Our Dudley Farm Harvest Ale
A local hop grower was gracious enough to give us access to some Cascade and Newport hops he had been growing at The Dudley Farm, in Guilford, CT. We, along with family members and friends, picked these hops ourselves, took them back to the brewery and then brewed a very special pale ale we've named the Dudley Farm Harvest Ale.
The hops from the Dudley Farm amounted to approximately 15 pounds. We used 6.5 pounds of Newport hops, a direct descendent of Magnum hops, which have medium high alpha acids that create the potential for a bitter beer; they also provide earth and citrus flavors. Cascade hops, which have been around for a long time and were originally developed by the open pollination of Fuggle hops, are lower in alpha acids than Newport and provide a citrus, floral, and spice flavor profile. We used approximately 8.5 pounds of wet cascade hops in our Harvest Ale.
Typically, when a farm grows hops for commercial breweries, the hops are subjected to a laboratory test to give an estimate of certain parameters that help the brewer determine how the beer will taste based on specific brewing practices. Hops grown commercially are also dried and often pelletized. We didn’t dry these hops; this beer was wet-hopped so we were brewing blind. We were dealing with an unknown moisture content and unknown alpha acid levels we had to consider when determining how much to use.
After fermentation, we discovered that the Dudley hops blend we used did not provide the necessary flavor (as the hops were used in the boil for bittering) so we added extra Columbia and Summitt dry hops after fermentation to aid in aroma and flavor. While the resulting beer does not have 100% local grown hops, under the circumstances, it is as close as can be.
The result? A crisp pale ale that delivers a forward citrus, spicy flavor with nice floral aromas, estimated IBUs of around 60 and a very clean finish. ABV is 4.8%