This is cutting edge, live blogging: we brew our Green Hop Ale tomorrow for the first time, we've pre-sold a shed load of it and I haven't had time to thunk up a recipe. In fact, as far as I've got is deciding the strength, the 'abv': I fancied something on the robust side of 5% to handle the hop load but I'm conscious of a broader interest and have plumbed for a gentler 4.8%. Don't want to frighten anyone this time.
We're using East Kent Goldings, freshly picked early tomorrow morning, added late in the boil. That's a given. And we're going for 50kg (or 60 if I can get them in the pick-up truck, and later into the copper). These will provide the majority of the flavour - let's hope it's been a good season and aroma levels are high - we never do know what to expect until the brewing. It's all about the hops though, this particular beer is; fresh, green undried little beauties, freshly picked, creating a wonderfully fresh, crisp ale with all the fresh flavour of the season.
What malts shall we use to back up these hops? Hmm, let's keep it simple and let the lupulin shine through: Marris Otter Pale Ale Malt, say 90%; malted rye - I want to use this in large amounts as its crisp, spicy dryness would accentuate the crisp hop flavour I'm after, but I already used this technique on our Autumn Rye Pale Ale, and it would be wrong to over egg it, so I'll limit the rye influence to the background (but enough that I know it's there), say 2.5 g/l. In complete contrast Munich malt adds a little colour and residual malt sweetness so we'll bung some of that in the mash, say 10g/l, not very much really. Lastly, I can't resist the sacks of deliciously fruity, toffee-like caragold malt - they're begging to be opened so that's just what we'll do, we'll have some of that at 10g/l too.
There, that's the malt grist:
MOPA 375 kg
Caragold 10 g/l
Malted rye 6.3 g/l
Munich malt 10 g/l
We're after full, late hop character yet we don't want over powering bitterness: something fairly mellow and mild, say around the 28 IBU mark (that means it isn't very bitter), and I think we ought to use some hops grown locally, in Canterbury perhaps: the Redsell Cascades from last year for bitterness it is then. Right, plug the required mg/litre of alpha acid (bittering stuff - 84 in this case) into the old spreadsheet, along with varietal details and hey presto! 3.52 kgs into the copper at the start of the boil. Make it so Mr Stow.
Great, we've got a skeleton recipe, thanks for the help. We'll make the rest up on the day, it'll be more fun that way.
We're brewing this not just as our own hoppy harvest celebration but for the Broadstairs Food Fair in early October. It'll be going into bottles and I don't have a single day to spare, so if it rains tonight, we're up the creek.