Nothing quickens the pulse like a challenge - not just any challenge though; it's got to be the right kind of challenge... one that is potentially achievable but enough of a stretch to make failure a worrying probability. Making beer was an exciting challenge the first time but it turns out that getting everything right to aim for great beer is an exciting challenge every time. This batch was another learning experience (which resulted in a mouthful of hops from the siphon) but it was still a rather fun experience.
Whilst I know I never want to have my own brewery it's fun to homebrew and design some labels. This one was for the "single-hopped" challenge for the Brewstore Edinburgh homebrew club last week. I had a bit of a disaster and changed hop at the last minute so it's single-hopped with Green Bullet, a New Zealand hop. Suggested names included "Haka" and "The All Black" but when I got a mouthful of very hop-filled beer whilst bottling it I decided that I'm not going to give it a name (other than Green Bullet) and give my kitchen solo brewing efforts a name: "Mouthful of hops brewing". This was my first attempt to brew solo and it wasn't strictly ideal (I hadn't checked ingredients, the hops I used had higher bittering properties than I expected, the scales are seriously inaccurate, I can't fit a wort chiller to my tap, the hops in secondary came free of the filter and the overall volume was way less than I wanted) but I think it was a good attempt and maybe, just maybe, a couple of the bottles might be drinkable!
Style: Single-hopped Black IPA
Colour: Almost black, 30 SRM
IBU's: 50 odd
Malt: Pale, Crystal & Carafa III
Hops: Green Bullet (NZ)
Yeast: British Ale Yeast M07
Pairing: Great with a haggis burrito
Original Gravity: 1.060
Gravity at 1 week: 1.020 - temperature ran high, reached 25 degrees over first couple of days!
Final Gravity: 1.017
Bottling sugar: 24g table sugar to prime approximately 4 litres of beer
Pale Ale Malt 76% (1kg)
Crystal 19% (250g)
Carafa III 5% (66g)
Green Bullet hops 20g @ 20 mins
Green Bullet pellets 20g for 4 days at secondary
Tasting Notes #1
Explosion! Ick ick ick! (I drank one of the beers with lots of hop sediment. I'm already trying a different technique on the next beer!
Tasting Notes #2
Well... I was pretty down on this one but the feelings from BrewClub weren't anywhere near as bad as I'd expected. Here's what was written on my comments board:
- Thick body, benefit from maize or wheat maybe. Could benefit from later additions of hops.
- Lovely aroma, carafa and hops mix well. Good hop flavour, a little thin on the finish.
- Like its got chilli in it, very spicy. A bit brown rather than black. Green bullet pretty heavy spicy raisin, overpowering. Cloying sweetness with 19% crystal, not so clean for a single hop I reckon.
- Nice nose, dry finish, malt profile should be punchier.
- Sweetness takes away from clean basic hop qualities.
- Chocolate cake with lemon frosting.
- Nice spiciness, works well with underlying chocolate.
- Smells like hops, Fresh, like a new opened bag. Taste dissipated quickly, slightly ‘trendy’ in flavour?
- Nice fruitiness to start. A little too much carafa for me. Good though.
The comments round out to me trying to:
- Make it more black
- Add more hops later in the game for aroma
- Dial down Crystal (sweetness) slightly
- Try to add another grain to give a bit more body
Watch this space for take 2!