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Old 03-09-2011, 07:27 PM   #1
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Default Single-Hop Red Ale

I'm trying my hand at putting together an Irish red to serve the dual purpose of using up some spare ingredients I've got lying around and also get a feel for a hop I've never tried and know nothing about (sonnet - 4%AA). After tinkering in BeerSmith, I've come up with the following 5.5gal extract batch:

Grains/Extracts:
6lb Pale LME (add with 15 minutes remaining on the boil)
1lb Pale DME
1lb Crystal 80L
~1-2oz Flaked Rye
1lb Honey (flameout)

Hops:
1oz Sonnet (steep with specialty grains)
1oz Sonnet (15 min)
1oz Sonnet (10 min)
1oz Sonnet (5 min)
1oz Sonnet (flameout)

Yeast:
WLP004 Irish Ale

Beersmith tells me it should come around the upper end of the Red scale for IBUs, which is OK since I figure the heavier hop load will give me a better idea of Sonnet's profile. The SG comes in somewhere around 1.064. Anyone have any suggestions or forsee any problem with the above?

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Old 03-10-2011, 01:26 AM   #2
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Firstly you shouldn't be adding hops during the steeping process. You should steep the grains at around 160 degrees fro 30 mins then heat up to boiling then add the DME bring to a boil, wait for the hot break, then start your hop additions. You wont get anything from adding hops during the steeping process

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Old 03-10-2011, 01:33 AM   #3
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I realize it's unorthodox; it was partly due to a discussion in a different thread regarding First Wort Hopping. I wanted to test whether one could try to simulate something similar by doing as I listed above. But fair enough; I may save that particular experiment for a partial mash down the road (with a bit more of a robust hop, too). Any other problems?

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Old 03-10-2011, 04:05 PM   #4
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There's nothing wrong with adding the hops during the steep. With all the other additions you'll never know if it actually did anything, but whatever go for it. You just may want to put them in a bag so they dont get stuck to the grain bag and you end up losing some.

That looks a bit hoppy for an irish red tho. Also, if you're going for honey flavor, use some honey malt instead of honey.

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Old 03-10-2011, 04:19 PM   #5
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Thanks; I was planning on using a hop bag to keep things separately contained. I know it's a bit on the high end for hops; I may actually just end up calling it a Red IPA and be done with it, since that tends to be my taste anyway.

Regarding the honey, it's less for flavor and more just because I have an extra pound of honey lying around that I really want to unload. Figured it couldn't really hurt to give it a bit of a gravitic boost.

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Old 03-10-2011, 04:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XpeedeeX View Post
Firstly you shouldn't be adding hops during the steeping process. You should steep the grains at around 160 degrees fro 30 mins then heat up to boiling then add the DME bring to a boil, wait for the hot break, then start your hop additions. You wont get anything from adding hops during the steeping process
How do you figure he won't get anything? The way I see it he will get high utilization of those hops, because of very low gravity of the solution he is steeping in. He is essentially making hop tea.

OP, you could always split this into two separate batches. Steep the Hops in one and in the other just do a standard bittering addition. Something along those lines anway. I'm curious to hear how it comes out.
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Old 03-10-2011, 05:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yankeehillbrewer View Post
How do you figure he won't get anything? The way I see it he will get high utilization of those hops, because of very low gravity of the solution he is steeping in. He is essentially making hop tea.

OP, you could always split this into two separate batches. Steep the Hops in one and in the other just do a standard bittering addition. Something along those lines anway. I'm curious to hear how it comes out.
I'd love to do that, and down the road I probably will just out of curiosity. Unfortunately I don't have the storage capacity right now to do a split batch (or, better yet, two 5-gallon batches!). I'll be doing the steeping method this evening.

To be honest, with this hop I doubt it'd make much difference simply because its alpha is so low to begin with. When I do a single-hop Calypso version later on it might be significantly more noticeable. Still, experimentation is always the best part of brewing! I'll update as things progress.
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Old 03-11-2011, 07:01 AM   #8
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FWIW, I brewed it up today, with no variation other than that due to slow boiling times on the stove top. Tastes malty, as one would expect, with a bit of roast. I'll be curious to see if the hops come out a bit stronger as time passes; I may dry-hop with another ounce or so just to get a feel for the hop itself, but we'll see how it's tasting in a week or two.

The hops themselves smelled grassy; not seeing the fruity notes that some have mentioned in the past, but perhaps that was an anomaly. I can see the comparisons to goldings being valid though; very earthy character on the surface at least.

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Old 03-22-2011, 04:24 AM   #9
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Well, after ten days in the bucket, the bubbles finally seemed done, so I dropped an extra ounce of Sonnet in for dryhopping and think I'll be ready to bottle next weekend or shortly thereafter. So far it has a very strong sweetness, a bit of a blend of malty plus honey. The hops are really quiet (as would be expected), although my last sample came prior to the dryhopping. I'll update again once it's had some time to condition and see if some flavor comes back out.

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Old 04-10-2011, 12:42 AM   #10
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Bottled for about a week now, so I'm testing a green bottle to see how things are progressing. Overall impressions: as expected, not exactly a lot of hoppiness. The aforementioned sweetness has thankfully calmed down a bit, settling into a very smooth drink. I suspect after a few more weeks of conditioning, this will be a very nice summer ale. Doesn't have as much malt as one would expect from a typical red; almost feels like a redder pale ale, as the color itself is spot-on.

I'll let things condition a bit more and post some thoughts on the hop itself, but at this stage, I stand by my initial impressions: it's a good hop for english styles, perhaps a sub for fuggles or goldings if needed.

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