Straight from the field to the brewery — it’s fresh hop season! Fresh hops have a distinctive flavor profile unique from those brewed with dried or pelletized hops. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we produce a vast majority of American hops; you’ll quickly see breweries across the PNW adding fresh hop beers to their tap lists.
There are many reasons fresh hop beers are unlike any other. Hops must be used within 24 hours of harvest to preserve their rare character, making it imperative for farmers and breweries stay in constant communication. To prepare, breweries must start up the Mash Tun before the hops are harvested. Mash Tun is a brewhouse vessel used for mixing the ground malt (grist) with temperature-controlled water. This is called “mashing” and the porridge-like result is called the “mash.” By adding the fresh hops to the mash, you can perpetuate the hops flavor, drive up the IBUs and limiting wort absorption in the kettle.
Fresh hops are far less concentrated than dried or pelletized hops; typically you’ll need about 6 ounces of fresh hops for every ounce of dry hops in your recipe. Fresh hops produce a beer less bitter than those made with dried hops, and have less of a bite, with a fresh, herbal, or “green” flavor. Fresh hops will produce slightly different results from year to year, but if your brewing process is sound, the worst case scenario is fresh, vibrant beer!
The best option for homebrewing with fresh hops is to grow your own. Pick up some hop rhizomes – the root cuttings from a mature hop plant – from a homebrew supply shop. This is a great option for getting started and if you share with a few homebrewing neighbors, you can maximize your variety of options. Whether you’re challenging yourself with new hopping techniques or brewing your favorite annual fresh hopper we suggest using 1087-PC Wyeast Bohemian Ale Blend from the Harvest Cellar collection, in this beautiful recipe created by our Quality and Regulatory Compliance Manager,Robert Beezer.
FRESH HOP DOUBLE IPA
Final volume: 5 gal. (19 L)
15 lbs (6.80 kg) Two-row pale malt
0.5 lbs (0.23 kg) crystal 40L
0.5 lbs (0.23 kg) Munich 20L
3 oz (85 g) Columbus pellets 15 AA – boil 90 mins
1 oz (28 g) Centennial pellets 10 AA – boil 45 mins
2.0 lbs (0.91 kg) of Fresh Hops – flameout
2-3 Activators Wyeast 1087-PC Bohemian Ale Blend
*Wyeast recommends pitching direct when using a blended culture to preserve culture ratios
Mash grains at 150 °F (65.5 °C) for 60 minutes. Collect 7 gallons (26.5 L) of wort and boil for 90 minutes to volume of approximately 6 gallons (22.7 L). Use commercial pellet hops for boil additions to assure proper IBUs are achieved. Collect all wet hops in large muslin bag, add at flameout, and allow to steep for 30 mins. A blend of aromatic hops is desired for the wet hop addition but varieties are dependent on availability. Expect to lose about 1 gallon (3.8 L) of wort when removing wet hops. Ferment at 68 °F (20 °C)until FG is reached.