Hop Therapy #17

This edition of Hop Therapy features Galaxy & Eclipse. Two high alpha acid hops originating from Australia bringing flavors of Citrus and Sweet fruit.

See past posts for the malt bill. It’s the same. Besides the stars of the show are the hops. They do work very well together but in doing so you need to ensure you use them late in the boil or maybe just in whirlpool. Otherwise you’ll end up with a rather bitter beer. This batch is probably around 70 IBU.

Usually HT brews are hazy and remain that way for a while if not the life of the beer. I find as I crank up the bitterness (using high alpha acid hops) the beer clears within a week of packaging. Especially if it’s bottled. Not a bad thing, just something I’ve noted.

This photo was taken when the beer was young. A week later it was nearly crystal clear.

Hop Therapy #17 – 6.5%

Pale Ale

I’m getting a bit tired of the haze craze and high alcohol IPAs. Not many breweries are making good ole American Pales these days. So I’m starting a series of Pale Ales called Everyday Pale Ale (EPA). It’s a take on Founder’s All Day IPA, but the with more malt and less bitterness.

Before I decided to name the series the first batch was actually named Sit Tra Pale Ale.

  • Pale 2-Row – 90%
  • Crystal 40 – 10%
  • Centennial and Citra hops in boil.
  • Citra hops in dry hop

This beer lasted one weekend so I must have been pretty good. I liked it but I thought the body is a bit heavy and it needed a little more bitterness. So I changed it up a bit when brewing EPA#1:

  • Pale 2-Row – 83%
  • Crystal 40 – 11 %
  • Corn Sugar – 6%
  • Centennial and Idaho Gem hops in boil
  • Idaho Gem in dry hop

I screwed up and thought the Idaho Gem bag I opened was Citra 🙂 So the beer is definitely different. The corn sugar was added to dry the beer out. Personally I could have used less, this beer finished rather dry. Centennial and Idaho Gem do work well together; however, had I opened the correct bag of hops I think this batch would have come out better.

Here’s a look at the two beers.

Sit Tra Pale Ale - 5%
Sit Tra Pale Ale – 5%
Everyday Pale Ale #1
Everyday Pale Ale #1

EPA #1 has a slight haze to it, but otherwise nearly identically in appearance. It might be a while before I get to EPA #2. It’s time to brew some beers like I for the colder months (Porter, Weeheavy, Barleywine, etc…).

Hop Therapy #15 (Azacca & Eclipse)

I’m getting a slightly higher efficiency out of my brew system these days, especially with recipes I’ve iterated on (GWEN & Therapy). My process continues to improve with each batch so I’ve started reducing the malt bill of some recipes to keep the ABV in the target range.

My Hop Therapy series to started to creep up to 5.5 – 6% where I really want to target between 4.5% – 5%. So starting with HT13 I’ve reduced the malt bill by 1lb.

Grist & Hops

  • Crisp Best Ale – 9 lb
  • Golden Naked Oats – 2 lb
  • Eclipse 16.8% AA – 1 oz @ flame out
  • Lumpomax Azacca 16% AA – 1 oz @ flame out
  • Eclipse 16.8% AA – 1 oz @ day 2 dry hop
  • Lumpomax Azacca 16% AA – 1 oz @ day 2 dry hop

Lately I’ve been using Lallemand’s Lalbrew Verdant IPA (an excellent yeast) for Hop Therapy. This time I decent to use Fermentis SAFALE S-33 since I had culture that was getting old. So I made a starter to freshen it up. The yeast must have been very happy because it chewed through the wort very quickly. I try dry hop Hop Therapy when it’s close to 80% attenuation. Normally that’s on day 3 or 4. This batch was nearly done fermenting on day 2. So I that’s when I dry hop’d.

This batch is conditioning now. I’ll post tasting notes when it’s ready.

Hop Therapy #13 vs #14

Throughout my Hop Therapy series I’ve been experimenting with different adjuncts. I’ve used Wheat Malt, Golden Naked Oats, and Flaked Oats. So I’ve been wondering which one produces the best Session IPA.

Hop Therapy #13 and #14 only differ in one ingredient and were brewed 7 days apart. The difference being #13 used Golden Naked Oats and #14 used Flaked Oats.

Much to my surprise the end product was much more different than I expected.

Unfortunately I didn’t have the forethought to take pics of both that would show the difference. HT13 cleared up completely. Not sure if that was the result of golden naked oats or a process difference. Not that I care about haze, but HT14 stayed hazy until it kicked. Interesting…

Besides appearance most preferred HT13 to H14. I think the body on HT13 was bit more full…. I preferred HT14, but I was in the minority. Either way both beers were decent and I’m not sure this experiment proved anything 🙂

My only conclusion is that a session hazy will be good as long is you use a pale malt for the base and at least two decent hops at flame out / dry hop. Whether you use read/white wheat, flaked oat, golden naked oats or whatever to supplement the malt bill it doesn’t really matter. They all add body and a creamy texture. The star of the show is the hops. Which ever allows the hops to shine the most is the winner in my book.

Next up… HT15 🙂

What The Helles

Craft brewing often eschews long standing brewing philosophy in favor of newer techniques/styles: Dessert Stouts, Hazy IPAs, fruited sours, etc… It seems every craft brewery have these styles on tap.

Every Oktoberfest reminds me that the German brewing tradition results in delicious brews as well; Festbier, Marzen, Helles, Pilsner, Hefeweizen, etc…

The proficiency of a brewer can be demonstrated by trying their hand at making these styles. Only water, malt, hops, and yeast are used. Attention to detail in the brewing and fermentation process is key to producing a good result. You can’t hide off flavors by using an excessive amount of hops, malt, or fruit.

Fortunately, local breweries are starting to create these styles with some success (not all are good examples).

So I decided to attempt to make a German style Helles lager.

  • Pilsner Malt – 98%
  • Melanoidin Malt – 2%
  • Northern Brewer Hops – T60 – 11 IBU
  • Saphir Hops – T-30 – 9 IBU
  • Saphir Hops – T-15 – 6 IBU
  • Fermentis W34/70 yeast culture

The result was a 5% beer that appealed to craft and macro American lager fans (you know who you are). It was on tap during the holidays and didn’t last long. I’ll definitely be brewing a Helles style beer in the future.

What The Helles – 5%

Alternate Reality

I haven’t made a DIPA in a long time. So in this batch applied all the tips & tricks I’ve learned overtime to make an 8% DIPA. This is for a 6.08 gallon batch brewed with the my Grainfather G30.


  • Golden Promise Pale Malt – 91%
  • Flaked Oats – 6%
  • Caramel Malt 40L – 3%


  • Bravo @ T-160 – 66 IBU
  • Simcoe @ T-20 – 20 IBU
  • 2 oz Amarillo dry hop 3 days
  • 2 oz Citra dry hop 3 days

Dry hop’d after primary fermentation under pressure.

I fermented this batch with Verdant IPA from Lallemand.

Waiting till fermentation is nearly complete to dry hop has become standard practice for me. When I do this I cap off the fermenter and use a spunding valve. Unfortunately my Grainfather conicals can only hold about 2 PSI max. But even at this low of a PSI it seems to make a difference.

The aroma, appearance, and flavor of this brew is pretty much what I was shooting for. It took a couple weeks of cold storage to clear it up.

Fear The Dark

It’s that time of year when I like to brew strong full bodied dark beers.

Fear the Dark is a 10% imperial stout. The target is a medium-full body with notes of chocolate, caramel, and coffee. However, none of that will actually go into the brew. I hope to achieve these flavors flavors via various malts in the grist:

The Grist

  • Maris Otter Pale Malt – 60%
  • Golden Promise Pale Malt – 19%
  • Flaked Oats – 5%
  • Caramel Malt 40L – 4%
  • Carafa II – 3%
  • Pale Chocolate – 3%
  • Special B – 3%
  • Caramel Malt 120L – 1.5%
  • Blackprinz – 1.5%
  • Roasted Barley – 1.5%

This was a rather large grain bill for my Grainfather G30 to handle. The G30 can technically handle a 20lb grain bill but I don’t recommend trying that (I have). With my G30 I prefer grain bills of 17lb or less, but this one weighed in 18.5lbs. I knew the mash was going to be a challenge so I mashed for 90 minutes (I normally mash for 60 minutes).

Hops are not the star of the show here, but you need a considerable amount of bitterness to balance this much dark malt. So into the boil went approximately 85 IBU of Columbus hops:

  • Columbus at T-60 for 64 IBU
  • Columbus at T-15 for 17 IBU
  • Columbus at T-0 for 4 IBU (20 minute hopstand at 170ºF)

Also towards the end of the boil I added 2lbs of powdered dextrose to help drive up the ABV. I don’t like doing this but to achieve 10% ABV it’s necessary if I want a full volume batch. Next time I may reduce my batch size and skip with the dextrose. I can also double mash, but I’m not a huge fan of doing that either. We’ll see.

I prefer to bottle condition strong beers as to not have them tap where it will remain for a long time. I don’t often drink 10% beers. Here is what it looked like on bottling day:

I’ll provided an update when the bottles are ready for tasting.

Blackberry Saison

It looks like we are going to have another great Blackberry harvest this year so I figured I better use up what we have from last year. So I whipped up a Blackberry Saison.

Malt Bill

  • Weyermann Pilsner malt – 80%
  • BestMalz Munich malt – 9 %
  • Avangard Wheat malt – 9%
  • Briess Carapils – 2%

I figured the hops would just be playing a supporting role so I didn’t go crazy. I used East Kent Goldings and Saaz for a total IBU of 27-ish.

I used one packet of SafAle BE-134 and fermented at 72ºF. The yeast had been in my fridge for at least 2 years so I was concerned, but the airlock was showing activity with a few hours.

When fermentation was 80% complete I pureed three pounds of blackberry and strained it to remove the seeds. I heated the puree to 140ºF for twenty minutes. After chilling to room temperature I added the puree to the fermenter.

Blackberry puree

Fermentation was complete in only four days. I let it hang out in fermenter for another two days. Final gravity is 1.006 and the ABV is approximately 6%. I’m not sure how much fermentable sugar the blackberries added so it may be slightly stronger.

6% 27 IBU

This should be a good summer beer. It will be interesting to see what my friends think of it.

More Therapy

Another Hop Therapy is in the books . It’s batch #11 and features two New Zealand hops Waimea and Wai-iti.

These hops came from my Hop Box subscription via Yakima Valley Hops (YVH). They lend a fruity and citrus aroma/flavor. You can find detailed descriptions at YVH:

I fermented this batch with one of my favorite yeasts for IPAs, Lallemand’s Verdant IPA. I find this yeast complements fruity and citrus forward hops. I try to keep a fresh culture of this yeast on hand.

The malt bill is essentially the same as previous batches, but with a little Crystal for color (since I’m using Pilsner malt this time):

  • Weyermann Pilsner Malt – 80%
  • Flaked Oats – 8%
  • Avangard Wheat Malt – 8%
  • Briess Crystal 40 – 2%
Hop Therapy #11, 6% ABV


Here’s the latest iteration of my GWEN series

  • Avangard Wheat Malt – 52%
  • Weyermann Pilsner – 44%
  • Avangard Dark Munich – 4%

The brew day was uneventful and went as planned (rare). I used a lot of rice hulls in the mash which undoubtedly helped. For my G30 I always set my strike water temp to 5F above my mash-in temperature. I mashed at 152F for 60 minutes and then mashed out at 168F for 10 minutes.

I pitched a fresh culture of the Weihenstephaner yeast I harvested into my Grainfather Concial fermenter where I fermented at 69F for 14 days. Trub dumps were performed on day 4 & 10. I cold crashed for 2 days at 39F. On kegging day I harvested yeast and performed a pressure transfer to keg.

After about 3 weeks in the keg this brew is rather tasty and does lean more towards banana than clove; which I prefer. I’m going to have to brew this again quick, it’s going fast.