I wasn't planning to brew this beer until I went outside in late September and saw what an incredible bumper crop my negligent hop farming had given me this year.
Having read about the ostensibly incredibly fresh flavours that come from adding fresh hops to beer that's still fermenting, I knew I had to get something lined up, and quickly ordered a few kilos of pale malt.
4kg Crisp Pale Ale malt
c. 18g Cascade and Fuggles (2015) @ 60 min
c. 250g freshly harvested Cascade (2016) @ dry hop day 3 at high krausen for 7 days
I didn't expect when I got into brewing that it would be possible to have an interest in plumbing fittings. In the never ending quest to make slow, incremental improvements to my gear, I have been tinkering with my mash tun manifold. A sore elbow, a length of copper pipe and a trip to B&Q for some connectors made me my first manifold. It looked the business, but experiencing stuck sparges on both brews sent me back to the drawing board. The internet suggested that a few hundred grams of rice hulls per brew day would do the trick, but I don't like relying on comestibles and unless the cost is prohibitive, usually prefer to fix a problem with some modest capex.
Enter the non-cost prohibitive stainless steel plumbing braid, stripped of its rubber interior and fixtures.
As it happens, I doubt it was the copper manifold that was at fault, as I still had sparge problems. It wasn't until I'd raised the temperature of the mash with some hot water from the kettle that things really started to flow. So, it seems like my problems with stuck sparges may well have been temperature related after all.
The rest of the brew day was uneventful, with 2015's harvest of Cascade hops (only about 18g) going in the kettle at the 60 minute mark as the sole boil addition.
After brewing on Tuesday evening, I pitched the yeast on Wednesday morning and woke up early on Saturday morning to harvest this year's crop of Cascade, and a rather smaller amount of Fuggles. After a few minutes of are they/aren't they ripe, I harvested 821g of wet hops, the vast majority of them being Cascade.
I put 250g of fresh wet Cascade (the equivalent of about 50g of dry hops) straight into the fermenter at high krausen (approximately 72 hours after pitching the yeast). It was an interesting experience, and rather disgusting looking, truth be told. I also have no doubt that some unscheduled protein found its way into the beer.
I'd planned to keg the following Wednesday, but a bout of food poisoning meant it had to wait until the following Saturday, 10 days after pitching the yeast, a full 7 days of fresh wet hops sitting on the beer. Truth be told, the smell from the fermenting bucket was rather peculiar (and not a little bit disappointing) when I came to keg the beer. I think it was the sharpness of the yeast, but there was an odd almost artificial metallic whiff to it, like diet soda.
After a solid week of sitting on CO2 and conditioning, I'm gradually warming to the finished product. For the first few days after kegging, the hop flavour was intense, weird, and like nothing I'd never encountered: very raw and earthy and obnoxiously plant-like. After a week in the keg, though, it's mellowed nicely to a soft citrus character. It's all on the tongue, though, not so much on the nose, which surprises me given the method of delivery, but perhaps that's a result of dry-hopping at high krausen. Who knows!