I finally got a chance to put the fresh Amarillo hops to use. When I picked up the hops at A&G homebrew I also picked up some DME. I had everything else on hand for a batch, except yeast, a slight oversight on my part. Thankfully one of my fellow home brewers from Brew free or Die was willing to share half a yeast cake of Wyeast 1968 London ale. This is the same strain of yeast I used for my first home brew.
I made a starter from the pitch, not so much for yeast growth, but to wake up the yeast. Since it had been dormant for a little while. My goal with this beer is to improve upon my hoppy amarillo wheat recipe, to be closer 3floyds famous Gumball head. The recipe is similar to the original 2am Maiden, but targeting less bitterness, with more flavor and aroma. Recipe changes include swapping out liquid malt extract in favor of dry malt extract. I also did a full volume boil, but the most significant change is the hop schedule. I started with nugget and warrior hops for bittering, but replaced all the other original hop additions (45,30,15,0) with a single addition of 1 pound of fresh amarillo hops at 15m. Other process changes included skimming the boil, which I was inspired by the mad fermentationist to do. I figure I do it with soups when cooking why not with beer?
The brew day went ok, but as usual I’m having a few process miscues. I have sorted out my boil volume issues, I overshot boil volume a little, but that’s ok for this beer. Hop & trube issues are still a problem. I installed the dip tube, but did not get any filter to prevent the whole hops from blocking the tube. I tried fruitlessly to clear the tube, but I eventually had to pour the wort into the fermentor.
It has been in the swamp heater since sunday afternoon, and was happily blowing off Monday evening. While I’d ideally ferment at a lower temperature, like 65, I’ve been starting beers at 67, and using additional thermal mass to slow temp rise, but also using a fish tank heater to keep the temp from falling once peak fermentation has slowed and temps start to fall. The beer is now sitting at 70, and is slowly bubbling away, It’s nearly ready for dry hopping. I’m not quite sure what I’m going to dry hop with. After the hop floaties I had with the Alpha King Clone, I’m leaning toward whole hops. For the ultimate recipe I’d really like to stick with amarillo, because I’m a huge fan of it’s flavor profile. However the whole leaf hops I have on hand are, Citra, Cascade and magnum. I will definitely use Cascade, choosing between Citra whole leaf and amarillo pellets. I like citra but not as much as I love amarillo. I’ll update when I put it on tap and post a tasting review.