Saturday, August 29, 2015

Tasting Notes: North Shore Brewers Single Hop Project

Six weeks ago I brewed a Galaxy IPA as part of a project with my homebrew club, The North Shore Brewers. With so many new hop varieties being bred and developed, the idea is that we could learn about the flavor profiles of these new hops when we shared our brews.

Most of the project participants brought their brews to the club picnic. Several of us, myself included will bring our beers to the New England Homebrewers Jamboree.

Everyone's single hop beers chilling in a cooler.

We all brewed essentially the same recipe, the only difference was supposed to be the different hops that we used. I used a different bittering hop and yeast. Some of the other brewers may have made similar adjustments.

The project was also a way to compare and contrast all of our differences as a brewer. The recipe didn't call for a specific water profile. There was no stated mash temperature or carbonation level. This gave the individual brewers some room for interpretation with the recipe.

I brewed my beer with distilled water and added my desired minerals to make sure the water enhanced the hop flavor. If I brewed the same exact beer with un-treated Beverly tap water, the beer would have tasted different. I mashed my beer at a low temperature of 148F with the idea of brewing a light bodied beer, that would finish dry, and accentuate the hop flavor.

I jotted down some quick tasting notes on all of the different brews at the picnic. I sampled them out of a red solo cup making it difficult to compare the appearance and aroma of the beers. I could only stick my nose so far into a partially filled cup.

I reached out to other members of the club for brewer's notes. I included all of the replies with my tasting notes.

The beers are in the order in which I tried them. Take that for what it's worth.

Nelson Sauvin (Brewed by Julian Miller): White grape, light passion fruit, soft bitterness. Subtle fruit esters from the yeast. Medium-light body. Julian is an excellent brewer. I look forward to trying this again at Jamboree.

El Dorado (Brewed by Eric Keating): More assertive aroma than Nelson. More malt sweetness. Light bodied, medium-low carbonation. Honeydew like hop flavor, works well with malt. Brewers notes: "Mash at 149, Salem water profile (same as yours, I presume) plus sodium metabisulfate to neutralize chloramines, Fermentation temp got out of control for a day or two, into the high 70s, No change to the recipe."

Mosaic (Brewed by Tim Broderick): Mousy head with fair retention. Grassy, hay aroma. Berry-like hop flavor. Not dank or resiny at all. Medium body and carbonation. Very drinkable. Brewer's Notes: "I did the Mosiac and I'm going off of memory. Mash at 152F (a little higher than I wanted) Ipswich water filtered through a potasium water filter. Jake installed a new water filter system at his house and I got the water from him. It's much softer than my Hamilton water. I added 1 tsp gypsym and 1/2 tsp calcium chloride to the water. The rest of the brewing followed the recipe with the exception of 25 ml of a hopshot for bittering. Added the sucrose (table sugar) with 10 minutes left in the boil. Fermented with US-05 in my basement. Average temp was around 70F"

Bullion (Brewed by Chris McGowan): Served on tap. Thick creamy head with good retention. Faint raspberry aroma. Medium body and medium high carbonation, Dry finish. Fruity, pear, melon.

Galaxy (Brewed by Jason Chalifour): Bottle conditioned. Very nice hop aroma. Grapefruit, passion fruit. More dank, bitter, and IPA-like than the others. Dry finish. I might have fermented a touch hot, tasted solventy. I'll have to have a full pint to be sure.

Zythos (Brewed by John C): Thin head with good retention. Navel orange hop flavor. Very nicely balanced. Nice finish, not too sweet or too dry.

Ella (Brewed by Danielle Broderick): Bottle already half-empty. Thin, mousy head. Muted aroma. Medium body and mouthfeel. Best balanced. Brewer's Notes: "Ipswich water from Jake's water filter system (same as Mosiac). Same 1 tsp gypsum and 1/2 tsp calcium chloride added to the water 25 ml of a hopshot for bittering. Followed the recipe for grains and hop schedule. Added the sucrose with 10 minutes left in the boil. We ran out of propane with 10 minutes left in the boil. Switched tanks and finished the brew, but the final gravity was low due to a shorter boil. Fermented with US-05 in my basement. Average temp was around 70F"

Motueka (Brewed by Ryan Veno): Poured from opened growler. Decent head and good retention. Very smooth, subtle toasted quality. Light, juicy almost pink lemonade hop flavor, but light enough not to be puckering at all. Hop flavor not as assertive as I would have thought. Very drinkable beer. Brewer's Notes: "OG: 1.0525 FG: 1.008 ABV: 5.8% Ferm. Temp: 69° Spring Water I did a double dry-hop (2 oz. for 4 days followed by 2.5 oz. for 4 days). From brew day to tasting was 21 days."

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