The Return of the Rain — 100% Homegrown Fresh Hop Ale

Hops 2015 02

Return of the Rain 03Thus far, it has been the most productive year for my homegrown Centennial and Willamette hops.  The bines grew up to the second floor window and then I trained them to move outwards horizontally, yielding 2.77 pounds total.  I was able to make my first 100% fresh hop ale using all of these hops in a single brew.  Since I brewed it during the week that saw the most precipitation in Seattle since April, I decided to call it The Return of The Rain Fresh Hop Ale.

Fresh Hops Second 03If this recipe had been brewed with regular hop pellets or whole leaf hops, it would have resulted in an extremely bitter (probably unpleasantly so) IPA.  I contemplated using prepared hops for my bittering addition as some brewers do to save the fresh hops for the latter flavor and aroma additions, but I had enough space in my kettle (and enough hops in general) to double up my usual bittering amount — so I opted to use all fresh hops.  The resulting beer is hop forward with a restrained bitterness and a decidedly dry finish.

Hops 2015 01When the beer was young it had a very interesting and not unpleasant umami-like note reminiscent of roasted peanuts; after conditioning in the keg for three weeks this “green” note transitioned into the more immediately recognizable herbal/spicy characteristics associated with Willamette hops.  This beer also displays incredible clarity akin to that of a lager (I couldn’t quite capture this in the photo above due to the condensation on the glass).  Though I like this beer, I’ll probably use packaged hops for the bittering and dry-hop additions in my next fresh hop ale.  See the recipe and tasting notes below:

The Return of the Rain Fresh Hop Ale

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.0
Total Grain (Lbs): 9.80
Anticipated OG: 1.054
Anticipated SRM: 3.0
Anticipated IBU: N/A
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes


61.22% — 6.00 Lbs. US 2-Row
15.31% — 1.50 Lbs. Golden Promise
10.20% — 1.00 Lbs. Carapils
10.20% — 1.00 Lbs. Rye Malt
03.06% — 0.30 Lbs. Acidulated Malt


2.00 oz. Centennial (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 60 min.
1.00 oz. Centennial (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 45 min.
1.00 oz. Centennial (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 30 min.
3.00 oz. Centennial (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 15 min.
6.00 oz. Centennial (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 10 min.
9.00 oz. Centennial (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 5 min.
4.00 oz. Willamette (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 5 min.
7.00 oz. Centennial (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 0 min.
4.00 oz. Willamette (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 0 min.
4.00 oz. Centennial (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 5 days (dry-hop).
3.40 oz. Willamette (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 5 days (dry-hop).


1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.


Whitelabs WLP051 – California V Ale Yeast

Water Profile

1.00 g Calcium Chloride
1.50 g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion – 100 min @ 152F


08.29.15 — Made a 1L starter with 1 Whitelabs WLP051 vial.  Brewtoad suggests 187 billion cells to ferment 5.0 gal.  Cold crashed and decanted morning of brew day.

Brewed on 08.31.15

08.31.15 — Chilled wort to 65F and pitched the California V Ale yeast

09.02.15 — Signs of vigorous fermentation activity

09.07.15 — Transferred into secondary after 7 day primary fermentation, added the dry-hop additions which were also fresh hops kept cold and covered in the refrigerator since picking them on the morning of 08.31.15

09.12.15 — Kegged the beer and began force carbonating

Return of the Rain 04Tasting Notes — 10. 20.15 (poured off tap)

As stated, this beer is crystal clear now that it has had time to condition in the keg.  Big herbal/spicy notes on the nose reminiscent of forest, earth and flowers with just a hint of that earthy peanut-like aroma.  The palate follows the nose but the Centennials offer some hints of citrusy lemon pith and a firm but round bitterness akin to, but not exactly like, chewing on pine needles and Nasturtium flower petals.  There are also some grassy notes on the back end.   Quick, refreshing finish that ends dry.

Calculated OG: 1.044
Calculated FG: 1.007
Approx. ABV: 4.8%