Monday, November 18, 2013

New Hop, Old Favorite

Back when I was drinking my way around the UK, one of the first English IPAs that I tried was Caladonia's Deuchars IPA. While most people these days would be hard pressed to consider anything under 6% abv worthy of the name IPA, back then Deuchars was a very nice beer with its floral, citrusy hops and diminutive 3.8-4.4% stature. For an evening spent at the pub, you could drink a lot of the stuff and the casks always seemed to be in good shape. That said, I always thought it tasted best after a few pints. Regardless, I've been wanting to brew an IPA along the same lines as Deuchars for a long time now and I'm finally ready to give it a go.

The recipe I am using is very simple, a mix of Maris Otter and Golden Promise with a small amount of torrified wheat and medium crystal. I want the beer to have a nice malt background, but without the heavy caramel flavors that many English IPA's seem to have these days. Also, as I will be keeping the gravity low (1.045), I want to keep the focus of the beer on the hops, which are a new UK variety from Charles Faram that had its first planting in 2012. Named Jester, this hop is supposed to showcase some of the fruity, citrusy, and "new-world" aromas and flavors found in American and Southern Hemisphere varieties. From what little info I could find, the only commercial beer that has been brewed with these hops so far (that I know of) was Moor's Empire Strikes Back and tasting notes from that beer indicate that it largely lives up to its intended character.  We'll see how it does in my beer. As for the yeast, I'll be using my favorite, WLP006 Bedford Bitter and using a fair amount of sulfate for the water, with a final profile around 150ppm sulfate, 30ppm chloride, and very low alkalinity. Should be good.
Galaxy-Nelson Session
Jester IPA: English IPA

Recipe Specifics:
Batch Size (Gal): 5.00
Total Grain (Lbs): 8.75
Anticipated OG: 1.045
Anticipated FG: 1.010
Anticipated SRM: 6
Anticipated IBU: 42
Efficiency: 70%
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

51.4% - 4.50 lbs. Pale Malt, Golden Promise
40.0% - 3.50 lbs. Pale Malt, Maris Otter
5.7%  - 0.50 lbs. Torrified Wheat
2.9%  - 0.25 lbs. Crystal 55L

0.50 oz. Challenger @ 60 min for 14 IBU
1.00 oz. Jester @ 20 min for 15 IBU
1.50 oz. Jester @ 10 min for 13 IBU
3.00 oz. Jester @ flameout

Yeast: WhiteLabs 006 Bedford Bitter
Mash 154F for 60 min
Brewed on 17 November


  1. Is that hop commercially available yet. I think I was reading in the hops book that Uk breeders dismissed a few varieties 30-40 yrs ago because they were too citrusy and american in style. I hope there are more new UK hop varieties in the pipeline.

    1. I don't believe this hop is available yet and I haven't found another beer brewed with it, but I have been told there are a few other UK varieties in development that have a similar 'citrusy' character. Its just a shame it takes so much longer for them to come to the market....the UK hop development programs seem to be a bit lacking in that regard.

      On the American side of things, we too are starting to rediscover some of our own varieties that were once considered too intense. Columbia, for instance, is the sister of Willamette - bred for AB - but shelved for years. From the beers I've tried with it, is has a very nice citrus and light pine type flavor.

    2. I think they have had their problems, Wye college was closed down several years ago and thats where most of the hop breeding went on, i think now its collection which is probably the best in the world as they had been going since the early 1900's has been transferred to a private set up. Still it seems the hop acreage in UK has declined to quite a degree, hope some new varieties get more growers interested.

  2. This looks great. I really like Deuchar's and would love to be able to get it in North America.

    I've tried to view something comparable to it a couple of times, but I find that I've been having an enormous amount of trouble producing good hop flavour with 15 or 10 minute additions in pale English-style ales. Instead, I end up with pretty muddy hop flavour laced with some slightly unpleasant astringency.

    I'm thinking that this is likely to be a water chemistry problem. My water has a good deal of alkalinity in it (I think about 120 ppm as CaCO3), which, it seems, you're trying to eliminate in this batch. I use the EZ water spreadsheet, distilled water, and salts to try to get the estimated PH in the 5.4-5.6 range, but maybe I just need to start from mostly distilled water and build up the calcium, chloride, and sulfates?

    1. It certainly sounds like your water could be to blame. I had similar problems using my tap water (which is about 2x as hard as yours) and only resolved those issues after I switched to using RO water for all of my beers. Water chemistry is undoubetedly complicated stuff, but whatever I am doing has been working great... it seems like water is the only aspect of my brewing that I no longer worry about.

      As for that, I started out adjusting my water with the EZ spreadsheet, but honestly, I had nothing but problems with it. While using it, my mash PH was always way off and I was having to add all sorts of brewing salts to get it back in line. I switched to using Bru'N Water and it has a life saver. It took some time to figure out how to use the spreadsheet and the chemistry behind it, but my mash PH has since been dead on and I like how easily it allow for dilution calculations.

      Right now for my pale-hoppier beers I've been using 100% RO water for the whole beer and the only salts I add are CaS04 and CaCl2. Thats usually works to a profile around 75ppm Ca, 0-5ppm Mg, 8-12ppm Na, 150+ppm S04, 30-40ppm Cl, with Bicarb and Alk close to zero. Salts are added to the mash and sparge water only. If I need it, I'll treat my sparge water with lactic acid to get the PH under 6, but it rarely ever needs it. (It is usually less than a tsp when it does). I aim for a mash PH of 5.4 and am usually right on target. Sometimes I'll have to mash in with an oz or two of acidulated malt for pale beers.

      Hope that helps...

    2. Thanks a bunch! I'll give that a try next time I find the time to make a batch...


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