Video Tip: Why Westbound & Down Loves Early-Harvest Hops for Its West Coast IPAs


It’s all about freshness and the preservative powers of antioxidants. Here, Westbound & Down director of brewing operations Jake Gardner explains why they believe they’ve gotten longer-lasting, more aromatic IPAs by choosing hops picked earlier in the harvest.

Want to listen to this course (no video)? Head to the new Craft Beer & Brewing Library.

Jake Gardner is a process geek. The director of brewing operations at Colorado’s Westbound & Down—with breweries in Idaho Springs and Lafayette and a taproom in downtown Denver—is happy to let others write the recipes while he figures out how to dial in the process and make those beers better. That attention to both flavor and detail has paid off—most recently with successive silver medals for their Spirit of the West IPA, first at the 2022 Great American Beer Festival and again at the 2023 World Beer Cup.

In this 46-minute video course, Gardner exposes those pressure points that can make a “lean and mean” West Coast–style IPA taste better, for longer. Among other topics, he covers:

  • the importance of pH to stability and drinkability
  • why you should watch your free amino nitrogen (FAN) content
  • the effects of Maillard reactions and Strecker degradation
  • planning a “lean and mean” grist for stability and foam
  • hot-side and cold-side hop choices
  • cohumulone, survivability, and why harvest time matters
  • avoiding over-aeration
  • the importance of vigorous fermentation
  • selecting a yeast strain for longevity
  • carefully testing and dialing in tank finings

And much more.

Want access to more video courses like this one? All of our subscriptions come with a 100-percent money-back guarantee. Get your All Access Subscription to tap into a library of more than 80 full courses on a diverse range of brewing topics. If you don’t love it, we’re happy to refund you.





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