around 5.8%.

A starter was made using US-04 taken from my last brew Afront - 2nd generation.

Bottled on 29/09/13.

Verdict on bottling: A golden, hoppy APA with a little green vegetable character, but not like DMS.   Within hours it had carbonated my PET bottles up & the pressure was released, revealing a very fine-bubbled tight head.   This has the potential to be superb.

Verdict 4 weeks after bottling: Almost completely clear within a week of bottling.   It has some diacetyl butterscotch flavour that will hopefully mature out, but otherwise a citrussy, hoppy pale ale.

Verdict 11 weeks after bottling: Drying up nicely & the diacetyl has gone leaving a little green vegetal taste - although not strictly DMS.   A hoppy citrus pale ale, but not a hop bomb by any means.   That'll do.

Verdict after 3 months: This beer has taken on a butterscotch diacetyl flavour & a little cardboard too.   This may be due to oxygen seeping through the PET bottles I use & prematurely aging my beer.   It is no longer a great beer.   The decent of this beer has been rapid & very dissapointing.

Anomoly: the beer kept in 2 litre PET bottles hasn't suffered from this oxydation like the 1 litre bottles.   I suspect the bottles have different permeablilities to oxygen, probably due to thickness.