We Wanna Experiment…

Hi there.

You may remember us from such beers as Wanna Experiment? (Idaho #4) or our latest in the series Wanna Experiment? (With Powder) heading out to bars in Connecticut this week.

If you’re not familiar, the Wanna Experiment series is where we go to try out not only new experimental hop varieties but new forms of hop as well.  This latest batch, features something quite new and promising to the market (as far as we have seen) and, well, it just makes us want to keep experimenting.

Lupulin powder. As soon as we found out about this we knew we needed to try it out. Lupulin is the wonderful little yellow oil pods you see inside a hop cone that contain all of the flavor, aromatics (oils) and even bittering potential (alpha and beta acids). Lupulin Powder claims to be the least vegetal form of hops available without going to CO2 or steam distilled extracts. It arrives in the same package as pelletized hops, but feels like a big mushy block instead of hard pellets.

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Just one of many football fields of hops drying in Yakima. Photo courtesy of Farmer John

In order to pelletize hops, they must first be sent through a hammer mill (or other device to pulverize and make a powder) being punched through a dye in order to form pellets. The immense friction required to do this can create significant amounts of heat, which in turn can activate (isomerize) the bitterng potential, or without specialized pellitizers simply burn the hops and deteriorate delicate flavors or simply burn the hops. Obviously the big guys out in Yakima have specialized equipment to avoid this. In any case, this powder is supposed to contain only the lupulin and bracteole (leaf) – leaving the strig (stem) and any other plant material that may find its way into the pelletizer for the birds.

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It may cost twice as much, but it’s also twice as effective as hops and if used properly can yield 5% more beer.  More important than circular math equations is unlike other hop products which generally do not have some of the more sought after and exciting varieties available – the producers making lupulin powder started out with Simcoe, Mosaic, Citra, and Equinox. So that’s nice.  We chose Citra for our experiment.

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Dry hopping was a whole lot easier too… we’ll share more info about what cleanup is like once the tank is emptied.

And from what we have seen the aromatics of the lupulin powder live up to the hype.  It’s intense yet more delicate and not as heavy handed as the aroma we see from the same usage rates of pelletized hops. Since we did not anticipate brewing this batch far enough in advance to bottle any of it – and we were feeling so inclined to continue experimenting, we figured the perfect opportunity for a packaging and retail experiment….

Growlers.

This coming weekend will mark three months since we opened the brewery to the public on Saturdays. We have released barrel aged beers, mixed fermentations, and started bottling our IPAs all to a very positive response. Enough people to keep us busy and make the expenses and effort involved worthwhile but not so many that there are unbearable lines and make it so that we cannot have a conversation with those coming to visit our farm and brewery. And our goal from day one has been to ensure as good of an experience as possible for those that decide to make the trip; even if that means limiting what we make available.  We would rather have a limited offering executed extremely well than sacrifice the quality of your experience to expand what we offer. After all, we want you to come back.  Seeing as things have been going well and we feel we have the routine down to a point where we can look at how to best expand what we offer for next season, we are going to give growler fills a shot.

It will be a limited experiment, likely the only time this year we do so. We anticipate closing the brewery to the public for the winter sometime in November (weather will dictate exactly when). Assuming all goes well we would certainly like to include it when we open back up in the spring next year.

So here’s how it’s going to work:

  • We will not have any growlers for sale. You must bring your own growler to be filled.
  • No growlers will be sold at the farmers market.
  • We will fill a maximum of 2 Growlers per person since we will have a limited quantity available
  • Growlers must be clean – we hold the right to turn away any dirty growlers
  • There will be two separate entrances – one for growlers and one for bottles so that the entire line is not held up.
  • If you would like growlers and bottles we will have a second cash register where you can b-line up to the counter, purchase what you’d like up to the 9 Liter state limit and pay for it all at once.

Hope to see you Saturday. For a list of available bottles, prices etc click here

One more additional note. This Saturday will be the last weekend of the season we will be offering farm tours.