Man down. Houston, we have a problem. The ambitious, albeit well intended, super hoppy beer I made a few weeks back has crashed and burned. I think it was a culmination of a few minor errors into what is now an undrinkable mess.
We had been trying to push the outer limits our IPA style of brewing, because although we have had quite tasty beers, the crisp hoppy character was missing. So I used about 2 ounces of last year’s hop harvest in the early part of the brew day. These are always wild card elements in brewing and in all likelihood did contribute to its downfall.
I used the first generation of a variety of yeast I hadn’t used in a while, WLP 001, California Ale yeast. It took a bit longer to get started, and even then, it had a very stunted fermentation. The first sample had a mild diacetyl (or butterscotch) flavor, but didn’t seem to be that overpowering. I decided to go ahead and keg off the beer.
I also decided to do some dry hopping, running the decanting beer through a filtered funnel and an additional ounce of whole leaf Amarillo hops. Though it does run the risk of oxidation by adding air to the finished beer, I felt confident that this would be worth it. The jury is out in whether this is the primary cause, but it probably didn’t do me any favors.
Finally, the last nail in the coffin wasn’t discovered until we went to put it on tap and realized that the keg didn’t seal correctly and wasn’t carbonated. Any hope we had of it being salvageable at this point was gone. We pulled a sample after letting it rest on gas overnight was so densely overwhelmingly butterscotchy that it was time to pull the plug.
I hate to waste any beer, but I need to pull the plug when one goes bad. Still, it was difficult to watch as I poured out 5 gallons of sadly ruined good intentions.