The brewing team walk you through their journey to produce a limited release fresh hopped beer
The brewing team had a huge day completing phase one of our journey towards a limited release fresh hopped beer. Up at the crack of dawn, we headed out to see our pal Greg Croak and the rest of the team at Ellerslie Hop Farm in Mitcham, Victoria.
Ellerslie were only on their second day of operation after a massive rebuild from a devastating fire just a year ago. They’ve been in a race against time to completely rebuild their facilities in time for the annual hop harvest, installing new pickers, kilns, and new pelletising plant before the fleetingly short harvest window.
Ellerslie generously took the time to help us pick a row of a proprietary hop cultivar bred by Greg called Melba. We selected a row with huge, aromatic cones, picked them and raced them back to the brewery for brewing.
The family run farm has been around since the 1930’s and have always been at the forefront of hop development in Australia. Over a beer and some lunch, our teams shared industry insight, talked about Greg’s plant breeding program, and discussed our next steps in the journey to release of our one off, fresh hopped brew!
After a long but productive day, the crew headed back to Dandenong with 90kgs of hops in tow.
Passionfruit, Grapefruit, Citrus, Summery Characteristics
Alpha Levels %: 7 – 10
Beta-Acid %: 2.5 – 5
Total Oil ml/100g: 2.0 – 4.0
To give the hop centre stage, we chose to brew a delicate pils, devoid of any flabby malt character or syrupy rich flavours which could detract from the hops.
Brewing with green hops is technically tricky, beers can often turn out vegetal, overly grassy or astringent. To combat this, we converted one of our brewhouse vessels into an oversized hopback, filled it with 80kg of green hops, removed all the oxygen, and gently sparged wort over the bed of hops.
To avoid over-bitterness, we precooled the wort to temperatures which extract the wonderful aromatic oils, without taking too much of the bitter acids. An experimental process that is really different from the way we brew day to day. While not particularly efficient (it was a very long day….), it was very fun. The fermenting beer is tasting and smelling great.