6 February 2016

posted by benjy edwards

Today the plan is to brew an American pale ale, one that can be served both via co2 and beer engine.  We have a good selection of new hop varieties with which we are unfamiliar, and using them either singly or in combination are both good ways to explore the new flavours.  Last time we brewed a single-hop pale ale with Meridian, which turned out well but didn’t exactly set the brewing world on fire.  This time I think we may have come up with something truly different, dare I say unique?

Two of the varieties are Lemon Drop and Eureka, which was formerly known as 05256 and got quite a lot of attention.  Lemon Drop, as the name suggests is supposed to be fruity and lemony, while Eureka is described as “pine fruit”, which is a combination of pine needles and grapefruit.  Whether these two vastly different hops would work well together was the question, and probably worth brewing blind just to see if it is a marriage made in heaven or a train wreck of flavours.

However, we didn’t need to fly blind, because it turns out that a new craft brewery back in my old stomping grounds of Columbus, Ohio, just brewed an IPA featuring these two hops (Magnon IPA from Actual Brewing).  The reviews were that it was indeed unique, and on a gamble, I asked my friends in Ohio if anyone had tried it.  No one had, because it is a new beer, but one good friend managed to find it on tap yesterday, tasted it, and reported his findings.  Result!

He found it to be unique, with an earthy component and a lemony one.  He preferred the lemony aspect, and thought that the malt backbone was a little too heavy.  Based upon this information, I changed the hopping from equal parts Lemon Drop and Eureka, to more Lemon Drop and less Eureka.  I had already planned on a very light colour and malt character, so the mash was just domestic two-row, some Munich, and a bit of biscuit malt.

Bittering hops were added at 60 minutes (Nugget is what we had on hand) for about 45 IBU, and then the Eureka and Lemon Drop were added at 30, 20, 10, and 0 minutes.  The brew day went swimmingly, and we hit an original gravity of 1.052, 2 points above our target.  The mash was again only 30 minutes, and the higher than expected gravity is yet more confirmation that the shorter mash rest does not affect conversion or extract yield.

During the brew, we racked the Golden Arrow clone brewed last Sunday to a corny keg and a pin for cask conditioning.  Two ounces of Styrian Goldings were dry-hopped in each vessel, and it tasted great out of the primary, and had dropped to 1.013 for each fermenter.  The plan is to serve the Golden Arrow from the pin at the Pacific Northwest Homebrewers Conference in Vancouver, WA in March, along with a corny keg of the dark mild, so that the attendees can see two methods of packaging.  Whether we will serve the pin via gravity or via handpump is yet to be determined.  I prefer the slight agitation of serving through a beer engine over the gravity tap, but the condition of the beer can play a role here.  If the pin is as lively as I expect it to be after a month in cask, serving via gravity may be the best way to go.

The next batch is likely to be either an IPA, or we may brew another batch of the milk stout, so as to have that on hand at all times.

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