Tag Archives: Meridian Hops

Haydts Double Distelfink IPA

As I very slowly trudge my way through the commercial brewery planning process, one of the more exciting aspects is recipe formulation.  I tend to jump from one style to the next when brewing so honing a specific recipe seems to take an eternity and generally never happens.  There are maybe two recipes (that includes this one and my American German Pilsner) that I feel are spot on and ready to “go pro”.  I almost hate hearing the boring epithet about how simplicity is key in recipe formulation. But as you are forced to think of your process in commercially viable terms (cost, manual labor, product availability) you realize simplicity ain’t no joke.

With simplicity in mind, I have been methodically dropping malts from this recipe the past few times I’ve brewed this to really get at the essence of what I’m trying to get in the glass.  Buttloads of late-hopping (not a new idea by any means) and no crystal malts (even less new idea-ish) allows the newer American hop varietals (Meridian/Mosaic/El Dorado/Columbus) to really get their shwerve on.  I took the hop-bursting a step further after reading about hop oil flash points in a recent BYO article.  After adding a significant flameout addition and allowing it to stand for 30 minutes, I chilled the wort down 180F and added another dose of hops and allowed them to sit hot for another 20 minutes.  This technique apparently allows the more delicate hop oils that may be broken down/evaporated at higher temps to remain in solution and make it into the fermentor.  After only one batch (with a second fermenting as I type this) the results are purely anecdotal, but this batch for sure has the most aroma I’ve gotten into a hoppy beer.

Double Distelfink Glass

Don’t judge me for using my child’s alphabet letters to label my beers.  Just don’t.

Appearance.  Orange and copper hues with a slight haze from the dry hops.  Black backgrounds for beer color comparison are terrible but I’m sure you guys have great imaginations and know what a DIPA looks like.  That said, this beer is darker than I expected with the omission of all crystal malts and fits nicely within style guidelines.

Aroma.  Wow.  The aroma on this beer is nuts.  Not actually nuts (gross), like crazy nutz with a “z”.  This is the most powerful aroma I’ve packed into a pint.  Bright citrus, lemon peel, orange marmalade, blueberries, kiwi and cantaloupe that just never seem to give up.  Maybe I’m drinking these servings too fast but the aroma lasts until the final sip.
Taste and Mouthfeel.  Slight sweetness up front followed by a blast of citrus and berries.  Bounces right off the palate with a nice dry finish and begs for another sip.  Great.  Cold serving temp (36F) and lively carbonation make the bitterness pop in the best way.

Overall Impressions.  Nailed it.  This is one of the first batches that I’ve truly been content with.  There isn’t anything I would change about this recipe except to maybe make a larger batch.  And use less expensive hops.  I am usually itching to bring any and all homebrew I make to parties, club meetings, etc. but this batch I am hoarding like I’m never gonna brew again.  Held its own when compared to four week old Pliny (top-rated DIPA and consistently voted best beer in America by Zymurgy) that I carried back from my Sierra Nevada trip, but how can you really trust me if I’m hoarding all of it and it never leaves my kitchen?  Don’t worry–it’s definitely going to get out of the kitchen and find a home in my brewery-to-be.

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Dry Hopping Miller Lite (Round 2)

Dry Hop Experiment in Fridge

Protected from Partygoers.

I performed another dry hop experiment for this month’s Brooklyn Brewsers meeting and wanted to report back with some of our findings.  Used some pretty interesting hops with some even more interesting aromas.

Galaxy: Strong aroma, floral, watermelon, pineapple, slight pear, touch of onion, pumpkin, cucumber, children’s vitamins, Overall: Good could be great.

Palisade: Mild Aroma, Huge Tea note, black tea, earthly tea, earl grey, herbal, some blueberry and a little strawberry, okra, not as pungent as Galaxy.

El Dorado: Strong aroma, lime, lychee, green mango, honeydew melon, kiwi fruit, sweet melons, juicy fruit bubble gum, orange. Very interesting and unique.

Wakatu: Somewhat weak aroma, kimchi, beets, grassy, slight lemon, not very exciting, maybe old hops not stored well?

Meridian: Full aroma but not powerful or overpowering, sweet, citrus, strawberry, rhubarb, strawberry daiquiri, blended fruit juice, lemon merigue pie.  Very nice hop.

Mosaic: Big Aroma, very complex, papaya, melon, some onion, juicy fruit, lemon rind, berries, chive.  Hard to pinpoint exactly what’s going on thus the “complex” and “true to name” descriptors we heard from the tasters.

This iteration was very fun and the next batch will hopefully be with some more classic varieties like Cascade, Chinook, Columbus so we can have some sort of baseline for all the unique new varieties and aromas we’ve been getting over the past two meetings.

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100% Brettanomyces Beer

All Brett Beer

Dmitri (of BKYeast) dropped off some Brettanomyces cultures at Brooklyn Homebrew a few months back.  He had isolated three cultures from a bottle of 2008 Cantillion Iris (C1, C2, and C3) and one from a smack pack of Wyeast 3191 PC Berliner Weisse.  I decided to brew an experimental 100% Brett Beer using the C2 and C3 cultures. I pitched both cultures into a singe 2-liter starter on a stir plate for ten days.  I tasted the finished starter wort, and there was a distinct sourness along with some earthy, peach and apricot fruit aromas.  I then brewed a simple recipe of 75% German Pilsner malt, 8% wheat, 8% munich, and per Chad Yakobson’s recommendation, 8% golden naked oats to boost the body and mouthfeel.  Since the beer was experimental by nature, I decided to make it a single-hop beer as well and used all Meridian hops.  I fermented the beer for four weeks and then dry-hopped for two weeks using a big dose (5 oz. in 5 gallons) of Meridian pellets in the fermenter.  I then kegged and cold-crashed the beer for two weeks.

Appearance.  Hazy golden amber with a dense rocky head.  Despite two weeks of cold crashing at near-freezing temperatures, the low-flocculating nature of Brettanomyces left the beer cloudy even until the final pour from the keg.

Smell.  When I first tapped the keg, the massive amount of dry hops gave the beer a huge aroma of grapefruit, citrus, and lemon.  Towards the end of the keg, the citrus notes receded slightly and the telltale aroma of Brettanomyces — barnyard, pineapple, and mango — came strongly to the forefront.  This is the most aromatic beer that I’ve ever brewed, which I think is due to the combination of Brettanomyces and big dry-hopping of the Meridian hops.  The beer definitely had the wow factor upon the first sniffs of members of my homebrew club.

Taste and Mouthfeel.  Because the beer finished at 1.003, the first thing I noticed about this beer is how dry it is.  The citrus aromas carried into the taste, along with some strawberry-like flavors, which I think was the result of the Brettanomyces and naked oats.  The addition of oats was important in this recipe because of the low finishing gravity.  Brettanomyces is known to thin out beers because it is so attenuative, so the oats allowed for a fuller body to counteract the Brett.

Overall Impressions.  One of the most refreshing, aromatic, and easy-drinking beers that I’ve brewed.  About halfway through the glass every time, I would get the distinct impression that I was drinking a wit beer.  Because of the risk of contaminating my other beers and long turnaround time, this 100% Brett beer probably will not make it into my regular rotation.  But when I’m ready for more experimenting, I’d like to try this again with some of Dmitri’s other cultures and some of the commercial Brett cultures that are available.

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