Monday, February 20, 2012

Brew Day: First Gold ESB

Earlier this month I was on HopsDirect looking for a few new varieties to try out, when I noticed they had UK First Gold hops in stock. Having only used a few ounces of this variety before and never in any discernible amount, I figured it would be a good hop to try out. A few descriptions online seemed to indicate they are a good substitute for EKG and possess a floral and spicy character. Other sources said they have a prominent orange-citrus type of flavor and that they are best suited for golden ales and pale bitters. It turns out this variety is a cross between Whitbread Goldings (another variety I have only used a few times) and a dwarf male. My recipe for today is quite simple, just Golden Promise and a very small amount of dark crystal malt. The hopping is all First Gold with an emphasis on the late additions for aroma and flavor - try and see if I can coax out those orange flavor/aromas - and a BU:GU ratio of around 0.83. The yeast is WLP006 Bedford Bitter, a strain that is fast becoming my favorite for English style bitters. Lastly, the aroma of the hops out of the package was absolutely wonderful - smelled like a sweet orange candy! Had I not known what hops these were, I would have guessed Amarillo or Centennial. I have high hopes for this one.

Part of the collection
First Gold ESB: Strong Bitter

Recipe Specifics:
Batch Size (Gal): 4.0
Total Grain (Lbs): 7.65
Anticipated OG: 1.048
Anticipated FG: 1.012
Anticipated SRM: 8
Anticipated IBU: 40
Efficiency: 70%
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

98.0% - 7.5 lbs. Golden Promise
2.0%   - 0.15 lbs. Dark Crystal - 150L

0.75 oz.First Gold @ 60 min for 28 IBU
0.50 oz. First Gold @ 15 min for 9 IBU
0.50 oz. First Gold @ 5 min for 4 IBU
1.0  oz. First Gold @ flameout

Yeast: WhiteLabs 006 Bedford Bitter
Brewed on 20 February


  1. I have brewed with First Gold a couple of times and that orangey thing is definitely there, it's just a shame that one of the beers I brewed with them didn't condition properly in the bottle (my fault). I will get round to brewing it again some time and really enjoy the First Gold.

  2. This is really interesting, when is it time for tasting?

    I am thinking of doing something similar but with a combination of first gold and amarillo.

    1. I hope to have this one in the keg by sometime this week, then a proper tasting a week or so after that. I took a little sample last week and the flavor was really nice. Definitely had a nice orange aroma/flavor going on. I would bet it would be great paired with amarillo!

    2. So, how did it turn out? I was thinking of doing the same type of beer.

    3. It turned out very well. The first gold character was really nice, everything I hoped for, and I'll be sure to keep these hops on hand for my UK style bitters.

      Here is the tasting:

  3. Hey, What amount of hops did you use in the keg hop?


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