6 December 2015

posted by benjy edwards

We’re brewing on Saint Nicholas’ Day, which is also the day that Samichlaus is brewed every year.  Rather than make a 14% lager, however, we have a single-hop pale ale featuring a hop new to the brewery, Meridian.  The hop is described as sweet lemon, berry, tropical fruit, and mint, perhaps slightly piney.  The impression I’m getting is that it is a subtle hop, not a blaster like Citra or Simcoe.  I find Mosaic to be subtle too, and on the sweet side, but with great complexity.  I think a pale ale is a good way to test this hop, as it might get lost in an IPA.  I prefer single-hop Mosaic pale ales over IPAs.

The malt bill is more complex than some grists for pale ale.  The base is Maris Otter, plus 5 pounds of Vienna and a pound each of honey malt, biscuit, and rye.  The colour in the kettle looked very nice, an orange-ish amber.  Target OG was 1.054, and we reached 1.053 with a 45-minute mash rest and 90-minute boil.  We used Belma for bittering (about 45 IBUs) and the rest were Meridian, 3 ounces each at 30, 20, 10, and 0 minutes.  That leaves 4 ounces left for the dry hop, since we only started with 1 pound.

During the brew, it was time to rack the Hophead to corny kegs, dry-hopping with Cascade.  The yeast fermented well, as the gravity was down to 1.010 and the beer was crystal clear.  Not only that, but it tasted great, which seems to confirm that our water treatment for both dark beers and hoppy beers is correct.

The homebrew club Christmas party is Saturday, so the dark mild and Hophead will be ready to serve on cask in the nick of time.  The next batch will undoubtedly be an IPA, perhaps with Citra or Simcoe.  I really enjoy Blind Pig IPA and haven’t made that recently, so that is a distinct possibility.

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