Wet Harvest Ale

Wet Harvest Ale
12 oz glass, $3.75, 5.9% ABV

Purchased at Cambridge House Brew Pub, Granby

harvestListen up! In the now fast-moving world of craft beer, the in thing in the autumn of 2013 is “wet-hopping.” Dry hopping was SO summer of 2013. One day after drinking this (excellent) ale, I had a Relic Brewing wet-hopped one-off. It’s like dry-hopping was never here…

At least this review lets me learn us all a bit about this whole “new” thing. (It’s not new, but using it as a descriptor is. I think.) I’ll turn to some (edited down) beer nerd on some beer nerd bulletin board.

[Note: it’s harvest season right now in late September so it makes sense to see these beers now. So I’m being a bit tongue-in-cheek.)

“Wet hopping is adding fresh hops to the fermentor to impart flavor and aroma to the finished beer. The principles are the same as for dry hopping – the hops are added to secondary (or to primary after fermentation is complete) 3-5 days before racking. The main difference is the hops are fresh, i.e. “wet” – the freshness gives a more vibrant aroma and cleaner flavor.

Introducing spoilage organisms into the beer from fresh hops is unlikely, especially when added after (primary) fermentation is complete. Even so, you may want to put the hops in the freezer overnight to kill any pests, although this makes them slightly less fresh.

Neil_Young_Harvest_MoonWith fresh hops, the most desirable qualities that distinguish them from dry hops are the freshness of the volatile oils. This makes them best suited to flavoring and aroma additions, which also means there is less need to worry about the IBUs, since they contribute relatively little bitterness compared to the bittering additions. When using fresh hops in the kettle, remember that they contain a lot of water, which will be added to your wort. If you want to hit your SG on the mark, you’ll need to compensate for the water added. Assuming wet hops weigh 5 times more than dry, then 4/5s of that weight is water. For example, 2oz of dry hops is 10oz when wet. Since 2oz of the wet hops is hop matter, the remaining 8oz is water.”

Blah blah blah. That’s why I just drink it, folks. I do enough math at work.

CHB Says:

Brewed with 30 pounds of fresh centennial hops delivered overnight from the West Coast Hop Harvest with locally sourced malted rye from Valley Malt in South Hadley, MA.

Ok, that’s cool. So this beer fulfilled two buzzy things: Local and Wet-Hopped! CHB is stepping up their game.

And the beer was great. You know I love my piquantly hopped ales, and this one was juicy and piney and just a bit bitter. There was a bit of the resin that is nearly unavoidable with such styles, but it wasn’t off-putting at all.

Seriously, this was one of the best efforts I’ve had out of CHB. After a slow start in 2013, the new brewmaster has really been hitting his stride.

Word up.

Overall Rating:A+
Rating vs. Similar style: A+

Beer Advocate’s Reviews of the Wet Harvest Ale n/a
Cambridge House Brew Pub
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