The hardest part about homebrewing is the waiting. Once your brew day is over you have to wait through the fermentation, dry hopping, and then carbonating and aging in the bottle before it is ready to drink. Even though I have been back in the US for a while now, the two beers we have brewed so far are only now coming into their own. Luckily, both are now at the best part of homebrewing, cracking open a bottle (or two.)
I talked a little about Nitwit’s Wit a couple of weeks ago. Despite a slightly troubled brew day, it has turned out to be exactly what I wanted. It is a refreshing summer beer, with interesting spice and orange flavors, lively carbonation and a smooth mouthfeel. The abv came in right at 4.99%, which is also right about where I wanted it.
I’m happy with the wit, but I’m downright ecstatic about the IPA we brewed back in April. First, the recipe:
Mini Mash Grains, mashed for 1 hour in 8 quarts of 150 degree water:
2 lbs of two row pale malt
2 lbs of Vienna malt
12 oz of crystal 40 malt
8 oz of Dextrin malt
1 lb of wheat liquid malt extract
2 lbs of pilsner liquid malt extract (added before the boil)
3 lbs of light dry malt extract (added in the last few minutes of the boil)
3/4 oz of Green Bullet added at 60 minutes (bittering)
1/4 oz of Green Bullet
1 oz of Motoeka both added at 30 minutes (flavor)
1 oz Nelson Sauvin
1 oz Sorachi Ace both added at 5 minutes (aroma)
Fermented with house American Ale Yeast
Dry hopped two weeks with two ounces of Nelson Sauvin.
We wanted to make a complex malt base, using Vienna to add some grainy flavors without being to strong and overwhelming the hops. On top of that foundation we built a house of exotic hops, using three varieties from New Zealand (Green Bullet, Motoeka, and Nelson Sauvin) and one from Japan (Sorachi Ace.) When brewing you boil the wort (the proto-beer) and add hops. Usually you boil for one hour, and the earlier you add the hops the more they provide bitterness and the less they provide flavor or aroma as those oils boil off over time. The Green Bullet was our bittering hop, and it adding a nice back end bitterness to the beer. Halfway through the boil we added a bit more Green Bullet and a full ounce of Motoeka hops. This added more bitterness and some nice flavors. The Motoeka is known for tropical and lemon/ lime flavors. Then with five minutes to go we added two whole ounces of hops, one of Nelson Sauvin and one of Sorachi Ace. At this point in the process the hops add almost no bitterness, rather they add flavors and aromas. The Nelson is known for fruity flavors, especially of grape and gooseberry (so they say.) The Sorachi gives some more lemon and some dill notes. After fermentation we put two ounces of Nelson Sauvin in for extra aroma.
It all came together in excellent fashion. The beer pours a gorgeous reddish/ orange, with a nice head that sticks around for a little bit. The aroma is wonderful, with some tropical citrus, dill, and pine notes from the hops followed up with some sweet malt. The hop flavors are immense and complex with lots of dill, lemon, and general fruitiness. Then you get to the malt flavors, which are bready with a hint of caramel. The spicy hop bitterness hits for the finish. Its a well balanced, nuanced and frankly delicious brew. As you can probably tell, I’m really happy with how it turned out, and am already making plans to make this exact recipe again.
I’ve had a great time putting together both the Worldwide IPA and the Nitwit’s Wit, but a homebrewer is never done brewing, so I ask you The Reader. What should my next recipe be? What sort of style should I tackle next? Let me know in the comments!