Dec 2 2011

Wet Hop Ale – Hopped Hard and Put Up Wet – Barlow Brewing

I’m horrendously behind on blog posts, so I wanted to get this one out about the wet hop ale that I brewed a few months ago.

The quick background on this is that hops are quickly dried after harvest to reduce their perishability. But they can be taken fresh off the vine and used immediately in a beer. The effect is that the beer will have a very, very fresh hop flavor and aroma. When one of the local homebrew stores extended the offer of wet hops, how could I say no?

So I ordered a pound of Amarillo, and a pound of Citra wet hops. When harvest time came around, they could only get in Amarillo hops, so I ended up getting 2 pounds of that. Having no idea what I wanted to do with them, I figured I could either make a American pale ale, in order to really maximize the effect of the hops, or I could make a malty IPA base in an attempt at a balanced beer. I decided to go with the IPA base but, in the end, that didn’t seem to matter at all.

So I went with my usual IPA base, Maris Otter, which I prefer over American 2-row for this style for a fuller and nuttier malt flavor, and some Munich and crystal malts. I wanted a firm bitterness, too, but I had to do that with pellet hops since the wet hops are only good for late additions to the boil. For that, I used an ounce of 13.1% AA Magnum hops for 60 minutes.

The Amarillo hops finally came in and the volume of hops, which I knew would be absurd, was…absurd. I’ve been growing my own hops for many years, but I’ve never used that much in one batch.


A few of the Amarillo wet hops


Back to the grind


In an attempt try to keep my system from clogging up forever, I put the hops into bags for the boil.

While weighing out the hops, I discovered that I had over 2 pounds of wet hops, so I threw 5 oz in the mash just for giggles. The rest of the hops were broken into two 14 ounce charges. One went in with 10 minutes left in the boil, for flavor, and the other at flame out, for aroma. It sounds like a lot, and it is, but weights are deceiving. It seems to be a given that 5 ounces of wet, and therefore heavier, hops equal an ounce of the dried cones.

The only real concern for me was the amount of wort that I knew the hops would absorb. To counteract that, I started with 8 gallons of 1.053 wort. In the end, that was still too little because after evaporation and absorption, I was only left with 5 gallons in the carboy. My only real screw up of the day was forgetting to put Whirlfloc into the boil, but this beer probably would have been insanely murky no matter what I did.


Check out the crazy oils just floating on the top of this beer.

The wet hop IPA in the glass

I tried to turn this around as quickly as possible since this type of beer diminishes quickly. I let it sit in primary for a little over 2 weeks, although I did cold crash it during the last three days, and then bottled it right out of primary.

How did it turn out? I really like this beer, and I’ve gotten very positive feedback from friends and other brewers about it. But it was nothing at all like I had expected. I knew there would be some grassiness in the beer, but the grass was big and dank. And I knew that hops and marijuana were closely related, but this beer removes all doubt.

My biggest takeaway was that the wet hops just laminated over my malt and bittering hops. The bitterness from the charge of magnum was non-existent, and all the delicious British malt that I put into the beer just disappeared, too. The hop oils took over and dominated the beer. But not in a deeply bitter, and hugely citrus American way. In a way that was earthy, moist, and dank. Strange, but strangely addictive. But it led to no munchies.

I’ll try to make another one next year. Perhaps on an APA base. Damn the torpedoes, and all.


Hopped Hard and Put Up Wet – (Amarillo Wet Hop IPA)
Starting Gravity: 1.065 (9/5/11)
Final Gravity: 1.012 (9/21/11) 16 Days
7.0% alcohol (by volume)
Apparent Attenuation: 80.6%
Real Attenuation: 66.0%

(60 minutes ~152º)
12 lb Maris Otter Pale Malt 2-row
1.0 lb Munich Malt
1.0 lb Crystal 20L Malt
4.0 oz Crystal 60L Malt

5.0 oz Amarillo Leaf Wet Hops (Mash)
1.0 oz Magnum Pellet Hops (13.1% AA) (60 min)
14.0 oz Amarillo Leaf Wet Hops (10 min)
14.0 oz Amarillo Leaf Wet Hops (0 min)
½ tsp Brewer’s Choice Wyeast Nutrient Blend (Boil – 10

(68º F) Crashed down to ~35F during the last 3 days
Safale 05 – 2 packets

( º F)

“WH” on caps

8 gallons of 1.053 collected pre-boil