Homebrew Batch #32 – Local Hops IPA

About a year ago, my original brew partner mentioned that he knew a guy in town who grew his own hops.   Since we’d never actually brewed a pure IPA, I finally got around to pushing that agenda item through this month.   Collecting 1 1/2 gallon ziplock bags full of hop cones from him, I developed a basic extract recipe.  The tricky thing with using your own hops is that you don’t know the potency (alpha acids).   My dilemma was complicated by the fact that I’ve never used hops in anything but pellet form, so I couldn’t even tell if these hops were “wet” or “dry.”   This matters greatly because They say that if you’re using wet hops you generally want to use FIVE times as much as if you’re using pelletized hops.

The hops we had were frozen, but I don’t think they were dried.  However, when they thawed out they were super light and fluffy.   My Twitter homebrew consultants told me that this meant they were “wet,” or “fresh,” but then the message got a bit mixed: a trusted advisor told me that given the weight of my bags, the hops must be at least partially/mostly dried, as I had a total of 4 oz, and a single gallon bag of wet hops would weigh more like 15 ounces.    Further complicating matters, the expert in the homebrew supply store wasn’t there, but his wife told me that they were “wet,” hops.

One bag looked like this:

"wet' hops?

“wet’ hops?


and the drier bag (more crumbly and broken up) looked like this:


In case it’s not clear, the dilemma is that I don’t want to use five times as much hops as I’m supposed to and end up with a beer that has off-the-scale bitterness.  Anyway, it wasn’t until after I returned home from the homebrew shop (having picked up the hops at my buddy’s house on the way) that I realized that I only had 4 oz of hops.   When I brew a normal batch with pellets, I end up using hops that I measure out with a tablespoon to get to ounces.   With these, I was throwing handfulls of them into a bowl.  It seemed like an extreme amount of hops.  But anyway, my plan to brew 2 separate experimental 2 1/2 gallon batches with different hop “multiples” was scuttled:  I decided that I only had enough hops to do a single proper 2 1/2 gallon batch.

The hops, by the way, were supposed to be a mix of cascade, hallertau and fuggles.

So the recipe looked like this:

3.3lbs light liquid malt extract added at boil

0.5oz hops (my special mixed bag!) added at boil

after 30 minutes: add another 0.5oz hops

after another 20 minutes (50 minutes total), add 1lb amber dry malt extract and 1 oz of hops

after another 5 minutes (55 minutes total), add 1 oz of hops

after another 5 minutes (60 minutes total), add 1 oz hops and turn off heat, chill to 70 degrees, pitch Safale US-05 yeast

So I plugged all of that into Brewtoad, and I got an OG of 1.066 and 65 IBUs – a measure of bitterness – which was right in the wheelhouse for an IPA.

Now onto the problems:  I originally planned to brew 2 batches, and do one with basically double these quantities, and 1 with 5 times.   But it turns out I didn’t have pounds of hops.  I only had 4.5oz, so I had to modify my plan.   What I ended up doing is this:

boil:  add 3.3lbs liquid malt extract, 1 oz hops

after 30 minutes: add 1 oz hops

after 20 more minutes (50 minutes total), add 1lb amber dry malt extract

after 5 more minutes minutes total (55 total), add 3/4 oz hops

after 5 more minutes (60 total) add 1.3oz hops (the balance)


in other words, my hops additions would be:

60 minutes:  1 oz

30 minutes: 1 oz

5 minutes: 3/4 oz

flameout:  1.3 oz

I modified my paint strainer bag that I normally mash my grains in by threading a drawstring around the top to accommodate the massive amount of hops.   And then I went for it.  What’s the worst that can happen?   I won’t really know the results for about 5 weeks (3 weeks in fermentation, 2 weeks bottle conditioning), but my wife noted “this was an especially strong smelling batch of beer.”  So maybe I got something out of the hops.  I went for late additions to minimize bitterness and maximize aroma.

Here’s a pic of the hop bag after the first (60 min) addition:

At boil

At boil

and here’s one after the second to last (5 min) addition:

5 minutes left

5 minutes left


Oh another thing – I diluted my wort too much, and ended up with almost 3 gallons of 1.057 OG wort.  This should still give me a finished product with an ABV of just over 6%, and it will give me more of it.

stay tuned…


Kid Dynamite is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. If you click on my Amazon.com links and buy anything, even something other than the product advertised, I earn a small commission, yet you don't pay any extra. Thank you for your support.

The information in this blog post represents my own opinions and does not contain a recommendation for any particular security or investment. I or my affiliates may hold positions or other interests in securities mentioned in the Blog, please see my Disclaimer page for my full disclaimer.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Kiddynamitesworld Blog