What would happen if I added Cascade hops, which give a great burst of floral and citrus to beer, to a bottle of gin? I couldn’t resist finding out as soon as that thought has buried itself into my brain.
I put a bottle of gin in the fridge. I didn’t want a pungent, nasty booze soup and I figured that putting hops into the gin when it’s fridge temperature would slow everything down and give me some control. There must be some kind of science to doing this but I didn’t know it, so just hoped for the best as I poured around 500ml of gin into a teapot, saving some back in case I over-hopped it and could dilute it back down. Then I added the hops, counting out 5 pellets and adding them in. I left them for two hours, then four, then six. When I wasn’t getting much hop flavour I added 5 more pellets and left them overnight, giving them a shake in the morning. Then I added 5 more pellets and gave it another 24 hours...
15 pellets and a day and a half later it was ready. The aroma was gin plus Cascade. Perfect. Just imagine that background grapefruit pith kick of Cascade. I double strained it to get rid of as much hop trub as possible and my slightly green-tinged hopped gin was ready to drink.
I made a G&T and added a slice of grapefruit to enhance the hop flavour, though it didn’t need it – the Cascade shone through the middle adding an extra bitterness and more wonderful aromatics to the drink.
Now I want to buy a case of gin and take a load of sealable bags and raid a hop store to see what other varieties could work... I’m thinking Citra or Amarillo, especially flowers, would be great. And I want to try a beer made with all the gin botanicals. Anyone made that? Imagine a wit made with juniper, citrus peel, liquorice, orris, cassia, angelica root (whatever those last three are...), vanilla, caraway, fennel, coriander, cardamom and other delicate herbs and spices and that’s what I want to drink this summer.
Good work! It sounds like it turned out well. I love gin and hops so may give it a go myself.ReplyDelete
Randy Mosher gives some really good advice about adding botanicals to beer in his book 'Radical Brewing'. He recommends making potions with a neutral spirit like vodka plus the botanicals of your choice and then adding them at the bottling stage. This gives you more control and better flavour than adding during the boil.
It'd be interesting to see how it came out if the hops were added during the gin re-distillation ie. as a botanical. If Hendricks can use cucumber than I guess there's no reason why not. You might be on to something here, get a patent!ReplyDelete
I really like the sound of that gin.ReplyDelete
Maybe you should have a word with someone from Adnams. They are now making gin and other sprits. You never know they may let try your ideas on there equipment?
Tempest Unforgiven Ale. On cask at the HW beer festival last weekend. Smoked rye and juniper berries. review here:ReplyDelete
Rye and juniper isn't quite gin though ;)ReplyDelete
I love that gin has so many different ingredients that work together to produce the finish product. I reckon it could work in beer, but you'd need a neutral yeast and lager malt to allow them to show through.
when we first started playing with Gin recipies we did try using some hops (thought it would be nice as we're a brewer after all). As it happens we used cascade as well however it didn't work for us at all. The hop, even in tiny amounts, was too dominant, at least to work as part of a standard gin. We do a cold infusion and then redistil so it's a little different to just the straight infusion. I think a distilled hop gin could work if the rest of the botanicals were tailored around the hops, whereas with our trials we wanted the hop to play a secondary role to the juniper. It's fun to play though.ReplyDelete
I'm sure you're right. Just about the only rule with gin (at least in order to call it that) is that the juniper must be the dominant flavour, so I'm guessing the mix would be tricky to get hop flavour without it being overpowering.Delete
Still - I'm prepared to wait for perfection ;)
from our early days it turns out that it's actually an EU rule that Gin must predominetly taste of Juniper!Delete
Yes, that's what I was on about. Although I've not spoken to anyone who seems entirely sure who decides if the juniper taste is 'predominant' - guessing it's just a rule nobody's ever really tested the boundaries of?Delete
TSRDobson - That sounds interesting but kinda feels like cheating! I'd want to chuck it all in like late hops and see what happens!ReplyDelete
Gareth - I'd love to try that. I had an idea to do a collab with a gin maker where they'd make hopped gin and the brewery make botanical beer. Could be fun!
SW6Badger - they already tried - see below!
Anon - I've had a few juniper beers before but I want more than just that!
Steve - I think you'd want a yeast that would poke all the flavours a bit and add a little something extra like a wit or saison. Just putting them in something neutral might end up a bit weird.
Fergus - Interesting! Maybe a more herbal hop would work doing it that way around - something noble, perhaps.
re. adding stuff post-fermentation.. I know what you mean about it seeming a little wrong but it's really no different from dry-hopping plus it gives you more control.Delete
Hop-gin? You should visit the Plymouth distillery. They allow you to create your own from a range of botannicals. I'm sure they'd be interested in your idea.
We just bought a hop plant for Pete, and planted it. A Bramling Cross, I think. Maybe in a year or two, we'll be able to try with our own grown hops!!!ReplyDelete
This sounds like an interesting idea! I do like hops, and I do like gin. But where does the person on the street even buy hops from? I don't think you can get them in the supermarket...ReplyDelete
Hops can be bought online at homebrew shops (unless you live near one). Or just go to a brewery and ask for half a handful - that's all you need. All but the meanest breweries will say yes, I'm sure!Delete
It's there for when you need it, Marky.
Hmm, not a fan of gin but we've done various infused vodkas - definitely have to experiment with some hopped voddy!ReplyDelete
Had a hopped genever at ’t Dreupelkot in Ghent the other week, this is the place where there are 200 flavoured genevers — it was fiery and bitter, though the bitterness was muted as if a dinner gong was being hit by a paint brush. Not my game, this was very much in the interests of research.ReplyDelete
Went over to Redwillow (@Tobymckenzie) few weeks ago to brew a G&T Saison. Added juniper berries and lemongrass and gently hopped with Motueka for it's lime-like qualities. Sounds like the juniper hasn't really come through but the lemongrass is singing. Got a cask in the cellar at the Grove, can't wait :)ReplyDelete
The Chase Distillery in Hereford uses hops in their gin, Mark. As I recall, the distillery is located in an old hops store, as well.ReplyDelete
Then there's Rogue...http://www.winemag.com/Wine-Enthusiast-Magazine/Web-2010/Rogue-Goes-Over-a-Barrel/
Great you've found a way to waste hops And gin. You tit!ReplyDelete
Hey anon, great you found a way to waste a few minutes of your life by commenting on this post. You knob!Delete
So happy to see this starting to happen FINALLY! I've been banging on for ages at almost every brewer I meet telling them to make a G&T style beer - I thought Saison was probably best, but Wit would be pretty cool too.ReplyDelete
I love the sound of your idea for a collaboration between brewer and distiller - Hopped gin and botanical beer. The launch event would be brilliant.
I'm so going to do this...I hopped some water this week for a London Amateur brewers talk on dry hopping. Tastes a nice hoppy bitter water, (yes bitter) dry hopping will add some bitterness to water.ReplyDelete
Did you find any bitterness added to the Gin?
Sorachi Ace and bramling cross would be interesting varieties to try.
So would Nelson Sauvin. Bramling Cross, I think would be interesting infused into rum.Delete
A beer made from the gin botanicals? What a fascinating proposition!ReplyDelete
I've been vacuum distilling hops for a while now - interested in reverse engineering a beer...ReplyDelete
I've been dreaming about doing a gin botanical wit for about 6 months! I can't believe it hasn't been done before and can't wait to try it out, maybe home brew first before I hassle the brewers.ReplyDelete
I know I am a bit late to the party but I am going to hassle every brewer I meet until someone makes a gin botanical beer.ReplyDelete
see Red Willow's G+T saison!Delete