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Old 10-01-2013, 08:30 PM   #1
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Default Achieving the SN Hop Profile?

I don't know about you but SN beers stick out in a very unique way. Something about the biting quality of the bitterness makes their beer noticeable in a pack hoppy beers. Doesn't matter if its Bigfoot, Beercamp, Torpedo, Celebration, etc.

I have read quite a bit about their methods, but have never been able to achieve quite the same results. So what's the key? I noticed that some clone recipes have 90-150 min boils and start with a hop like Chinook.

So my question is, is that profile attributed to boil time, hop selection, leaf hops, a combination of these things, or perhaps something else?



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Old 10-02-2013, 03:48 AM   #2
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To me, it's a combination of the bittering hop used, the amount of the bittering addition and the fact that they use whole hops.

http://www.sierranevada.com/beer/seasonal/celebration-ale/

Chinook, to me, really stands out in both Celebration and Bigfoot. The sharper bitterness with a grapefruit/pine edge is a big part of both beers. Hops with a more "course" bittering characteristic (Chinook, Columbus, etc.) give a different taste to the finished beer than a cleaner hop like Magnum, Warrior or Horizon.

If you haven't already done so, I'd encourage you to give the Sunday Session interview with Steve Dresler (Sierra Nevada's brewmaster):

http://thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/660

He discusses why they only use whole hops and what they do for the final product. I think that the whole hop use is part of their house flavor and why their beers taste different than the other 90% of American craft beers that use pellet hops.

The Can You Brew It episode on Celebration also discusses the flavor impact from whole hops: http://thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/717



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Old 10-02-2013, 03:57 AM   #3
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I always thought SN used Pearle up front and Cascade on the finish.

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Old 10-02-2013, 04:00 AM   #4
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Their water chemistry has to play a huge role as well.

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Old 10-02-2013, 06:08 AM   #5
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I was thinking hop extract for both bittering and 30 minute additions. But I've never used it before so I don't know what it tastes like. I just figure the convenience would be the only reason a large brewery with all the resources in the world would make all of their beers taste the same...

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Old 10-02-2013, 04:41 PM   #6
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Their pale ale tastes like straight up cascade to me. That's a huge part of the SNPA flavor to me .

SNPA on nitro is one of my favorite things in life

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Old 10-04-2013, 12:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZ_IPA View Post
Their water chemistry has to play a huge role as well.
+1



also for snpa, think magnum, perle, and cascade in that order

Also more yeast added for bottle conditioning
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Old 10-04-2013, 03:29 PM   #8
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The quality of ingredients plays a huge role. You guys are forgetting that the big craft breweries get super fresh hops. That's why they pay the big bucks for hop contracts. As home brewers, we just aren't getting hops that fresh. God knows how well they were handled and stored before they get to us. Maybe grow a crop of Magnum in your backyard to ensure that the hops are fresh and stored properly. SN uses Magnum for a bunch of their hoppy brews.

Someone also nailed another important point: water chemistry.

Yeast. They use their Chico strain which is known to compliment hoppy beers. Using WLP001 or the wyeast version will bring you closer (they don't use dry yeast so I'm leaving us05 out). You can't expect to get their hop profile if an English ale yeast is used, for example. Pitch rates also affect hop character. If you don't believe me do some research.

Finally, while dryhopping doesn't add any bitterness, it adds perception of bitterness. They use their proprietary Hop Torpedo for dryhopping and I'm sure this makes a significant difference in their hop profile when compared to homebrewers dryhopping procedures.

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Old 10-05-2013, 08:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IL1kebeer View Post
The quality of ingredients plays a huge role. You guys are forgetting that the big craft breweries get super fresh hops. That's why they pay the big bucks for hop contracts. As home brewers, we just aren't getting hops that fresh. .
Believe me you can get fresh hops....the quality of most of the pelletized available is very good. Or you can grow hops like me(outrageously easy to grow), and have a fresher supply that even the big brewers. You can literally take them off the oast and throw them into your wort.
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Old 10-05-2013, 08:37 PM   #10
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I believe they (rumor)have a proprietary hop they may use. The BYO magazine from winter/spring had some clone recipes from SN. I have brewed the Ruthless Rye twice. One of my fav's on tap from Chico is the 2 headed. It is Ruthless on steroids.



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