Brewing Results Are In!

Posted on 08.06.08 8:38PM under Alcohol, All-Grain, Brewing, Hops, IPA, Stout, Tasting

Three weeks ago, I made two beers. One was an IPA, called Newport Jazz Fest. It is bittered with Newport hops I got from Northern Brewer.com a while back when the panic of hop shortage first hit me. The panic has passed, but the hops remain. I am still not sure when I’ll use those Pride of Ringwood hops I have… The other beer was a Stout, called Midnight Moon Stout. Named after a “Jack and Annie” Magic Treehouse book, and my daughter drew the label for me.

First the IPA. Mostly base malt. A little crystal and some DME and corn sugar to boost the OG. Bittered with Newport, and hopbursted* with Cascade and Willamette. The DME I had was Amber, not Extra Light so the color ended up a bit dark at 13 SRM. No big deal. The OG was 1.066. The FG came in low at 1.008. That US-05 doesn’t quit. The IBU are about 72. ABV ends up 7.6%.

My idea was to copy the hoppy deliciousness of the LabBREW Pale Ale (hopburst* with Amarillo and Cascade). This was not quite the case, but it is very close. I think that Amarillo is a tastier hop for Pales and IPAs than Willamette. The Willamette is perhaps too delicate and flowery for a big assertive bitter beast like my IPAs. More on that later.

Overall, I think that the Newport is pretty good. It has a fairly high alcohol, but is not oppressively boozy. The hop flavor could be better, but is still excellent and contributes nicely to the experience. The color is a little distracting. But all in all, at the end of the glass, I am left wanting another one. That’s a sign of a good beer.

Second the Stout. Lots of Chocolate Malt. Lots of Roasted Barley. All Willamette hops, and lots of them. I hopbursted* this one, too, just to see what would happen if you hopburst a stout. This is an off-the-scale dark beer at 62 SRM. The OG was 1.050, which should give me about 1.010 for FG and around 5% ABV. But I mashed too high and ended up with FG 1.024, or 3.4% ABV. I also racked up over 50 IBU for this one.

My concept for this was to see how an all-Willamette Stout would come out, and also how would that work with a ton of black malts that I like in my Stouts. In a way the black malts are verging on too strong, but then again, “almost too strong” is often what I like in beer. And I think that the Willamette hops work really nicely with Stouts. Their fingerprint is subtle enough to not clash with the malts, but also strong enough to make their presence known. Even their aroma meshes well with the roastiness of the malts.

Overall, I think that the Midnight Moon is pretty good. The flavor is big and intense: roasty, smoky, and bitter – on the same scale as Espresso. The hops are maybe a little overdone, as the hop flavor is so strong it tends to take away a little from the roast flavor. And it could benefit from a little more alcohol, for a slightly more robust feel. Believe it or not, there’s a part of this beer that is somewhat watery where it should be sharp and dry from alcohol.

All in all, I can’t complain. I like these beers a lot. So much that I think I might make them again for my next brew session, with some tweaks per my self-feedback above. For the IPA, I am out of Newport, so that will change, but I also will use Amarillo instead of Willamette, and maybe try to mash a little higher to get a higher FG. And I have Extra Light DME now. For the Stout, I will probably use a more traditional hopping schedule, and end up using a lot less hops for the same basic result. I will also make sure I mash lower so I get better attenuation and thus more alcohol.

*Hopburst means using a lot of hops at the end of the boil, generally in the last 20 minutes, so that a lot of hop flavor and aroma ends up in the beer. You get some bitterness from these late additions just from using a lot of hops, and normally in a hopburst beer, bitterness from traditional bittering hop additions made at the start of the boil is minimized. Hop bitterness comes from hop isomerization, which happens in proportion to the amount of time that the hops are boiled for. The result is an intensely hop-flavored concoction with smooth bitterness.

Read Comments

  1. Posted by BobbyO on 08.06.08 9:54 PM

    Sounds like I would like the Newport… can’t wait to try one ;)

  2. Posted by Keith Brainard on 08.08.08 9:49 PM

    You will have your chance. But you have to try them both.

  3. Posted by BobbyO on 08.09.08 6:56 PM

    Oh, alright… if I have to. ;)

  4. Posted by BobbyO on 08.15.08 9:05 PM

    Turns out they’re both yummy, in very different ways. The stout is thick and chewy, with a distinct sweetness that complements the hoppiness quite nicely. The IPA is, in my opinion, one of the best brews you’ve made to date. It has a much better flavor balance than the LabBrew (which I thought was way too monochromatically hoppy). I found myself drinking it rather quickly, and made a concerted effort to slow down during the second half of the glass so that I could enjoy it longer. There’s a good recommendation: a beer so good you want to guzzle it down!

  5. Posted by Keith Brainard on 08.16.08 2:02 PM

    Thanks for the positive feedback, Bob!