Photo by Wing Ta

Just by virtue of the fact that you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you have your own backyard hop garden, or know someone who does. Which further means that sometime in the general vicinity of Labor Day you’ll have access to grocery bag after grocery bag of fresh, undried hop cones. Which, to carry this line of thinking to its logical conclusion, means wet hop beer.

This is going to look like a lot of hops for five gallons, and it is. But bear in mind that fresh hops have a lot of water weight that would otherwise be removed in the hop kiln. In terms of acid and oil contribution, one ounce of dried, processed hop flowers is equal to 5-6 ounces of fresh cones straight off the bine. Variety is up to you and what’s available—obviously a hop like Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, or the like will be classic, but we can certainly turn out a very nice wet hop ale with Liberty, Willamette, or others.

But before we get to all that fresh, wet goodness, we’ll use CO2- extracted hop resin (aka hop extract) for the main boil addition. This will help us out in a couple ways: first, because it’s, at best, very difficult to calculate IBU contribution from homegrown hops. Hop extract is a known quantity and will make the bittering addition much less of a shot in the dark. Second, we’re already dumping in a lot of green plant material, and the hop extract will curb wort loss just a bit.

And before that, we’ll establish a nice malt foundation with Maris Otter and a bit of English Caramalt for color and light toffee flavor to underscore the ripe, citric and/or herbal and/or spicy flavor of your fresh crop.

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This IPA is one of 64 original, witty all-grain homebrewing recipes found in Michael Dawson’s quintessential Mashmaker: A Citizen’s Guide to Brewing Great Beer at Home. Purchase an e-book version of Mashmaker today for just $15 and start your homebrewing adventure.

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Note: These steps are general guidelines and assume you’re already familiar with the all-grain brewing process—refer to the instructions for your brew system, and adjust as needed based on experience with your own particular equipment.

Except where noted, the recipes in this book are formulated for 5-gallon (19-liter) all-grain batches, calculated at 75% mash efficiency.

Targets: OG: 1.059, IBU: ~50, SRM: 5.0, ABV: 6.0%

SHOPPING LIST: 

GRAIN:

  • 10 lbs. Simpsons Maris Otter
  • 6 oz. Simpsons Caramalt

HOPS: 

  • 5 mL CO2 hop extract
  • 15-20 oz. fresh, undried hop cones

YEAST: 

  • White Labs WLP007, Wyeast 1335, or Safale S-04

KEY POINTS FOR KEY PINTS

Timing is everything: Have the other ingredients on hand and ready to go, and schedule your brew day to coincide with the cones’ peak condition, when the yellow lupulin glands are prolific and sticky, and the bracts start to turn papery and lose a bit of their spring.

Harvest at last minute: Undried hops are extremely perishable and start to deteriorate as soon as they’re picked; without drying to arrest the decomposition of the aromatic oils, they need to go into the beer ASAP. You could even wait until the boil starts to begin picking.

Dry hop if needed/desired: In the same way it’s very tough to gauge bitterness contribution and alpha content of homegrown hops, the oil content can vary depending on variety, growing conditions, and other factors. Taste the beer after primary, and supplement as needed with dry hopping in secondary, with dried homegrown hops or store-bought of the same variety.

BREWING

PREP: 

  • Make a starter culture 24-36 hours before brew day.
  • Mill the grains, then collect and heat strike water to 165°F.

MASH & SPARGE

  • Mash rest: Add grains to strike water, mix to 152°F, and rest for 60 minutes. Collect and
    heat sparge water.
  • Mashout: Heat to 170°F for 5 minutes.
  • Sparge and collect wort in boil kettle.

BOIL (60 minutes)

  • T-60: 5 mL hop extract.
  • T-0: 15-20 oz. fresh, undried hop cones.
  • T+20: Cool the wort and transfer to a sanitized fermentor, aerate well and pitch yeast.

FERMENTATION AND BEYOND

  • Primary fermentation: 64-66°F for 7-10 days. When fermentation activity begins to
    slow, warm to 70°F for an additional 2-3 days.
  • Secondary fermentation: 1-2 weeks, and dry hop if needed/desired.
  • Serve in a nonic pint grabbed with lupulin-stained fingers and drink amongst the late
    season hop bines.