I've been brewing for about a year and I'm completely all-in. I moved to all grain after only 3 batches. I'm kegging. I've got a temp controlled lager fridge. I'm loving brew days and I'm really enjoying my beer. BUT, the problem is, I've been pretty much using the same few hops for the past year. I'd really like to educate myself about different hop varieties, but I don't really want to risk a full batch on a single hop recipe. So, I'm toying with this idea. And sorry, this thread got long...enjoy a home brew while reading if you decide to go through with it.
I'd like to, in one day, brew several 2 gallon hop-bomb, single hop IPAs using different hops for each batch, but the same master wort - just to get an idea what each hop tastes like on it's own. I'd use 3 different kettles. One to boil the wort and the other 2 to do the separate hop additions. I wouldn't mess with bittering additions. Just do 20 minute, 10 minute, and flame out additions for each hop batch to keep it simple. I'd load up those late additions to bring the IBUs up to 60-65. So this experiment would be for flavor/aroma only. A bittering project may be down the road.
The idea is that I'd boil 6 gallons of wort in my 10 gallon kettle. Probably not get fancy. Maybe skip all-grain and just go extract with some crystal. Keep the malt bill simple. Basically, I'd come up with a basic malt recipe for a 12 gallon batch. I'd boil 6 gallons of wort for 30 minutes (with the intention of diluting up with fresh water like you'd do on a smaller scale with an extract recipe).
In addition to the regular burner, where the 10 gallon kettle would be boiling, I have two 5 gallon kettles and a separate dual gas burner. Once the 6 gallons has boiled for 30 minutes, I'd remove 2 gallons of wort and put 1 gallon of wort into each of the two 5 gallon kettles, which would be topped off with an extra 1 gallon of water (bringing the volume to 2 gallons in each kettle). The remaining wort would stay in the 10 gallon and continue to simmer. I'd then boil each of the 2 gallon batches for 20 minutes with the following schedule:
20 minute hop addition (amount depending on AA%)
10 minute hop addition (amount depending on AA%)
flame out addition (amount depending on AA%)
* No bittering addition. I'd try to hit 60-65 IBUs for each batch and 1.057 target gravity.
I'd keep the master wort boiling in the 10 gallon kettle and repeat the process twice. Basically, boil two 2 gallon batches at the same time on the dual gas burner, 3 times - adding a gallon of water to each.
I'm in New England, so after each 20 minute boil, I'd transfer to a plastic fermenter and cover and wait for it to chill outside naturally. In freezing temperatures, 2 gallons should chill quickly enough in a bucket. When all is said and done, I'd have six 2 gallon single hop batches. I'd pitch some clean ale yeast in all.
After 2 weeks in primary, I was planning (for simplicity sake) to throw in some dry hop right in the primary fermenter. I know it's not ideal but transferring to another container to dry hop 6 separate batches would just be too much of a pain, but I do want to try and dry hop all of them. After another week, I'd bottle them all up and let them condition. That would leave me with 6 different single hopped IPAs with the same malt bill. They'd all be ready at the same time, and I could even sit down with friends and have a hop tasting. I'm assuming I could even mix them in a glass to help formulate new hop combinations when designing recipes.
So, it seems like a good idea, and a good way to learn about different hop varieties and combinations. I'm probably going to do this in 2 weeks. Has anyone done anything similar? Anyone have feedback/suggestions? And, more importantly, I'd like to use very different hops that would cover different flavor profiles. I wouldn't want to do, say, a Galaxy and a Citra since they are similar in flavor profile. I'd like to use very different hop varieties to cover flavor profiles like pine, citrus, floral, etc. So, any suggestions there? Remember, these batches don't need to taste GOOD on their own. I just want bottles of single hop beers to distinguish different flavor/aroma hops from others and mature my palate.