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Harvest Ale 2009

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 Today was my first brew since the 20 gallon batch of Choking Sun Stout over a month ago. It was brewed with my friend Brian, and this time around we decided to use some fresh-picked hops to make a Harvest Ale. I cut the bines down at around 11am, and they were thrown into the kettle around 2:30 or 3pm – doesn’t get much fresher than that! They were still a little soggy from the rain last night, so after we picked them they were spread out on a screen and slowly dried off a little with an oscillating fan. They were certainly not “dried” – we just got the extra water off their exteriors.

The brew itself was a no-nonsense IPA recipe with primarily 2-row malt and a pound of crystal 10L. The brew day went very well with no major hiccups – except we apparently got some ridiculous yield on the malt. I’m not sure how, but the gravity turned out to be 1.066 instead of our intended 1.055, so it’ll be ~2% ABV stronger and the extra malt will mask some of the hoppiness we intended. The raw wort tasted good, so I’m not worried that it’s not bitter enough – it just might not be what we originally envisioned. There was only a small span of time when it rained, but I was still very glad for having set up in the garage.

I am growing more excited about the cooling weather… it hints at many more brew days to come. I hate having to do it in the heat, particularly when the groundwater temperature is above 80 and you can never get the wort cool enough to pitch without other means, and the arrival of fall and colder temperatures is certainly a welcome change.

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