Australian strong bitter? A mistake that I'm looking forward to

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sirons

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Just got done with my brew day where I found myself in a hop dilemma. I was hoping to make my first Australian sparkling ale, but found myself without any Pride of Ringworm or Super Pride. Apparently, I got my wires crossed when ordering. My last order included a heap of different Aussie hops – Eclipse, Vic Secret, Australian Cascade – but no pride. I'm not sure how I forgot it. Regardless, I didn't realize it until halfway through the mash and, after some moments of panic, decided on chucking in some Eclipse, still hoping to follow my original plan: one sizeable hop addition with 15 min. remaining in the boil to get around 30 IBUs. Or course, I got distracted when boiling and missed my 15 min. mark. I panicked again for a moment, and quickly calculated moving my initial hop addition (already measured) when added at 10 min., and threw in another hop addition at 5 min. to get up to 30IBU. Basically, the brew day came off the rails a bit.

This beer was supposed to be a late, experimental entry to the Hunter Homebrew Comp (I'm submitting an American brown ale, and 2 American pale ales, too). I wanted to try a new style and get some feedback. So, I started reading through the 2019 Australian Amateur Brewing Championship styleguides and the 2021 BJCP to figure out where the monster I've created might slide in.

I reckon I've made an ESB by mistake. And, I'm really looking forward to it. Here's how brewday finally shaked out:

2.5kg - 45% - Pale 2-row
2.5kg - 45% - Pilsner
250g - 5% - Wheat malt
150g - 2.5% - Crystal light
150g - 2.5% - Crystal dark

Single rest @ 67C for 60min., recirculating

Eclipse (17.4%AA) - 30g @10min ~23 IBU
Eclipse - 20g @5min ~ 7 IBU
Eclipse - 20g @0min

Safale S-04

I've put it in the ferm fridge at 17C.

It's definitely not a beer I'd normally make. The base was meant to get that grainy, bready character to play off the iron-like qualities of Pride hops. Now, I have no idea what will come out the other end, but the stats look closer to a strong bitter. And, I'm pretty pumped to see how it turns out. :)
 
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dkril

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Might not be to any style, but it should be fine to drink :drinkingbeer:.
 

An Ankoù

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It looks a great brew from where I'm sitting. If you want some pride in there, why not order some now and use them for dry hopping when they arrive?
What's all this obsession with dodgy American definitions of style, anyway? I read the BJCP Guidelines (the key word here is "guidelines") sometimes for a bit of a laugh.
Good luck with your beer.
 

sirons

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It looks a great brew from where I'm sitting. If you want some pride in there, why not order some now and use them for dry hopping when they arrive?
What's all this obsession with dodgy American definitions of style, anyway? I read the BJCP Guidelines (the key word here is "guidelines") sometimes for a bit of a laugh.
Good luck with your beer.

I feel ya. I've only just started looking seriously at guidelines to figure out how to enter my beer into competition. But, the guidance itself is so repetitive and so many categories seem indistinguishable to me, or generally nondescript.

For example, can you pick out which style is which?
"A hop-forward, average-strength to moderately-strong pale bitter."
"An average-strength, hop-forward, pale craft beer."
One's a British golden ale and the other is an American pale ale.

In the guidance, it seems that the characteristic ingredients are the major difference. But, in practice, I assume there's way more to consider when brewing each style. Crystal malts, in my experience, tend to dominate as the preferred adjunct in American pales, maybe carapils. I've been reading more and more about British adjuncts and their use of Munich or victory malt to build body, and I've been incorporating those malts paired with New World hops. So, my pales are "international"? I guess?
 
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I'd gladly drink it, but I'm in Geelong. Since I haven't used Eclipse, and you're now showcasing it, I would be interested in hearing how it come out.
 

sirons

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I'd gladly drink it, but I'm in Geelong. Since I haven't used Eclipse, and you're now showcasing it, I would be interested in hearing how it come out.
I'll let you know in a few weeks. Might even send you a bottle, if I'm feeling up to it. :)
 

An Ankoù

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I'd gladly drink it, but I'm in Geelong. Since I haven't used Eclipse, and you're now showcasing it, I would be interested in hearing how it come out.
I used to live in Geelong (Norlane) in the 60s. Loved going to the Cats matches. I had some eclipse sent over so I'm going to try them out too. And some Astra.
 

MHB

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It looks a great brew from where I'm sitting. If you want some pride in there, why not order some now and use them for dry hopping when they arrive?
What's all this obsession with dodgy American definitions of style, anyway? I read the BJCP Guidelines (the key word here is "guidelines") sometimes for a bit of a laugh.
Good luck with your beer.
POR aren’t highly regarded as a late hop, a decent bittering hop up to around 40IBU, a lot of people say they are harsh at higher bitterness.
They aren’t too bad as a taste addition (-10min in kettle) but there are many better options for dry hopping.
100% on the style guides, my favourite was always Kölsch, based entirely on two mass market Kölschs available in the US, 2/3 of the Kölsch brewed in Cologne didn’t fit the guide. I think they have fixed that up a bit in the later versions of the BJCP but it was always good for a laugh.
Mark
 

elmoMakesBeer

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Please report back how this turns out. I brewed an IPA early this year with eclipse as sole flavour and aroma hops (25g at 10min ~14 IBU, 50g in whirlpool and 75g dry) with magnum for bittering (30g at 60min for 31 IBU) in a 23 litre batch. It’s drinkable but definitely the third choice on my 3-tap kegerator. I’m curious how yours goes because I like to like local varieties. I’m a big fan of topaz and vic secret.
If beer is good I don’t care whether it fits in the definition of a style (although judges might!) but they do help describe a beer. Eclipse doesn’t resemble the flavour of English hops at all in my opinion, so wouldn’t work for an English strong bitter.
 

sirons

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Please report back how this turns out. I brewed an IPA early this year with eclipse as sole flavour and aroma hops (25g at 10min ~14 IBU, 50g in whirlpool and 75g dry) with magnum for bittering (30g at 60min for 31 IBU) in a 23 litre batch. It’s drinkable but definitely the third choice on my 3-tap kegerator. I’m curious how yours goes because I like to like local varieties. I’m a big fan of topaz and vic secret.
If beer is good I don’t care whether it fits in the definition of a style (although judges might!) but they do help describe a beer. Eclipse doesn’t resemble the flavour of English hops at all in my opinion, so wouldn’t work for an English strong bitter.

The beer turned out alright. I have it on the keg next to an eclipse/vic secret pale, and I think I can see what you mean when you say it wasn't top choice in your taps. There's something odd about eclipse and I can't quite put my finger on it. It's a bit spicy or something. I wouldn't say that the hop clashes with this malt bill but I wouldn't say elevates it either. Maybe eclipse is an acquired taste?

I'd give this beer a 4.5/6. The grain bill itself was really nice. Its a solid medium bodied beer with a good malt back. The caramel is a bit strong and maybe that's what's clashing a bit with the eclipse. I might try this again with Munich or Victory instead of the crystal. The color is great with the crystal, though. Little to no hop nose, but some good malt aroma. It holds a great head, and even has a bit of that Belgian lace effect on the side of the glass. Its very drinkable, once you get used to the eclipse.

Yeah, I dunno. Its a bit of an oddball. Maybe that's what makes it special.
 

elmoMakesBeer

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I had a Hop Nation IPA at my local last night that featured Eclipse. Other hops were in the mix but that was the only one mentioned in the description. It was a very fruity beer and the Eclipse mandarin punch was clearly there but not overpowering and no “urgh” flavour I got when I used it. From the taste of it I’d say all the fruity hops were whirlpool and dry hops only and none in the boil. Overall I’d say it can work well if you’re going for a fruity flavour, but best mixed with other flavour and aroma hops so it doesn’t dominate. I’d avoid it in the boil completely.
 

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