Single Hop IPA #3: Saaz Brew Day

I already explained the process I was planning in my post yesterday. As I begin writing this, the wort has just reached a boil and so far, everything is going as planned. I think that batch sparging is going to be my new normal process.

While the mash was underway, I added sparge water to my boil kettle and heated it on the stovetop. This is the only part of the process that I use the stove for, all other heating is on my propane burner outside. The mash is long enough that there is no hurry in heating the sparge water, though so I do this to save a little bit of propane and because once I reach the temperature, I can just turn the heat down to keep it there. The propane burner does not go low enough to maintain the temperature needed for sparge water.


In an ideal batch sparge you will collect the same amount of wort from the mash and the sparge. I collected four and half gallons from the mash and was nervous that I wouldn’t have enough wort as I was planning on ten gallons total. I ended up getting the five and a half gallons I needed from the sparge, though. As I am planning to use this wort for two separate batches that I want to have the same gravity I had a little extra complication.


I used a half gallon pitcher to add about half of each to my boil kettle after collecting the mash and sparge worts in two different buckets. Not the most scientific method, but I think I got close. The pre-boil gravity of this first wort was higher than expected, about 1.067. I guess we’ll see where the two batches end up at the end of the day.

Before adding half of each bucket to the kettle, I added four ounces of Saaz hops in a hop bag. I mixed what was left of the two buckets together, put a lid on it and stuck it inside to wait until I’m ready to start the second batch.

Now that we’re all caught up I have some time to explain why I’d want an all Saaz IPA. Four ounces of first wort hops in 6% ABV beer is a little ridiculous. These hops have less than four percent alpha acid. Why use them this way? They’re delicious. Some of these single hop beers I want to do to try to learn the character of the specific hops. I’m already very familiar with Saaz, but I love them and the reasons I just talked about for not doing this are the same reasons I want to. Won’t all that hop matter make the beer grassy and even vegetal? Maybe. I already know what Saaz hops smell and taste like, I don’t know what a four ounce first wort hop charge does to a beer, though.

If you aren’t familiar with Saaz hops, they are the classic Czech Pilsner hop. Pilsener Urquell is hopped exclusively with Saaz as are a lot of classic Pilsners. My personal favorite, Victory Brewing’s Prima Pils probably uses some other Noble Hops for bittering, but it definitely gets most of it’s character from Saaz.

This hop is revered as having the finest aroma of the Noble Hops, which are all known for their elegant bouquets. It is spicy, earthy and distinct. This hop is used in a lot of Belgian beers and various European lagers, but as I mentioned, it really defines the character of classic Pilsners. Using it in an American IPA is not standard, but the style is defined by hop flavor and aroma and Saaz is has one of the most prized flavor and aroma profiles in the history of brewing, so why not bring them together?


It is just about time to add the wort chiller and get ready for all those late hop additions. I’ll be back to finish this post once I get the beer into the fermenter and have started the boil on the Galaxy hopped batch.

Okay, the Saaz batch is in the fermenter. There were a couple hiccups, but everything is going to be okay. The obvious thing that I should have planned for is that there was a lot of lost volume from putting nine ounces of hop pellets in what should be a four gallon batch. I don’t have the carboy the beer is in marked, but I’d guess I ended up with closer to three gallons. Too bad, but I’m betting these three gallons will be worth it.

The other hiccup is that the original gravity is much higher than expected. I already mentioned the pre-boil gravity, which I checked with my refractometer. Going by the trusty old hydrometer, the OG is 1.076. I’m going to have to take a sample with the refractometer now to see if it on the fritz somehow.

Nope… the refractometer matches up. Now I just hope that I didn’t inadvertently use too much of the higher gravity first runnings and that I won’t end up with one 8% IPA and one 4%. In fact, I better get back to tending that Galaxy IPA. Check back on Thursday to see how that goes and come tomorrow to hear about my experience as a first time hop grower last Summer.

Single Hop IPA #3: Saaz
Style: 14B. American IPA
Brew Date: 5/20/2014
Serve Date: 6/24/2014
Expected OG: 1.076
Expected FG: 1.012
Approximate ABV: 8.4
IBUs: 70

Fermentables (Single Mash For Two 4 Gallon Batches):
91% 20 lb Pale Malt
4.5% 1 lb Light Munich Malt
4.5% 1 lb Crystal 10L Malt

Hops (all Saaz):
4 oz FWH
1 oz @ 10 min
1 oz @ 5 min
2 oz @ Flameout
1 oz Steep when wort reaches 120º
1 oz Dry Hop for last five days of secondary fermentation

Nottingham Dry Ale Yeast


2 thoughts on “Single Hop IPA #3: Saaz Brew Day

  1. Pingback: Single Hop IPA #4: Galaxy Brew Day | Non-Existent Brewing
  2. Pingback: Single Hop IPA #3: Saaz Tasting Notes | Non-Existent Brewing

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