A Beckenham Green Hop Beer

INTRODUCTION:
Although I have made a clone of Jennings Cocker Hoop at least once before, I have never brewed it using all green hops. Cocker Hoop is a rich, creamy, gold coloured Bitter with good hop appeal. Good hop aroma with fruit notes. Initial complex taste of hop, fruit and malt followed by a refreshing hoppy and bitter finish.

The late-summer hop harvest, and the spicy-grass, earthy aromas which make green-hopped beers so unique, struck me as being a good excuse to use all green hops in the recipe.

ABOUT THE RECIPE AND INGREDIENTS:
The recipe I am using is one derived from Graham Wheeler in his book “Brew Your Own British Real Ale” 3rd edition 2009. Graham unfortunately passed away in November 2017, but he wrote many great home brewing books that are still readily available. His recipes of well-known commercial beers were based on considerable research. Although simplified for home brewing, they always produce excellent results.

Let’s first talk about the hops. Graham’s recipe and the original Jennings one, calls for the use of Styrian Golding hops and Challenger hops. However, the hops I was going to use were of the Goldings and Cascade variety. As these hops were ‘green’ and full of moisture, I had to use eight times as many hops as normal to get the bitterness and aroma right. The green hops were very kindly given to me from a friend who grew them in his garden.

Turning to the malts in the recipe, the malt bill is relatively simple consisting of Pale Malt, Torrified Wheat, and a small amount of Black Malt.

The Pale Malt I am using is Maris Otter from Warminster Maltings. Maris Otter is considered a very “malty-tasting” pale base malt, which has made it a favourite among traditional cask ale brewers for decades. Using Maris Otter, brewers are able to create beers of relatively low gravity and alcoholic strength, such as “ordinary” bitters, while retaining a genuinely malty flavour profile.

Torrified Wheat has been heat treated (kind of “popped”) to break the cellular structure, allowing for rapid hydration and allows malt enzymes to more completely attack the starches and protein. Torrified Wheat can be used in place of raw wheat in Belgian style Wit-Beers, also very good for adding body and head, especially to English ales. Since it has not been malted, you can’t sub it for malted wheat. Because it’s not malted, it needs to be mashed with diastatic pale malt in order to convert the starches to sugars ready for fermentation.

The black malt is used in very tiny quantities in this recipe and is there merely to provide colour to the beer. Used in small amounts a likely very yellow beer can be turned into light amber without affecting the desired malt flavour outcome.

One of the extra fermentables I am using this time is #1 Brewer’s Invert Sugar. Invert Sugar is a brewing adjunct (unmalted source of fermentable extract). It is manufactured by converting sucrose (derived from cane or beet sugar) with either acids or enzymes to produce a mixture of glucose and fructose. It is called invert sugar because the sugar solution before the conversion (called inversion or hydrolysis) rotates the plane of polarized light in one direction and following inversion rotates the solution in the opposite direction. Fructose and glucose are monosaccharides and are rapidly used by brewer’s yeast strains. Brewer’s invert sugars can lend beers unique caramel flavours that are particular to many British bitters and other ales. They are delicious to nibble and not surprisingly, you end up picking off little bits to eat before you put the sugar in the boil!

COCKER HOOP RECIPE:
Size: 34.3 Litres (post-boil @ 20C)
Mash Efficiency: 86 %
Attenuation: 75%
Calories: 48.3 kcal per 100 ml
Original Gravity: 1.051 (style range: 1.048 – 1.060)
Terminal Gravity: 1.011 (style range: 1.010 – 1.016)
Colour: 19.5 EBC (style range: 15.8 – 35.5)
Alcohol: 5.4% ABV (style range: 4.6% – 6.2%)
Bitterness: 39 IBU (style range: 30 – 50)

MASH:
5.5 kg Maris Otter Pale Malt (Warminster) 7 EBC (85.5%)
0.60 kg Torrified Wheat (Crisp) 4 EBC (9.4%)
0.06 kg Black Malt (Crisp) 1300 EBC (0.9%)
Mash pH 5.45

BOIL:
100 min boil
320 g Cascade green leaf hops (1-2.0% alpha) – added during boil, boiled 60 min (25 IBU)
130 g Golding green leaf hops (1-2.0% alpha) – added during boil, boiled 60 min (10 IBU)
150 g Golding green leaf hops (1-2.0% alpha) – added during boil, boiled 10 min (4.3 IBU)
250 g Ragus Brewer’s Sugar #1 – added during boil, boiled 20 mins
1 Protafloc Tablet (Irish moss) – added during boil, boiled 15 min
0.27 g Yeast nutrient – added during boil, boiled 10 mins
5g Polyclar Brewbrite added during boil, boiled 10 mins.

YEAST:
2 packets of Fermentis S04 dry yeast, rehydrated
299 billion yeast cells

NOTES / PROCESS:

  • Add 200mg potassium metabisulphite to 45 litres water to remove chlorine / chloramine.
  • Water treated with brewing salts for a hoppy flavour profile: Ca=110, Mg=18, Na=16, Cl=50, SO4=275).
  • 5 L/kg mash thickness.
  • Single infusion mash at 66C for 90 mins.
  • Raise to 76C mashout temperature and hold for 15 mins.
  • Fly sparge 5.8 L water with 5.6-5.8 pH (measured at mash temperature). Collect 39.79 litres.
  • Boil for 90 minutes, adding Protafloc, invert sugar, and hops per schedule. Add hopstand hops at boil end. Start chilling after 15 mins.
  • Cool the wort quickly to 20C (I use a one-pass convoluted counterflow chiller to quickly lock in hop flavour and aroma) and transfer to fermenter.
  • Aerate well. I use pure oxygen from a tank at a rate of 1 litre per minute for 90 seconds per 19 litres.
  • Pitch yeast and ferment at 20C (wort temperature).
  • Before packaging you may optionally crash cool to around 6C and rack to a bright tank that has been purged with CO2 to avoid oxygen pickup. Add 1 tsp of unflavoured gelatine dissolved in a cup of hot distilled water per 19 litres of beer, and allow to clear for 2-3 days.
  • Package as you would normally. I rack to cornie kegs that have first been purged with CO2, and then carbonate on the low side (around 2 volumes of CO2) to minimize carbonic bite and let the hop and malt flavours shine through. After 1-2 weeks at serving pressure the kegs will be carbonated and ready to serve. Like all hop forward beers this beer is best consumed fresh, so feel free to raise the CO2 pressure temporarily to 30-40 PSI to carbonate fast over a 24 hour period, and then turn back down to serving pressure.

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