Friday, May 2, 2014

Single Hopped Azacca Hoppy Amber-ish

Photo courtesy of @BrewerWible
For what feels like forever now two local homebrew friends and I (Sean Mellody and John Wible both of whom at different stages of going pro) have been chatting about brewing a collaboration beer. We wanted to get together and brew something that was a little bit out of each of our elements, but still had aspects that reflected our own personal brewing styles. Whether its recipe formulation or actual brew day procedures collaborating with other brewers is a great way to evaluate how you do things. I like to take a step back and look at things from another angle from time to time, you should never stop learning.

We kicked around a few ideas including playing with "capping the mash" with dark malts for low/no roast but lots of color, and some single hop ideas but couldn't decide which hop to try out. We wanted to use something fairly new to brewing, or something unique that none of us had ever used before. As fate would have it, this tweet popped up in my feed, Azacca it is.

I first heard of Azacca (ADHA 483) while having Victory's Hop Ranch, which is brewed using Mosaic and Azacca resulting in a highly aromatic tropical delicious beer. Aside from that none of us had any experience with Azacca at all, but from the description its seemed like something that I would enjoy using in my brewing. Via
Azacca (ADHA 483)
AA Range: 14 - 16%
Beta: 5.4%
Cohumulone: N/A
Total Oil: 1.8 ml/100g
Characteristics: Fresh citrus, tangerine, mango, grapefruit, piney, spicy, pineapple.
 So a tropical/fruity hop sounds much of the same for me huh, and John for that matter, well yea it is but I likes what I likes. The grain bill, however, is really where John and I started to get out of our comfort zone, we both tend to favor a simpler bill where Sean seems to have a deft hand at blending malts, as shown in his Ryeghteous Brown Ale. When discussing the grain bill via email I like how Sean described what we would be going for "I'd like it to almost fool the drinker, to thinking by color and appearance it's a stronger beer.". 
Delicious Hot Scotchy's on brew evening, the biscuit malt paired amazingly.
Thanks to Sean for the delicious whiskey, the name escapes me.

We chose to go with mostly base 2-row, a touch of Biscuit, some light Crystal 20L and a little bit of Roasted the Whirlpool. *Screeching Breaks* For real? For real. I was a little hesitant myself but we tossed 9oz right into my stainless hop spider at ~180F  and it worked very well, the color really changed dramatically as we whirlpooled for some time. We had concerns for all the normal reasons, lacto/wild yeast on the grains not being boiled, astringency, etc but we threw caution to the wind in the name of experimentation. Come on, much worse could happen on a given brewday, no? 

We each fermented our own 5+ gallons with a different yeast strain, I used S04 as I've been known to do, Sean went with ECY10 Old Newark Ale, and John used TYB Vermont Ale (Conan) as he is known to do on his hoppy ales. We all fermented in the low to mid 60s for the same length of time, and dry hopped for the same length of time using our own methods. Its amazing the difference in how we all do such small things, not huge differences but all 3 of us have our own dry hopping techniques. 

Pre Dry hops, after racking to the keg. Beautiful color.
The brewday was long, I actually didn't arrive until we started to sparge so the hardest work was done, but we were knocking out a fair bit of wort and those whirlpools will getcha time-wise. The aroma coming off the bag of Azaccas was very nice, I got a lot of Orange, and other citrus notes, it almost reminded me of Citra with less pine. We chilled and filled each of our fermenters, numbers were hit within reason on our frankenstein system for the night, we toasted the brewday and went on our way to meet again in a few weeks for a side by side tasting.

Binford Pale Ale Tasting Notes: 6/2/2014

Binford Pale-Amberish Ale

Brew day: 4/10/2014
Kegged: 4/21/2013 
-(dry hopped in keg for 5 days at room temp)

Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 19.50 gal
Post Boil Volume: 17.75 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 17.00 gal
Bottling Volume: ~16.50 gal
Estimated OG: 1.055 SG
Measured OG: 1.054 SG
Measured FG: 1.014 SG (on my S04 batch)
ABV: 5.3%
Estimated Color: 10.9 SRM
Estimated IBU: 55 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 67.00 %
Boil Time: 75 Minutes

89.0% - 32lbs 12oz - CMC Superior Pale Ale Malt (3.1 SRM)
  5.4% - 2lbs - Biscuit (23 SRM)
  4.1% - 1lb 8oz - Crystal 20L
  1.5% - 9oz - Roasted Barley (300 SRM)

Boil: 60min - 1.00 oz Warrior [15.00 %] - 16.9 IBUs
Boil: 15min - 1 Whirlfloc Tablet + 1 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient
Boil: 10min - 4.00 oz Azacca [14.86 %] - 24.3 IBUs
Boil:  5min - 4.00 oz Azacca [14.86 %] - 13.4 IBUs
30 Minute Whirlpool 180f - 6.00 oz Azacca [14.86 %] - 0 IBUs -
20 Minute Whirlpool 145f - 6.00 oz Azacca [14.86 %] - 0 IBUs
Dry Hop: 5 days - 12.00 oz Azacca [14.86 %] (4.00oz /each brewers 5 gallon batch)

Ed - 200ml of Safale S-04 Slurry from HopWards - into 500ml starter to wake it up
John -  TYB Vermont Ale 

Sacch rest - 60 min @ 150.0 F (this was the target)

Fly Sparge 12.50 gallons 170f

Misc: 45 seconds of pure O2. Filtered Philadelphia Tap water.

Notes: I took no notes!


  1. Looking forward to how this turns out for you. I'm probably going to do some sort of Azacca-only beer in the near future; I've been leaning towards an Azacca Session IPA.

  2. "We all fermented in the low to mid 60s for the same length of time, and dry hopped for the same length of time using our own methods. Its amazing the difference in how we all do such small things, not huge differences but all 3 of us have our own dry hopping techniques. "

    Care to elaborate on the different methods? I'm curious to know what works best.

    1. I will be posting a tasting notes post shortly and I will touch on that, I am actually planning a post documenting my dry hop methods as I seem to be getting some questions on that. The short of it is I dry hop in the keg, in a nylon dry hop bag weighed down with a stainless nut, purge the headspace with co2 and give it a gentle shake once a day. 5 days max at room temp!

  3. Question on your whirlpool practice... When you add your 145f hops, do you first remove the 185f addition? Or just let the earlier addition ride thru the 145f whirlpool?