Home Brew – Hop Hole

Tasting: November 24, 2012
Style: Imperial IPA

Hop Hole

(c) 2012 popsonhops

When I was actively home brewing, I dumped quite a few mistakes. Most of the time it was because I was my harshest critic. But, it wasn’t always misses — the best beer I ever produced was a stout that I called “Pig’s Head – The Snout Stout”. I was very proud of this beer and shared it with a lot of my friends. Most of the feedback was very good, however one person that I knew at the time called to ask if this beer could have caused him to break out in a rash. His doctor said it was highly unlikely. I had a good laugh – as it wasn’t the kind of feedback I was expecting.

This home brew is from a co-worker – Pier. He and a friend wanted to create an imperial IPA from the hops that have been overrunning Pier’s garden for the last two years. While the crop of buds this year were large, a brewer told them that their buds weren’t mature enough to produce enough oils. They decided to compensate for the lack of oils by adding more hops than required for their recipe. Pier was kind enough to share a bomber of their brew. When I asked him how it turned out — he said “well, the color is nice.” Spoken like a true home brewer.

Right up front – before I crack open the bottle – I’ll say that I don’t intend to give this beer a numeric entry. I’m just approaching it as an opportunity to give Pier my fair take on his work. I’ll agree, color is quite nice – it’s a rich reddish amber. I has a moderate head that subsides fairly quickly. Carbonation is perfect with tiny bubbles. Nose is strong yeast — mostly clove. The first sip or two and that clove yeast flavor dominates with some ginger and cinnamon undertones. If I focus my tastebuds, I can find some candy-like malts, but it’s truly hidden. Hops bitterness is demure. It swoops in with a sharp bitterness on the finish and vanishes just as quickly. I know that Pier didn’t get an opening hydrometer reading, so he doesn’t know the ABV – but I’ll give it that it is present with a wisp of boozy ethers. If I’m a belgian-style fan, it’s a pretty good effort.

I know they were going for an imperial IPA, so I assume the yeasty dominance wasn’t totally intended and may have occurred for a few reasons: the beer sat on the spent yeast colony too long; the fermentation was warmer than 60 – 65 degrees; the amount of yeast used exceeded the gravity of the beer. Home brewing is all about trial and error and I suspect they could perfect this recipe with a few adjustments.

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