Doctor Duvel

I'm like a sommelier, but for beer.

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Location: Upstate New York, United States

Favorite Beers: Orval, Samuel Smith, Duvel, Hennepin, Oude Gueze, Chimay, Dogfish Head, Anchor Steam, and anything made by Trappist monks.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Varietal Hop Project

I need to be prepping for my night class, but I'm pausing briefly to have an IPA. This is an anti-suicidal measure. Pretty effective too. I forget if I mentioned this but I'm working on a special brewing project. I make pretty damned good IPA's--I think they stand up to, or surpass, the best commercial examples. There, I said it.

So, it behooves me to investigate hops, hence the Varietal Hop Project (VHP). First I made a primarily Chinook IPA, then a better IPA that used a melange of hops. Then I started VHP by making an all-Centennial IPA. That was also known as "Un-Sanitized IPA" as I forgot to add iodophor when cleaning the keg. It was gone so quick that I have no notes on it, which is a shame. It was a terrific IPA. I think Centennial has marvellous grape-fruity-ness but also a strange, slightly spicy elegance to it--and just a little bit of that piney quality (way more restrained than Columbus or Chinook). Right now I'm drinking my all-Cascade IPA. It has a name, but I can't remember it....

Cascade is ubiquitous. For non-beer drinkers (what are you DOING here??) Cascade is THE signature hop of the American microbrewery/brewpub revolution. If you've ever had a pale ale at a brewpub, or if you've tired Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, you know what Cascade smells like. It's nice, however, to let it be the dominant harmony in a beer, rather than just the predictable grace note it often is. This has a nice nose--grapefruit, plus a surprisingly English-feeling floral quality. The palate is pretty jazzy--very lively, sharp citrus flavors with a definite little raspiness. Cascade has a reputation for being a rough bittering hop and this beer more or less bears that out, but it's a great roughness that comes out particularly characteristically in the finish, which is sharp, pungent, and lingering. I want the nose to jump a little more so I think I'll throw another 1/2 ounce of hops into the keg. Why the fuck not?

Obviously the goal is to experience each hop as its own entity. Chinook is next--I've got a lot of them and my first Chinook IPA had a lot of supporting players. Columbus is already in production. Next up will be Simcoe, or Amarillo, or something, once I make another hop order.


Blogger dingus said...

I love chinook. I just "discovered" it last fall. Resinous- piney- I love it for the lingering bitterness in pale ales and Ipas.

Also Centennial!- low cohumulone. my 100% pale/100%Centennial brew was delicous, even though I used 1275-thames valley-, and didn't let all the yeast settle out- Damn Low Flocculators! -
I have a brew with Cascade in there, which I am excited about because I haven't been using Cascade for a while. A buddy and I split 10 gallons - he pitched us56, and I some dregs, and some 3787 trappist.. should be a weird brew.

I am going to do a pale with Gelena next. I used Gelena in a Barleywine this winter- along with Magnum/Centennial/Chinook/- and dry hopped with 1 oz each- chinook/gelena/willamette- mixed and added over 4 weeks time. - When I bottled it the aroma filled my basement. HOPS RULE!

12:50 PM  
Blogger dingus said...

Shoot... that's me..

Brendan/Ionia Ales

12:50 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

I'm likin' the sound of that barley wine. It's impossible to over-dry-hop a barley wine. Impossible. My first barley wine used an ounce each of Chinook, Centennial, and Cascade for the dry hop and it was great. The second one I dry-hopped with maybe an ounce and a half of Warrior and that was not enough.

2:04 PM  

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