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Is there such a thing as too much hops?

by VM Brasseur on September 29th, 2007

Last week, during my weekend off, I did in fact start another batch of beer. This time it’s a West Coast Ale courtesy of The Oak Barrel in Berkeley.

Well…mostly courtesy of them. The recipe calls for four different hops and suggests dry-hopping the last one added (read: don’t cook it, just toss it on top before sealing the fermenter). In addition to those four I also had an ounce of whole Cascade hops leftover in the freezer from an earlier batch. The first three hops varieties were added as prescribed but instead of dry-hopping the secondary fermentation with Amarillo I dry-hopped the primary using the Cascade with plans to add the Amarillo later in secondary as expected.

Today I pulled the fermenter out of the closet to prep it for movement to secondary. The top came off and suddenly the entire apartment was filled with the smell of young beer. I leaned over the fermenter and got a face full of hops aroma. A lovely honey-brown color, but damn, that’s strong. Oh, well. Ever onward.

I siphoned it into secondary, pulled a sample for specific gravity measurements then went ahead and added the Amarillo. Back into the closet with it. Then I tasted the SG sample. Whew, buddy. This is going to be a binary beer, I tell ya. You’re either going to love it or you’ll hate it. There’ll be no middle ground.

It’ll be going into bottles next Saturday (my least favorite part of beer making). Officially we can be drinking it two weeks after but I think this one will benefit from another two or three additional weeks in the bottle before opening.

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