I married a smart, friendly homebrewer. This pays off all the time but perhaps never more than when we took a trip to Asheville at the start of the year.
We toured the new Sierra Nevada brewery in Mills River, NC, while we were there, and the final stop of the tour features an expansive, generous flight of beers poured by one of the tour guides. Lara, being a self-described f’ing sweetheart, struck up a conversation with the guide---about homebrewing, naturally.
People began peeling away from the tour, so we slowly joined suit, but that guide, who’d been called away to the phone, shouted for us to wait for just a minute. He wrapped up his call, leaned over the counter to us and said, “You guys want some experimental hops?”
Yes. Yes, we do.
He headed deep into the shiny, copper-plated bowels of the brewery and returned with two half-pound vacuum packs, each with a hop code hastily scrawled on it. We left the brewery that day with half a pound each of Idaho #7 and #5256, hops we knew absolutely nothing about except that they were destined to star in their own pale ales.
This guy is also an f’ing sweetheart.
So here we are. I had to do a good bit of searching to find flavor and aroma profiles for these hops given that they’re not widely in use. Here’s what I came up with:
- Idaho #7: orange, apricot, and black tea with an herbal underpinning
- #5256: grapefruit, pine, mint, and citrus with a touch of dark fruit and herbs (bred from Apollo and Merkur)
We mashed a double batch of the recipe that follows and split the runnings into two boils so we could focus each on one of the hops. We bittered with Centennial because we didn’t have reliable alpha acid numbers for Idaho #7 and #5256 and because we wanted to focus our experimental additions at flameout, in the hopback, and in dry hopping.
This was a particularly exciting brew day because I honestly can’t say I know how these beers will develop. Going in, I noted that Idaho #7 had a pleasantly tropical, floral aroma and that #5256 smelled like a bulging sack of fresh weed.
Tasting results will follow as soon as these beers finish dry hopping and carbonate.
Batch: 5 gallons
15.3 lb. 2-row pale
0.78 lb. Flaked oats
0.62 lb. Vienna
0.41 lb. Crystal 40
8.00 oz. Idaho #7 or #5256
2.00 oz. Centennial (9.9% AA)
Wyeast 1056 (American Ale)
Bicarbonate: 104 ppm
Calcium: 84 ppm
Chloride: 102 ppm
Magnesium: 15 ppm
Sodium: 64 ppm
Sulfate: 178 ppm
Mash (60 minutes)
Mash out: 168°F
Boil (60 minutes)
60: 2.00 oz. Centennial
00: 2.00 oz. Idaho #7 or #5256
Hopback: 2.00 oz. Idaho #7 or #5256
Primary (14 days): 67°F
Secondary (6 days): 67°F
4.00 oz. Idaho #7 or #5256