Harvest Ales Suck
Based on my experience, harvest ales are hard to do. You’re brewing with hops you know nothing about, other than what you can smell. Many that I have had suffer from a tendency to taste “grassy” because you’re putting what amounts to a fresh vegetable in your beer.
Many harvest ales I’ve tried are unbalanced toward maltiness/sweetness. Dealing with dried, pelletized hops, it’s easy to think, “Oh, I put twice as many hops as normal in this beer, it’ll be fine.” But I heard Rodger Davis talk about a conversation with Vinnie Cilurzo. The summary was that you need to use 4-6 times the amount of hops you normally would.
Based on that conversation, I decided that I would just go for it and use more hops than seemed prudent. How did it turn out? You’ll have to listen to find out.
Back in episode #25, I talked about the process I used to make my first harvest ale. Here’s the recipe I used:
For an 11-gallon batch at approximately 70% efficiency:
- 12 pounds pale 2-row
- 6 pounds dark Munich
- 1 pound special B
- 6 ounces crystal 10 L
Mash for 1 hour at 152 Fahrenheit
- 11 ounces homegrown, fresh cascade hops (60 min)
- 11 ounces homegrown, fresh cascade hops (15 min)
- 11 ounces homegrown, fresh cascade hops (0 min)
Original Gravity: 1.041
Final Gravity: 1.006
Interview with Roger from Faction brewing referenced in this episode.