Monday, June 10, 2013

Collaboration Series: New Zealand Hopped Pale Ale

I collaborated on this beer with this blog's co-author Kyle. He recently downsized his place to get more flexibility in his life. He asked me to help him get started with small batch brewing; a request I was happy to fulfill. The recipe started out as a simple request for a pale ale and after some banter about "putting more hops in it" I came to a recipe I thought would work. After some thinking and doing a little inventory on my freezer I came to the recipe for a hoppy beer with British roots and Kiwi flavor.

(please read more after the break.)

New Zealand hops are gaining notoriety for their unique fruity flavors. In case you haven't noticed this at your local home brew store, but they're probably adding several varieties of NZ hops; the NZ denotes New Zealand. For this ale I wanted to use a variety of hops from the Kiwi country: for bittering I chose Pacific Gem, for flavor I chose Nelson Sauvin, and for aroma I chose Riwaka. I finished the whole thing with a whirlpool hopping combining Nelson and Riwaka.

For the uninitiated into the Kiwi's hop crop these are the profiles of each:
Pacific Gem: "Pacific Gem can produce a cask oak flavor with distinct blackberry aroma, along with a woody character. Pacific Gem contains a good balance of oils which constantly contributes to its aroma score.
Nelson Sauvin: "This variety imparts certain grape-like flavor to the beer and the name arose out of comments made during brewery trials, where the flavor was likened to that of Sauvignon Blanc. The essential oil profile displays “fresh crushed gooseberries” a descriptor often used for the grape variety."
Riwaka: "This Saaz type distinguishes itself with delicate citrus and passion fruit aromas.  Its powerful grapefruit citrus characters are literally breathtaking."

Why New Zealand?
They grow hops obviously, duh. They are also a country with a strong agricultural tradition, a growing craft beer movement and the perfect location. The location being the 48th parallel. I don't know exactly why other than climate and sun angle that the 48th parallel is the best place but it is. This explains why Germany, Britain, and The USA are good hop producers. It is partially because of the ideal climate for growing hops. If you flip the world over the 48 parallel runs at about the southern top of New Zealand. It also hits south America but I don't know that hops are grown there. This has given New Zealand the ideal conditions to grow hops, and because hops are not native to New Zealand there are no hop diseases there. This allows great cultivation of hops with a unique terroir to happen on the other side of the world from where beer started in Europe.

The Recipe:
The Grind - Maris Otter & C-40
1 lb 15.0 oz Maris Otter (3.0 SRM) 88.6%
4.0 oz Caramel/Crystal 40L (40.0 SRM) 11.4%
0.10 oz Pacific Gem [15.0 %] - 50 min 27.0 IBUs
0.10 oz Riwaka [5.25 %] - 18 min 5.6 IBUs
0.20 oz Nelson Sauvin [12.0 %] - 8 min  13.7 IBUs
0.25 oz Nelson Sauvin [12.0 %] - 0 min 0 IBUs
0.25 oz Riwaka [5.25 %] - 0 min 0 IBUs

Brewing and Thoughts:
The brewing was easy enough. It was alright on Kyle's electric stove. He didn't have a siphon so we had to pour it through a funnel and this was the only setback. Brewing was easy and the smell of the beer was pretty nice. We'll see how it turns out.

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