Homebrew: Bon Hiver

Submitted by DM on Sun, 09/07/2017 - 21:35

I got a good deal on some hops that I'd never tried before & originally was to make two SMASH beers with them to see what they tasted like.   However time was was against me on this brew - hence the reduced mash & boil times - and I wanted to be sure the beer was a success.   Mash & boil time has been discussed on the Basic Brewing podcast - Feb 10th 2011 was one - with the conclusion that modern malts are well modified with enough enzymes to convert all the starch to sugars easily in 30 mins if the temperature is correct.   Similarly the boil can be reduced if the bitterness extraction efficiency is not the primary aim - it isn't as hoppiness in my aim.

The name comes from an episode of Northern Exposure called First Snow where everyone wishes each other a good winter at the first of the winter's snowfall.   It is not a commentary on the summer in Cumbria so far.

Mash: 35mins starting at 67°C & falling to 64°C.

Boil: 35 mins.

30g of Archer hops (5.1% alpha acid) added 20 mins before the end.

50g of Dana hops (14.0% alpha acid) added 20 mins before the end.

40g of Archer hops added 5 mins before the end.

30g of Dana hops added 5 mins before the end.

The wort was chilled to 20°C & splashed through a colander into the fermentation vessel containing the dry hops (20g each of Dana & Archer hops) and a sachet of Wilko ale yeast.   The OG was measured at 1.040 & the PG at bottling was 1.009 which should give a beer with around 4.1% alcohol.   A bitterness calculation suggests that the beer will have 109 IBU, but the plan is tht with the late and dry hops it will be more hoppy than bitter.

Fermented for 7 day - 18°C for 5 days, 17°C for a day and 16°C for the last day.   Due to the hot weather affecting my last brew, I covered the FV in wet tea towels when the weather got really warm towards the end of the fermentation.   This appeared to work as the temperature of the FV didn't rise even though the outside air got warmer by at least a couple of degrees.   I shall remember this trick for future brews.

Different temp readings over the fermentation period of wort
Temperatures measured at different points while the wort for Bon Hiver ferments.

Verdict at bottling: This is the most grapefruit beer I've ever made!   Strong bitterness too.   Still very cloudy, but this is normal when I don't put the Irish Moss in towards the end of the boil.   Very pale also.   This has potential!

Shock, horror!   A lot of the grapefruity hoppiness has gone!   This is a little dissapointing.

A very pale, golden beer that still has a fair haze, although much sediment has settled out on the bottom of the bottles.   This has a strong grapefruit zesty & pithy flavour despite losing some from the taste on bottling.   It has a strong bitterness too, but it's not overboard.

I'm going to enjoy drinking this.

I couldn't resist opening another 500ml sampler bottle.   It still has a very definite haze - I could say it's the hops & call it a New England IPA, but I've made hoppier & had them clear better.

Very grapefruit hoppy indeed & not suprisingly hasn't changed much since the 4-day sampler.   Lovely.

Still very hazy, with no signs of clearing so I suspect this is a protein haze that is here to stay.   A lovely citrussy beer, that's light bodied and very easy drinking.   A nice summer drink.