My man Dawson has been talking about patience over on The Beer Engine.
Drink those beers NOW!
Well, I should mention that Mr. Dawson was talking about a Russian Imperial Stout. He may be on to something with this patience thing. The beers I’m referring to ride another line of lightning.
I’m talking about beers that use a heavy does of aroma hops. Particularly IPA’s and Pale Ales. I recently made two IPA’s on the lower side of the style’s ABV range. The Back in the Bag IPA which I posted about a month or so ago, and a beer I brewed shortly after which I dubbed Citra Bomb IPA (as it used 8 oz. of Citra hops). Both beers relied on finishing hops, or aroma hops to give them their steez. More so the Citra than the BIAB recipe.
The thing ab0ut these hops that give us the citrus, mango, grapefruit, fruit loop, etc qualities is that they lose their potency rather quickly. I’ve had this happen too many times. I wait a week or two too long to tap the beer. The first rounds of pints taste as I expect, then within days the beer starts to lose that edge; the citrus, mango, grapefruit etc turns to bitterness, grassyness and earthy overtones. The beers still drank good, but they’re a far cry from what I want.
The solution? Ferment these beers quick, cold crash them, carb, and tap fast with plenty of friends around.
For both the Back in the Bag and Citra Bomb I used healthy amounts of US-05, but fermented on the cool side at about 63 degrees. This allowed the beer to ferment quickly, but clean. Primary fermentation was done for both beers in 7 days (beers were brewed about 5 days apart, but the schedule was the same for both). I left both batches sit for about 4 more days, then on day 12 I added Biofine to assist in clarifying the beers, and placed them into my converted chest freezer for 2 days to cold crash at about 46 degrees. On day 15 I transferred the beers to kegs and started carbing them at 30 psi…I did this for 2 days. After releasing excess C02, I turned the psi down to 10, and then let the beers sit for another 2 days. I tapped both beers respectively on about the 21st day after I brewed them.
So, a 3 week turn around. In my opinion, they are two of the best beers I have ever brewed. I say this because they ended up tasting exactly as I had hoped. The hops were on full display and I felt that I was drinking the beers at their peak.
My take away is that beers that feature some of the more trendy aroma hops like Citra, Amarillo, Simcoe, Apollo, and even standards like Cascade, Centennial, Chinook and Columbus should be fermented fast and clean, cold-crashed/clarified hardcore, and served in quick turn-around. The result is going to be a beer that really shows off the “hop forward” quality you may be looking for. Also, be prepared to share these beers. The goal is to drink them at their peak, and this can be a matter of week/weeks, so get it into the hands of friends, family and so forth so they too can enjoy the fruits of your labor.
3 gallons of Back in the Bag got cashed on a fishing trip with 6 other guys. 5 gallons of Citra Bomb has been handed out via two full growlers and plenty of generous pours at home. The beers went fast..and that as the point. Cheers.