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Old 03-13-2014, 03:25 PM   #121
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I crushed the pellets once they had thawed out, then did a 3 min wash as recommended which worked much better than shaking frozen whole pellets in a jar of vodka, which didn't even change the color of the vodka.



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Old 03-17-2014, 10:24 AM   #122
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Okay, doing both leaf and pellet hops with sub-zero ethanol, the leaf extract liquid turned out a nice light yellow, while the pellet hops (which I did leave as pellets rather than smashing up, though I am not sure why I decided to do that) ended up a very dark green color. I have not yet evaporated away the ethanol.



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Old 03-23-2014, 03:47 PM   #123
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Last night I did a pretty unscientific test run, with 2 oz Everclear in 1 oz hallertau leaf in a french press (all about 0F from the freezer). I got some beautiful aroma, especially when I just dipped my finger in and licked it off (a direct sniff was obviously just booze smell). When I put about 1 tsp in my beer it translated pretty well to a big, big dry hop (also I got a little tipsy. but word has it I might have been already, since that's not very much extra alcohol).

The french press only got about 1 oz out, since obviously that's a lot of leaf. I then put the leaf in a hop bag and squeezed maybe out another 0.5 oz, and then I said what the hell and threw the hop bag in my fermenter along with the extract.

Since I added the leaf along with the extract this is pretty unscientific, as I said, but the beer I added it to is one half of a 9 gallon batch (two 5 gallon buckets) of a session (1.048) saison that I decided needed a little more dry hop kick. It's already below 1.000, so I'm going to go ahead and crash, gelatin and and bottle as soon as I think the leaf has had its chance to do some good. I'll taste again tonight and report back, along with tasting notes after bottling.

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Old 03-25-2014, 07:54 PM   #124
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OK--I haven't tried this bottled yet, but I have to say the ethanol lent a little more burn than I'd like in such a low-gravity beer, which is weird because my math says I only raised the ABV by about 0.3%. So I think that's something that may mellow. It's also hard to judge a small saison uncarbed because the carbonation is such a big part of a beer under 1.000 FG.

I did however blend the test sample with the "control", and that's reasonably pleasant already. But if I do this method again, I'll probably do it with a medium-to-high OG pale ale or maybe a big IPA where the alcohol burn has more to hide behind.

Burn aside, I get a pretty big whiff of hallertau from this, especially from the "test" batch alone, and that's not a hop that tends to punch you in the face. Certainly more punch than you'd get from 1 oz dry hop alone. I will try it again sometime, probably with centennial in a pale ale.

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Old 03-25-2014, 08:03 PM   #125
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@fearwig, that's great feedback! I'm getting more and more hopeful of this

I'm not brewing anything hop-forward again for probably another month, but when I do, I'm definitely going to give this a shot...

I especially like the idea of using this as a dry hop replacement. I'm hoping I can use hop extract after the beer is fully cleared so that I can pick up the aroma without adding haze/cloudiness.

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Old 03-25-2014, 08:52 PM   #126
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It may be that there is a sweet spot between the oxidation and blow-off that comes with thorough evaporation and adding the full volume of everclear. Maybe you'd even get a better result from vodka even with its worse selectivity, because I found the leaf was very dry with my 1:2 leaf:everclear ratio, which is why I gave in and dry hopped with the "leftovers".

I think I'd straight-up drink a vodka-proof hopped liquor, though. Maybe with tonic.

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Old 04-16-2014, 12:53 AM   #127
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OK, I'm enjoying one of these saisons now. It's nice. I don't know why I decided to give this a test run on a session saison with hallertauer, it's such a moderate variety I don't think it is a good testing ground. That said, it's good, and there's a good bit of hops character.

Rough recipe stats, for reference:
Batch: 9 gal
81% pilsner
19% sucrose
OG 1.048
FG 1.000
IBU 33.5
1oz Saaz T-90 8% 60 min
1oz Saaz T-90 8% 20 min
2oz Hallertauer 4.8% 5 min
1oz Saaz T-90 8% 5 min

1oz hallertauer extracted as described, then dry hopped with remainder.

I think there's a perception of bitterness well over 33 IBU and there was a profound yeast bite before it was completely conditioned (I always try a couple, sue me, it's a 9-gal batch). Now that the yeast has floc'd out it has mellowed and is very pleasant. If I repeated the recipe I'd add some lemon juice to the bottling bucket, it's great with a squeeze of lemon.

It's hard to isolate the source of the bitterness, but I can narrow it down to either the extract or the use of the remaining hops from the extract for dry hopping. Before bottling, I sampled both the extract-plus-dry hopped half of the recipe (two fermenters, they were mixed) and the un-dry hopped half, and the extract-plus-dry hopped half was considerably more bitter, specifically it had a sort of sharp bitterness not like that of boiled hops, more harsh and "cheap boozy" (maybe the Everclear?). The extract was not boiled, as I mentioned.

I did not notice a considerable bitterness in the extract itself, but it was 190 proof, so I wasn't exactly taking sips.

As I said, the yeast seem to have absorbed the unfavorable bitterness and taken it to the bottom of the bottle, so I don't have any lasting complaints at all, but my unscientific approach to the recipe means I don't have complete info. If I were to do it again, I'd probably work on a moderate-strength APA, dry hopping one half, and adding the extract to the other half. I would discard the remaining hops so I can isolate the flavor I noticed.

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Old 04-16-2014, 04:20 AM   #128
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Your observations are consistent with mine. I expect to kick my Columbus extract hopped red ale tonight. At first the beer was sharply bitter. I also did not boil the extract, just added it to the keg before racking the beer over. That sharpness mellowed out a lot after a few weeks in the keg and the beer is now pretty excellent.

I didn't do a control batch so I'm not sure how different it is due to the extract, but from memory of my previous batches of this recipe, the extract did make for a more bitter beer.



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