With all these homegrown hops, I was thinking about employing a different brewing technique-

First Wort Hopping.

This is a way to change the hops profile in your finished beer by adding them to your kettle at a different time in the brewing process.

In the past, I have used my homegrown hops in a dry hopping fashion by adding them to a clean and sanitized glass carboy and letting the beer mingle with the hops for a while.  The results weren’t that remarkable.  To be honest, although it made for nice photos, the beer didn’t come out smelling hoppy or tasting like it was dry hopped.   Besides that, there was a weird hint of bubble gum in the beer’s flavor, which could have been a result of some kind of infection.  That infection which could have been introduced from the dried homegrown hops but I digress.

Using this method, I would be mitigating my risk of infection from homegrown hops since they would be boiled but I should be getting some of the benefits of what dry hopping would provide.

To learn more about the method, you can find information on BeerSmith’s blog or BillyBrew.com but in simple terms, you add your flavoring hops into the kettle at the same time as your first runnings from your mash tun. The hops steep for a while before your wort starts to boil and the effect is a smooth bitterness and aroma in the finished beer.

Mike has tried it different times last year, but he feels that without doing a side by side with a beer that he didn’t brew with a first wort hopping measure, he really can’t say if he noticed a difference.

He said the beers that he did FWH, he tended to feel like the hop profile wasn’t what he was looking for.

He feels that first wort hopping is almost always done by people doing lots of hopping for IPAs or Pale Ales. He thinks the effect is probably lost in the total hop effect because so much more hops being added to the wort anyway.

Well I am going to try it for the Autumn Ale and hopefully it will be FWH -> FTW