This story has two rather contradictory morals to it, but they’re both equally valuable lessons.
Moral 1: Plan Ahead
I started out with the intention of re-making my previously successful #IPADay, because it’s a lovely beer and my store of the previous batch was running low. The brew day started out well enough, and the grain was sat in the mash tun doing it’s stuff before I opened the freezer where I keep all my hops.
That was when I discovered that I’d used up all my Amarillo hops, and had about a thimble-full of Centennial hops left.
Due to my total failure to plan ahead, I was well into the brewing process and almost completely lacking in any of the hops I needed. Cue much frantic searching online for possible hop substitutions, based on the small selection of varieties I could actually find in the freezer.
I ended up with a fairly straight swap of Summit for Centennial and Apollo for Amarillo, apart from the dry hops where I had just enough Centennial left. I reduced the quantities of both, because both my substitutions had higher alpha acid levels.
So this is what I ended up with – it didn’t seem right to still call it #IPADay with such a drastic deviation from the recipe, and after the panicked hop substitutions it named itself.
- 2600g Pale Malt
- 500g Amber Malt
- 275g Crystal Malt
- 275g Torrified Wheat
- 10g Summit hops for the full boil
- 10g Summit hops for the last 15 minutes
- 10g Apollo hops for the last 15 minutes
- 10g Summit hops at flame out
- 10g Apollo hops at flame out
- 20g Centennial hops for 7 days dry hopping
- Nottingham yeast
The actual brew itself – aside from the hop crisis – was fairly uneventful. My efficiency was a little down, which is why the ABV came in a little low at 3.7%, and due to Real Life getting in the way the 7 day dry hop was more like 10 days but aside from those hiccups it was all relatively painless.
Moral 2: Beer Wants To Be Made
This has become a bit of a homebrewing mantra for me; however badly things go, the beer always comes through. Ok, so it’s by no means perfect and often not what I set out to make but at the end of the day, it nearly always comes out as a tasty beer.
The aroma of Hop Panic isn’t as fruity as its #IPADay ancestors but there’s a familiar digestive biscuit background, dried flowers and a touch of candied orange peel.
The lower strength gives it a lighter body; possible too light, as it sails dangerously close to being a little watery. There’s a touch of sugar sweetness but that’s eclipsed by a robust and slightly resinous bitterness. There are little hints of slightly citrus fruit, but the flavours are far more muted.
I think the biggest issue is that with fewer hops, the more subtle flavours have been lost – it’s not a bad beer, but it’s not as interesting as the original.
Must Try Harder.