New Zealand Hops, Bottling, and My Brett Collection

Big news! I received a box of New Zealand hops from Farmhouse Brewing Supply today! Better yet, four of the varieties were hops I’ve never used/smelled or even chewed on!

Of course I thought it would be fun to bust them open and record my initial impressions, then look up the descriptors for each & smell them again to see if I could pick those things out.

Riwaka 5.2% AA – Got a little spice followed by fruity. A little grassy with a very present citrusy watermelon note. It’s described as a big grapefruity citrus ride. I may be identifying that big note as watermelon-like. Riwaka seems like a very intriguing little hop.

Wakatu 7% AA – Starts a little earthy/musty then goes big artificial cherry. I’m very excited about this hop. Its descriptors are rounded floral with hints of lime. I’d still lean more towards cherry, but an awesome hop nonetheless. Can’t wait to use it!

Southern Cross  12.7% AA – They use this hop in Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere. Hits me mostly grassy with a little unidentifiable fruit. Supposed to be citrus and spice but I’m getting more grass/earth and I’m not blown away by it.

Topaz 16.4% AA – I get a hint of peacheyness followed by slightly dank grassy notes. Descriptors are earthy and lychee. I’ve never had lychee that I know of. Mostly get earthy/grassy. Should be fine for bittering.

Other than burying my poor nose in crazy new NZ hops, I bottled 3 batches in the last 2 days. Cleaning & sanitizing all those bottles in my kitchen sink is not my favorite thing in the world but it did give me a chance to catch up on a decent amount of Brewing Network Sunday Sessions. I have to get a chest freezer & more kegging equipment sooner or later though. Just to preserve my sanity.

All 3 batches were decent or better at the time of bottling. The 6/23 Tripel was nothing mind-blowing from the bucket. Tasted a little grainy. I’m hoping it develops a little in the bottle. The 6/14 Dubbel had promise. A little burnt raisin aroma. Looking forward to that carbing up. The 6/27 Nelson Sauvin Pale was pretty nice. Firm bitterness and plenty of hoppyness. A little cloudy from all the late & dry hopping, but pleasant out of the bucket. So far I’m thinking a touch more crystal/sweetness could be nice, but the point of the beer was a clean canvass to experience the marvelous Nelson hop. In that category I did not disappoint!

I’m still tinkering with names for all 3 beers. My lovely girlfriend wasn’t too impressed with my initial naming efforts. Dubbel For Nothing earned a blank stare. Raisin The Roof is being reserved for a future effort with raisins. The Tripel seemed a little bland so it may spend its days known as The Agnostic.

My other mission of the day was getting all 3 year-round Brett strains (B, C, L) from White Labs stepped up and/or into starters. I’m not entirely sure what Bretted out experiment I’ll pursue in the coming weeks just yet. I’m still shaping a plan to use all 3 as 100% Brett fermentations on the same base recipe. Feel free to comment on what style of grain bill you’d lean towards, dear readers.

Brett B had quite a turpentine-esque aroma and Brett C is looking especially fun. I’d be worried if it weren’t Brett. And even still I’m a little worried.

Speaking of fun with Brett, I checked in on Sink Spoon Rye IPA today as well. Sink Spoon is the 100% Brett batch on WLP644 Brett B Trois that I brewed with Joe 12 days ago. The gravity is down to 1.020 at room temp and there is definitely some delightful funk in the aroma. No sign of sink-related bacteria acting wild.

That’s all this mild-mannered homebrewer has to report for now. I’ll probably tinker around with a recipe for a New Zealand hopped version of Union Jack IPA tonight. One can never have too many IPAs.

Alright, I’m out. Be well y’all. 🙂

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