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Cascade Focused Ale

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storunner13

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So I've just received 2 pounds of Cascade leaf hops from a local grower here near Minneapolis (Hippity Hops Farms). They are organic and look fantastic!

I plan on using 1 pound intermittently in various brews. However I wanted to use the other pound to really highlight the character of the hops--because why not?

First thought was an all-organic CDA:
11 lbs. Briess Organic 2-Row
4 lbs. Briess Organic Munich
0.75 lbs. Briess Organic Caramel 20L
0.25 lbs. Briess Organic Caramel 120L
1 lb. Briess Organic Roasted Barley 300L

OG = 1.066 at 70% Efficiency. SRM = 26

2oz Cascade - FWH
3oz Cascade - 60 min
1oz Cascade - 5 min
1oz Cascade - Whirlpool
1oz Cascade - Dry Hop
(All hops are 5.5%AA)
IBU = 65

Any comments on this fairly straight forward recipe? I know I would make some tweaks if I wasn't going the 'organic' route--but I thought it would be novel and fun to have an "Organic" brew on tap.


I'd also like to brew another lighter ale (or maybe even a lager) that highlights these hops--however, I'm wondering if using ONLY Cascade will be a bit too one dimensional. I understand that using a single hop will let you pick out the specific characteristics--but I'm looking for a hop schedule that would enhance the Cascade aroma and flavor. Ideas?
 

mrdauber64

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Most CDA's don't contain roast, so maybe sub the Roasted Barley for Midnight Wheat. That will give you the color without the roastiness. Otherwise your hop schedule looks good.
 

Yooper

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I'm not crazy about the hops schedule. I think it'll be too bitter, and without all the great cascade flavor. I'd move some of the FHW or bittering hops to much later in the boil.

Like this:

1 oz cascade bittering (60 minutes)
1 oz cascade FWH (60 minutes) (if you're doing both FWH and 60 minute hops- I usually just do the FWH and not 60 minute hops as well)
1 oz Cascade - 15 minutes
1 oz cascade 10 minutes
1oz Cascade - 5 min
1oz Cascade - Whirlpool
1-2 oz Cascade - Dry Hop 7 days


A pound of roasted barley will make an intensely roasted stout, though, so you won't taste the hops anyway. If you want more of a pale ale, I'd leave out the roasted barley for sure. If you want dark color, you could try dehusked carafa III or sinimar, but I don't know if they come in organic.
 

DirtyOldDuck

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I'd also like to brew another lighter ale (or maybe even a lager) that highlights these hops--however, I'm wondering if using ONLY Cascade will be a bit too one dimensional. I understand that using a single hop will let you pick out the specific characteristics--but I'm looking for a hop schedule that would enhance the Cascade aroma and flavor. Ideas?
There is a reason Cascade hops are so popular - they taste great. Check out Da Yooper's House Pale Ale in the recipe section, it uses all Cascade hops. I've got 5.5 gallons merrily fermenting away right now. I also make what I think of as my back-to-basics IPA (just 2 row, C-30L, and a little cara-pils) with just Cascade hops, although for the last 10 gallon batch I used Magnum to bitter and dry hopped 5 gallons of it with Cascade and Centennial instead of just Cascade. Personally, I think that unless you are interested more in being trendy and only using some of the popular new varieties of hops, it's hard to go wrong using Cascade hops in some type of pale ale.
 

beersk

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I agree with Yooper. I love black IPA's and use Blackprinz for mine. It's very smooth, with nice roast flavor. Doubt it's organic though.
 

The-Baron-of-Charnwood

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If you really want to highlight the hops, I'd go with a standard IPA. I'd drop the roasted malt, the 120C addition, and the munich malt to simplify the malt profile and really bring the hops to the forefront. You could add some flaked barley or carapils to ensure a good head.
 

julioardz

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I've been playing around with this New Albion recipe. I've done a steam beer, a light lager, and a saison with equal amounts of cascade added at 60, 30, and 15 minutes. That's it. No other flavor or aroma additions, and I have been very happy with the results. It's nice going from very complicated hop schedules and grainbills to doing some simplified recipes. The lighter lager and saison were around 1.047 OG and I used .3 oz of cascade for each addition, again at 60, 30, and 15 mins. I feel this schedule balances out the flavor and bitterness of the cascade well. I would adjust the IBU for different beers and definitely dry hop and/or add some cascade at flameout for an IPA or other hop heavy beer.
 
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I've got a CDA/Black IPA/American Dark Ale/Whatever conditioning at the moment - I used a little bit of dehusked CarafaIII and a little bit of Midnight Wheat and that seemed to get the color I was going for without it being overly "roasty." So I'd at least reduce your roasted barley significantly.

I'm also on board with the idea that you have a ton of hops in the FWH/60min area and shifting them toward the end of the boil will make your beer more "hop focused" rather than just bitter. I know you want to use all cascade...but having a neutral high AA hop at the start of the boil will give you a ton of IBUs without having to spend lots of scratch on hops OR worrying about tons of hop matter in your boil kettle. Still, later in the boil = more delicious flavor and aroma.

Hope it turns out swell!
 
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storunner13

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DirtyOldDuck--I DO plan on brewing Da Yooper's House Pale ale with these hops. I've had great success with it the last two times I've brewed it!

Yooper--I've noticed that my FWHed beers are much less bitter than those with a standard bittering addition. I taste about 1/2 the IBUs when I've only had FWH. I understand that the bitterness is supposed to be "smoother" but it's lacking the lingering bitterness from a standard addition IMO. Sometimes I think I should just stop using FWHops in my beers! Unless I'm missing something?

I WAS excited to brew an all organic CDA, but the more I think about it, I should just be honest with myself and realize that it can't easily be done. I think I'll brew an organic IPA (2 row, Munich Caramel 20L) with a hop schedule Yooper suggested (Too bitter would drown out the hop flavor):

I should have noted before that this is a 6 gallon batch!
2oz Cascade - 60 min
1oz Cascade - 15 min
1oz Cascade - 10 min
1oz Cascade - 5 min
2oz Cascade - Whirlpool
1oz Cascade - Dry Hop
(All hops are 5.5%AA)
IBU = 45

I'll try the CDA another time--probably with Midnight Wheat. I've used it in a sour and a RIS, --I love the soft roasted character it gives! Then again--I haven't compared it to any of the Special Carafas...

I appreciate the comments!
 

Yooper

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Yooper--I've noticed that my FWHed beers are much less bitter than those with a standard bittering addition. I taste about 1/2 the IBUs when I've only had FWH. I understand that the bitterness is supposed to be "smoother" but it's lacking the lingering bitterness from a standard addition IMO. Sometimes I think I should just stop using FWHops in my beers! Unless I'm missing something?
If you don't get the firm bitterness you need, and don't notice a difference in the flavor from a FWH addition, I'd definitely skip it! I use FWH a lot, and like the beers I brew from it. I'm wondering about your water chemistry- if you have super soft water, pehaps that's why you're getting a softer bitterness than I do with the same amount of hops and FWH.

I'm all about results, and what works for you. If it's not working well, then I'd just go with what does work.
 
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storunner13

storunner13

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While I haven't requested a recent update on the water here in MPLS--our water generally is very soft. Here's a profile from two years ago:

Calcium (ppm) 28
Magnesium (ppm) 6
Alkalinity as CaCO3 58
Sodium (ppm) 16
Chloride (ppm) 33
Sulfate (ppm) 9
Water pH 8.5

It results in Cl- to SO4 ratio that's TOO malty. I have since been adjusting my water with Gypsum (and whatever else it needs) but my most recent IPA (found here--upgrading to BeerSmith SOON) was still lacking the lingering bitterness I'm looking for. I'm not a light bodied, harsh, West Coast IPA fan, but I like good body and strong bitterness (New Glarus IPA? Black Top? still some of my favorites.)

And a note to the Baron--I'm not too worried about head retention--my beers with lots of hops tend to have a huge fluffy head!
 

Yooper

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While I haven't requested a recent update on the water here in MPLS--our water generally is very soft. Here's a profile from two years ago:

Calcium (ppm) 28
Magnesium (ppm) 6
Alkalinity as CaCO3 58
Sodium (ppm) 16
Chloride (ppm) 33
Sulfate (ppm) 9
Water pH 8.5

It results in Cl- to SO4 ratio that's TOO malty. I have since been adjusting my water with Gypsum (and whatever else it needs) but my most recent IPA (found here--upgrading to BeerSmith SOON) was still lacking the lingering bitterness I'm looking for. I'm not a light bodied, harsh, West Coast IPA fan, but I like good body and strong bitterness (New Glarus IPA? Black Top? still some of my favorites.)

And a note to the Baron--I'm not too worried about head retention--my beers with lots of hops tend to have a huge fluffy head!
Next time, ditch the baking soda (adds sodium but lowers mash pH a bit) and chalk (does nothing, as it doesn't dissolve), as your pH is probably too high, and not too low. Unless you check with a pH meter, I'd assume that your mash pH's are too high with that grainbill and water although you can definitely use something like bru'n water as a water calculator to guestimate a pretty good pH on that recipe. Is that 14 grams of gypsum? That should give you quite a bit of sulfate.
 
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storunner13

storunner13

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Yes--I probably went a little overboard on the gypsum--but it's still not overly bitter??

Looking at my water adjustments--my pH was 5.55 --a little high. But not by much--should I be acid adjusting my water? I can't seem to adjust the salts to bring down the mash pH. Could that play a part in hop utilization?
 

Yooper

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Yes--I probably went a little overboard on the gypsum--but it's still not overly bitter??

Looking at my water adjustments--my pH was 5.55 --a little high. But not by much--should I be acid adjusting my water? I can't seem to adjust the salts to bring down the mash pH. Could that play a part in hop utilization?
The effect of salts on mash pH, at least the ones I use (calcium chloride and gypsum for the most part) is negligible. I use either acid malt or lactic acid or phosphoric acid to get the mash pH to 5.4ish (at room temperature).

A lower mash pH will make the flavors "brighter", but 5.55 isn't too high.
 
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storunner13

storunner13

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Thanks, Yooper. I appreciate the help! I've now taken a look at mash pH and will make adjustments for future batches. I've just finished a hoppy wheat beer (with both acid and salt adjustments), so that will be the next test in my search for hoppy homebrew. If this one doesn't turn out, maybe I need to pick a different yeast.

Next time I'm up at the cabin in Iron River, maybe I'll drop off some sours for you to judge.
 
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