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Brewing Hoppy Beers

Brewing Hoppy Beers

This month (July 2021), Fraser Withers gave us an awesome overview of how he goes about brewing his award winning hoppy beers.

London Amateur Brewers

July 19, 2021

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  1. My approach to brewing regardless of style • Brewers make

    wort yeast make beer. • So prepare the wort to achieve the best result for the style. • Use carbon filtered water as a minimum. Though you can use Camden tablets to treat the chlorine, running your tap water through a decent 2 or 3 stage water filter is the route I recommend. • If brewing a style that needs very low mineral content use a soft mineral water ( Tesco Ashbeck ) or invest in a RO system which is the route I prefer. • My mains water comes into the brew shed and can then be diverted into a 3 stage filter - sediment, GAC (granulated activated Carbon) and CTO ( block carbon filter ) I then have the option of diverting this into my pumped RO filter. This set up allows me to blend the 2 together if required ( stouts ect )
  2. Bru’n Water • Once I have designed my recipe (

    more on that later ) • I calculate the water additions to match the style. • This also makes the brew day go smoothly as you can almost guarantee to hit your predicted mash ph. • For west coast pales and IPA’s I have been using the same profile for as long as I can remember. • For East coast soft hazy styles I have played with a few different profiles but now use the verdant profile.
  3. Designing the recipe • Getting as much flavor and aroma

    into the beer as possible. • Be very careful with your bittering hops, you are constrained by the ibu’s you are putting into the beer. If you put 30 ibu’s in as a bittering addition on a West coast IPA you then only have another 30 to play with later in the boil. Fine if you are brewing a old school DIPA but you want as much flavor and aroma in the beer as possible. • For a APA I generally have less than 10 ibu from a bittering addition. • IPA under 20 ibu • Westy DIPA fill your boots on the first addition • ( Death Star 65ibu, Pliny Clone 135 IBU Calculated ) from first additions only. • Generally I try to achieve nearly all the bitterness with the late additions starting with 15 or 10 mins to go. And then at flame out and also chilled down to 85c for a 20 minute steep.
  4. hello • If you are adding a bittering addition, ensure

    it’s a variety with a lower Cohumulone level, it will give you a nice soft bitterness. Magnum is brilliant for this. On the other end of the scale a hop like chinook leaves a sharp edge to the bitterness. But if you like a sharper more edgy bitterness go with it, but as this is about how I brew them then smooth wins every time. • I'm a big fan of the older school hops when I do a west coast style, so its all about Columbus, Centennial, Chinook and Simcoe as additions around the 10 minute point, They layer that spicy resin citrus flavors into the beer And then use a stand out aroma hop to steal the show with a heavy dry hop, Mosaic being a personal favorite but there are plenty to choose from. But that base of flavor from the earlier late additions are so important.
  5. Grain - West coast • For west coast pale ales

    around 5.5% I'm generally using standard pale ale malt 87%, Munich 13%, and a small addition of acid malt for ph adjustment • For west coast IPA’s I'm a fan of splitting the base malts between pale malt 44% and pilz malt 44% and again adding some Munich 10% with acid as always for ph adjustment. • Generally I never use crystal malt any more, when I do its on the very low color scale 60ebc. • A exception to this rule is my old school west coast DIPA Death Star which has Caramunich III but only 2.4% incidentally this beer actually has a fairly low hopping rate by modern standards. But as the hops are adding almost continually during the boil they are constantly layering flavor and aroma into the beer during the boil. And the dry hop is at a modest by todays standards 7g per liter
  6. Grain –East coast • I like a blend of Pilz

    malt 44% and pale malt 37% with some wheat, oats and occasionally chit malt making up about 15% of the grain bill for the sub 5% beers • NEIPA’S typically Pilz malt 42% pale malt 28% and wheat/oats for the remaining 28%. • Acid malt is used in every thing, I pre acidify my water to as close to 5.5ph and then adjust the mash result using acid malt. • 5.5ph being as close to ideal for sparging as you can get. So I adjust all water once and use it for everything.
  7. Yeast • West coast styles typically use wlp-01 or Cali

    V wlp051 for session strength beers where I want to keep some more body in the beer and not have it ferment out quite so dry. • East coast styles, London Ale 3, Verdant ipa, Murk juice ( excellent ) or Lida kveik • In all my beers I build starters from 1 packet which is then split into 4 and stored. Then re grown as required for each batch. When I'm on the last of the original 4 ill grow and split again. • Yeast nutrient is used in all beers
  8. Dry Hopping • I have experimented with a few techniques.

    • Adding early in primary ( 36hrs ) to achieve bio transformation. • Adding after primary fermentation has finished and soft crashing the beer to about 15c. • But I still find I personally get the best results by adding them when I'm 5 points away from terminal gravity. The yeast is still active and so should scrub most of the 02 off that gets in with those hops, I generally have no issues with oxidation doing it this way, I have had issues when adding them after primary.
  9. Dry Hopping Rates • The current trend in the craft

    beer world is to dry hop at anything between 15 and 25g per liter which absolutely crazy. The beers I have tried that are made this way are wonderfully hoppy but its all diminishing returns. With little extra aroma as the beer can only absorb so much of those oils. And reduced volumes of beer coming out of the FV. • Typically for East coast styles I will dry hop between 9 and 10 grams per liter so 400g in a 40 liter batch. • With West coast pales and IPA’s its down at 6g to 8g per liter, but they receive more kettle additions than the east coast versions.
  10. Post fermentation and transferring to keg and carbonating. • Prior

    to crash cooling I now attach a balloon air lock full of co2. This prevents air being sucked into the fv as the beer chills down to 2c, and as a result reduces the chance of the beer being oxidized. Once the beer is ready to transfer out of the fv ( 2-3 days ) I remove the balloon airlock and attach a co2 line to the fv.. The kegs are always completely filled with starsan solution and then I jump that out by pushing co2 into the keg. This again reduces any chance of any 02 getting into contact with the beer. The keg is hooked up to the racking arm and loosely connected with the tri clamp fitting. Co2 from the keg then purges that beer line and the tri clamp is tightened. The remaining co2 in the keg is released The beer is then pushed out of the fv with co2 into the vented keg. I burst carbonate at 40psi for 24 hours then reduce the pressure to about 20psi for 24hrs and then down to serving pressure 10-12psi which generally does the job.
  11. A brew day in pictures and video • I brewed

    a East coast pale on the 4th July so I decided to record my process so you can see what I do.
  12. 60 mins at 68C then increased to 72c with 94c

    liquor, didn’t video this as didn’t have enough hands.
  13. Finished beer, it finished at 1.008 bit lower than I

    was hoping so a mash temp of 70c next time. And also will do away with the 10 min addition to soften the bitterness. But the aroma flavour and mouthfeel are all spot on.
  14. Brewing for competitions • I always with hoppy styles shoot

    for top end of the style guidelines you want your beer to stand out from the crowd so push the abv up and go large with the aroma hops. • Plan your brew schedule with the entry deadline in mind, fresher the better. No point entering a 6 week old ipa as someone else ( me ) will be brewing their entry 3 weeks prior to the competition. • Ship the beer cold, ideally drop it off yourself, and I don’t mind annoying the staff at the competition by packing in essentially a cold box with ice packs. Let the others have their beer arrive warm and sit warm. Do everything to gain an advantage. • Also don’t be afraid to enter the same beer in two categories its been known to work a treat.