Author Topic: Debittered/Aged Hops: Observations  (Read 781 times)

Offline stpug

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Debittered/Aged Hops: Observations
« on: November 14, 2015, 05:55:41 PM »
I'm finishing up the boil of a batch that utilized 3 oz of debittered/aged cascade leaf hops (HopsDirect). These are my impressions up to this point.

Repackaging: Moved the pound from mylar bag to a paper bag to sit in my garage until needed. Smell was some cheesiness plus citrus/floral hoppiness. Overall, smelled like hops with some blue cheese mixed in. Not bad at all.

Initial Rest: The first couple weeks was INTENSE! Any nice hoppy quality was overwhelmed with the smell of blue rotting cheese with a blast of vomit and weed. My wife asked several times if I could move them somewhere outdoors - to which I calmly replied "No". I weathered the onslaught from her and after a few weeks the intensity mellowed down to where she could cope - but did not completely go away.

Summer Rest: Throughout the summer the hops endured some serious aging for several months living in temperatures of 110°F regularly. This did wonders for killing 95% of the smell. By the end of summer the bag didn't give off any aromas but maybe the faintest of smells if your timing was right. The bag just became a "thing" on top of a freezer.

First Use: Pulled out 3 oz for a batch. The dry hops had almost no smell; bit of dry hay and the subtlest hints of noble-like/spicy hops and cheese (you really had to stick your nose in there to get more than hay).

....and then I dropped them in the boiling wort....

WOW! Rye whisky, oak, and cinnamon sticks! Amazing! Makes me want to capture some of the goodness in a normal batch of beer as a flameout addition. After 30 minutes of boiling, still some of the initial qualities and a light smell of clean wet hay. No hoppiness; no cheesiness. After 60 minutes of boiling, most of the initial qualities are gone and starting to get a little spaghetti with parmesan aroma (wife just got home as says it smells a little cheesy and stinky :D).

This batch will go down as my first 100% local microflora wild ale. Cooled by ambient outside air with nothing but a screen to keep leaves and big bugs out. I'll drop in a few old grapes that are still hanging on the vine in hopes of helping things go bad. When I feel confident that this batch will spoil, I'll move it to a carboy and purge the headspace with co2. Nothing else will make it's way into the carboy. Three years from now, if I remember, I'll post back. Chances are high that it'll go down a drain but how else will I know if I don't try. Mostly though, the hops blew me away when they went into the boiling wort. I wonder if something more than old, sour beers can be done with these.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2015, 06:19:55 PM by stpug »

Offline brewinhard

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Re: Debittered/Aged Hops: Observations
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2015, 08:27:57 PM »
Good luck with that one.  These can definitely be hit or miss, that's for sure.  I do know that sometimes it is wise to make a small wild starter and collect the local microflora in this fashion.  Then evaluate the starter prior to possibly stepping it up once more or pitching it into a full 5 gallon batch.  That way one is only potentially losing a little bit of work vs a full brew day and ingredients. 

Please keep us posted on how it goes.  Very cool experiments especially when they work.  Keep an eye out for mold formation early on. 

Offline stpug

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Re: Debittered/Aged Hops: Observations
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2015, 03:50:41 PM »
Thanks, I'll post back anything interesting that happens. One item of note is that the "debittered/aged" hops still pack a hell of a bitter wallop. I had calculated in the realm of 6 ibus based on age, variety, and DeGarde's IBU estimates for aged hops; BUT the final wort tastes like it's holding 25-35 IBUs (pretty bitter wort - hopefully that'll help keep the lacto at bay I guess).

I went the rounds deciding how I wanted to make a truly spontaneous/wild ale and in the end I decided to go the most primitive (and probably foolhardy) way knowing that the chance for failure is probably 75+%. However, I figure it's ~$15 and my free time so if it only serves to feed the microbes living in my sewer then it's not a total loss :D
« Last Edit: November 15, 2015, 03:52:16 PM by stpug »

Offline stpug

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Re: Debittered/Aged Hops: Observations
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2015, 02:27:14 PM »
At 84 hours the first signs of life were visible - very small foam clusters in a couple spots on surface of "beer". At 96 hours they have progressed into several foam patches about 1-3" diameter. Some microbe has finally taken hold. No signs of mold yet.

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Debittered/Aged Hops: Observations
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2015, 04:13:15 PM »
Thanks, I'll post back anything interesting that happens. One item of note is that the "debittered/aged" hops still pack a hell of a bitter wallop. I had calculated in the realm of 6 ibus based on age, variety, and DeGarde's IBU estimates for aged hops; BUT the final wort tastes like it's holding 25-35 IBUs (pretty bitter wort - hopefully that'll help keep the lacto at bay I guess).

The Bruery tested a bottled of Cantillon and clocked the IBUs around 30.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing

Offline stpug

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Re: Debittered/Aged Hops: Observations
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2015, 09:34:36 PM »
Thanks, I'll post back anything interesting that happens. One item of note is that the "debittered/aged" hops still pack a hell of a bitter wallop. I had calculated in the realm of 6 ibus based on age, variety, and DeGarde's IBU estimates for aged hops; BUT the final wort tastes like it's holding 25-35 IBUs (pretty bitter wort - hopefully that'll help keep the lacto at bay I guess).

The Bruery tested a bottled of Cantillon and clocked the IBUs around 30.

That's hopeful for me then, thanks! I'm surprised Cantillion would come up that high considering the whole "bitter and sour don't mix" statements.  After everything we hear and read, I figured that we should be looking at <10 in the kettle but that's not what it tasted like to me... granted, belgian sour beer makers aren't buying their hops from HopsDirect :D and taking their AA reading from a podcast :rolleyes: :D.

I'm also relying on the fact that AA are said to halve themselves in a year's time (well, something like that, I may have the details screwed up). So in about two years this beer should be in the 7-8 IBU range if I consider it 30 today if we go by my "halving IBU" recollections.

I don't know... It's all a 5 gallon experiment with nothing more pinned on it that hoping to get some useful brewing local microflora out the back end with the full expectations that 75% chance this batch goes down a drain in a couple years. It's a wild ale to be certain.

Offline stpug

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Re: Debittered/Aged Hops: Observations
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2015, 09:39:26 PM »
Here's how it looks at about 102 hours (through a crappy lens)


And for the first time since putting it in the carboy it has positive pressure on the airlock. For four days it's had negative pressure slowly sucking in air even during the warm-up period from 55F to room temp (70ish). I've been co2 purging every 4-6 hours to minimize air/oxygen so I think that it's possible that as the co2 absorbed into solution it created the negative pressure (??).
« Last Edit: November 19, 2015, 09:46:14 PM by stpug »