March 17, 2018 Enlightenment Session – Experiment with Hops

At the March 17 meeting, we will have an opportunity to smell and taste single hop infused beers to help associate what we perceive in our senses with how hops are described.  We will also combine two beers to examine how hop aromas and flavors interact.  We will be looking for combinations that enhance a desired flavor or alter the overall profile.  We will also discuss how we made the beers and perhaps elicit interest in small batch experiments.  We have 5 hops to smell and taste and we only have 2 liters, so space is limited to the first 15 people.  We would like to start at 1:45.

Now that I have given you the specifics about what we are going to do at the meeting, here is the background.  I consulted new members Chuck Hughes and Matt Peppe to determine what they would like to learn, and we decided that a session profiling hop flavor and aroma would help with recipe formulation.  Also, we all agreed that we tend to rely on descriptions of new hops when we create a recipe without really knowing much about them.   We discussed how to best achieve this goal and decided that hop teas would not bring out the flavor and aroma as well as experiencing the hops in beer. We wanted this to be as controlled as possible without making it a logistical nightmare, so we decided to make 10 gallons of a base wort and split it into 1 gallon batches which could be hopped at knockout.  Lon Holland and Dave White were also interested in the experiment, and the five of us hatched a plan.  We used 1 gallon fermenters that Lon designed and discussed at the March 2017 meeting.   We also decided to scale our base wort back to 6 gallons and make a simple extract wort that was hopped with Magnum for bittering.  We chose Magnum because of its neutral properties.  We used Wyeast 1056 American ale yeast and pitched it into a 0.5 gallon starter that could easily be equally dispensed to the 1 gallon fermenters.  You can refer to the Hop Experiment Recipe for complete details.  Chuck posted pictures of the brewing session on the BURP Facebook page at If you are a BURP member and Facebook user and have not yet joined this group, you should consider signing up.