August 20, 2015
Brewer's Blog - Virginia Hop Harvest Amber IPA
Brewer’s Blog, Brewmaster’s Shadow Gail Brooks, 08192015: The 2015 seasonal Virginia Hop Harvest Amber IPA entered the aging process this week. Although the Brewmaster's lips were sealed as to the taste, the ear to ear grin on his face told us everything. The beer was brewed on 10 August 2015 using fresh hops locally grown and harvested by Power’s Farm less than 48 hours earlier. The green hop cones were a beautiful sight and the aroma was amazing.
Freshly harvested hops are known as wet hops. Brewing wet hops presents many challenges and is a lengthy process but the rewards are well worth the effort. Working with 5 fresh hop varieties consisting of Chinook, Cascade, Nugget, Zeus, and Southern Cross required expert knowledge and precise timing. A detailed plan was crafted by the Brewmaster to ensure optimum “hoppy” flavor with an enjoyable malty balance. Giant mesh bags were used to prevent the spent hop cones from clogging up the brew kettle and whirlpool during the brewing process. The mesh bags were tied tight and long heavy strings were added to use as tethers, creating giant “hop” teabags.
As dictated by the Brewmaster’s strict instructions, hop bags were added at specific phases of the brewing process to capture the unique characteristics of each hop variety. After brewing, the hopped liquid was transferred to a fermentation tank for fermentation and aging. The spent giant “hop” teabags were laboriously removed one at a time for recycling as compost. Look for this season’s Virginia Hop Harvest Amber IPA in the Taproom soon.