The great Nordeast single-hop experiment!

The great, or good, or okay, or yet to be determined Nordeast single-hop experiment is under way.   This is something that I've been wanting to do for some time now but never had the chops to do it myself.   Luckily, we Nordeasterners have started a Homebrew club and our first big thing as a club is the start of "The Great Nordeast Single-Hop experiment!"

As brewers it makes sense to understand the qualities of an individual ingredient.  This is extremely difficult to do because of how many ingredients and variables are involved in brewing a batch o beer.   You're typically blending 3-10 kinds of barley and 2-5 kinds of hops.   Not to mention the water source you get your water from.   How you treat your water; carbon filter, RO, Spring water, adding salts or other things to adjust flavor or mash ph, all contribute different flavors to your finished beer.  Also you have the mash temperatures, the sparge temperature, the technique you use to mash and sparge.   Then you have the pitching temperature, your yeast pitching rate, and fermentation temperatures.   You also have to consider how long and at what temperature you dry hop your beer.  Okay, I gaurantee I missed a few of the variables, like probably half of them, but wow, when you really look at it, it's pretty tough to replicate a single beer.   I think another good rant on the variables in brewing is by Peter at Simply Beer,  which I read the other day....he's talking about homebrewers sharing recipe's and the difficulty of replicating a recipe. 

Anywho...with all of the variables, it's a bit hard at the end of a month to look back at your recipe take your first sip of a carefully crafted ale, and try to distinguish exactly where all of the different flavor components come from in said beer.  Especially for me, because I've realized that I don't have the most discerning palate.  I guess you could say, not only is my palate undereducated, but it's more interested in having a good time, rather then realizing why it's having a good time.

This is why we as homebrewers like to experiment.   Sometimes we change many variables, but the best way to do any experiment is to change only one variable.   We in Nordeast have decided to do a simple IPA recipe on the high level of IBU range and on the low level of the Alcohol range.   The only variable we will be changing hopefully will be the Hops.  Each brewer will choose a single variety of hops and use that exclusively through and through!   We'll do a tasting side by side, possibly after tasting them blend a few to figure out which hops work best together...etc!

For the experiment, we all use the same water coming straight out of the great Mississippi!  I'll be filtering it through a brita filter.   I highly encourage all brewers in Nordeast to do this before each brew!   I'll be mashing at 153 degrees for 60 minutes, and sparging as close to 170 as possible for 30 minutes, and fermenting at 65-67 degrees.   I'll pitch a healthy starter of Wyeast 1056 and after dry hopping I'll bottle/'keg it up and bring my Citra Single HopAle  to our January meeting! 

Here is our current recipe.

This is for a  5 gallon batch with 70% efficiency
Mash at 153, Sparge at 170

10 lbs American 2-row - (for Extract use 7.5 Lbs of LME or 6.7 Lbs of DME)
1 lb Flaked Oats
0.5 lb Crystal 60L
0.5 lb Carapils

***For Extract version_Steep the specialty grains at 150-155 degrees for 30 mins, then bring to a boil and add your Malt extract and start the hops experiment!

Original Gravity

Hop additions at 60 minutes, 20 minutes, and 1 minute, and dry hopped with 1 -2 oz for 10 days
IBU's - 70 (or near there)

Nathan -               Sorachi Ace
Nick Pederson -   Citra 
Nick Pederson -   Cascade (locally grown by Hippity Hops)
Andrew Nesbitt -  Fuggles
Kevin -                  Simcoe 
Tim Stuemke -      Northern Brewer
Matt -                    Amarillo

***I'm thinking that this will be an ongoing project of our club with people monthly bringing in different varieties of the single hop IPA's!



  1. When does the Nordeast homebrew club meet? Some friends that I brew with stopped by Grumpy's NE on a Saturday at 4pm about a month ago and it was not happening. If you could let me know, that would be awesome, you can contact me through samuelahrens@hotmail.com also here is a link to what we have made for making beer http://www.flickr.com/photos/48109835@N05/sets/72157624500143537/

  2. Hey Sam,

    Your set up is sick! I'm sending you an email! Cheers!

  3. check the blog for more details...



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