Since I have been growing hops in my backyard, I have been brewing Harvest ales. Every year, a unique beer is made with the hops of that season. 2017 was a great year for hop growing so I went for it and added as much of the hops as I could to the brew. Here’s our 2017 Harvest ale tasting and review:

What Is The Harvest Ale Style

When we live streamed the brew session for this year’s Harvest ale, one of the comments that was posted asked, “What style is a harvest ale?” In my first few years of brewing with my homegrown hops, I followed an American Pale Ale grain bill. It would have 95% 2-Row malt and 5% Caramel malt. Lately, I have been keeping the grain bill simple with some English malt mashed at a higher temperature to give the beer some extra body. I took that tip from our local New England brewers and I like the results.

2017 Harvest Ale
With that stated, I think the Harvest ale style is up to the interpretation of the brewer. The thought that races through my head when I put together the recipe what I will be doing when this beer will be ready to drink. Usually, I see myself enjoying this beer in the crisp air of Autumn around Thanksgiving time. With that idea, I craft a recipe that I think would go with the time, weather, and activities.

2017 Harvest Ale Recipe

Boil Size: 7.5 gallons (I needed a lot of wort because the whole hops soak up a large amount)
Batch Size: 5 gallons

11 pounds Maris Otter Malt
6 ounces of Homegrown Magnum hops – added at 60 minutes to go in the boil
2 ounces of Homegrown Mt. Hood hops – added at 45 minutes to go in the boil
1 ounce Homegrown Nugget hops – added at 45 minutes to go in the boil
3 ounces of Homegrown Chinook hops – added at 30 minutes to go in the boil
3 ounces Homegrown Chinook hops – added at 15 minutes to go in the boil
1.5 Homegrown Cascade hops – added at 0 minutes to go in the boil
1.5 Homegrown Cascade hops – added during whirlpool
WYeast 1056 and Safale US-05

Mashed at 155°F for 60 minutes
Fermented for 2 weeks at 65°F for 2 weeks

Original Gravity: 1.050
Final Gravity: 1.011
ABV: 5.12%
IBU: No idea

This year, I really went for it with the hop additions. In year’s past, I didn’t think the hops expressed themselves enough. In 2017, I wanted others to know that what the hops tasted like.

It was extremely aggressive on my part. Over a pound of hops are in this beer but the results were pleasant and I am relieved and pleased with the brew.

Grow hops if you can! Your efforts will be rewarded.