I love Amarillo hops, and in great quantities.
Last night I found myself in a difficult predicament; I had my chocolate stout and my Amarillo pale ready to bottle, but only enough bottles for one batch (and to be honest, I’d had to drink a fair way through my Ginger beer to free up enough bottles).
I had planned on bottling the Stout as it’s been on the ferment for almost 14 days now and was due. I was then going to fly sparge the Amarillo pale (AMPA) for a secondary ferment, as this brew was so full of hops that the bottom 5L was going to be unusable if I didn’t work something out.
I prepared all my bottling gear, and turned the tap on the stout, first into a glass, as I always taste before I bottle.
The stout had a good amount of everything in it: a healthy dose of Goldings for bitterness, a touch a Pacific Gem for the hint of fruit, a solid base of chocolate malt and an extra whack of lactose.
Upon tasting, I was pleasantly surprised. It was quite balanced, though next time I daresay I either reduce the amount of Goldings or its steep time. I could taste the chocolate, the bitter was nice and strong, and it was much fuller than my earlier brews have been.
Trouble was, the brew was absolutely full of sediment. There’s Coopers-style cloudy, but this was something else. I couldn’t bottle this until I’d sorted the sediment. So I changed my plan to allow time to sort the stout out. I’m going to have to pick up some finings and clear this up, then sparge and repeat if it isn’t clear enough. I have high hopes, as it tastes epic and wonderful (and should be a fine entry into the upcoming family homebrew comp).
Without anything further to be done with the stout, I turned to the AMPA. It was so damn hoppy it clogged up the valve of my bottler, so I had to pull out my trusty handheld tea-leaf sieve and manually strain to first couple of bottles. This pulled out a fair bit of hop content, and after that I was able to continue as normal. I also marked the manually sieved bottles for later comparison. Bottling went smoothly after that.
As I had anticipated the thick layer of difficult sediment at the bottom when I was first putting it all together, I had added a bit of extra liquor to extend the mix. Coming into bottling I had started to regret this, fearing that the beer would taste weak, and that the ABV wouldn’t be as high as I’d like. As soon as I tasted it however, my fears were forgotten, and I immediately pulled for another taste. The brew was magnificent! I could already taste the apricots, and strangely enough, a peppery spiciness. The alcohol content may not be super high, but I can see myself drinking a lot of these very quickly.
It was a pretty simple recipe: 75 grams of Amarillo hops that my girlfriend paid through the teeth for, some regular pale crystal malt, and coopers standard yeast. The ratios were taken from a recipe I pulled from a homebrew website somewhere, which I’ll post the link to if I can find it.
It should be ready to drink by mid-June, and I’ll get Tully (my accomplice on the New Zealand brewery pilgrimage I’ll be making in July) to post a scathing review of it.
Now I just have to sort this stout out.