I'm going to do my first home brew today. I'm using a kit I received for Christmas, and it includes everything I need. The ingredients make an IPA, which is not something I enjoy. I'm planning to change the recipe a bit, and reduce the amount of hops, or leave them out altogether in favor of some lemon zest. I've done some research and I know when and how to do that.
I was wondering if anyone has advice on the hops. The hops included are Columbus and Cascade hops. Which one is the more overpowering bitter hoppy flavor? What other sort of spices might I add to compliment the lemon?
I hate to be That Guy but Google will probably give you more comprehensive answers than most people on here.
I have a couple things to note however.
Considered how much beer you drink in one sitting before bottling.
It is fucked up how much time you save when you use 1litre bottles over the average 340- whatever bottles.
Re sealable "buckle" caps are also save you the money of buying a capper.
Bitter flavor comes from boiling the hops, if you want a less bitter beer just cut the hops weight by half or better yet use a IBU calculator.
Research hop schedules, the longer you boil hops the more alpha acids are isomerized which give beer its bitterness but also gets rid of volatile compounds (flavors and aroma). A 60 min boil is called the bittering addition, 30 min are flavor addition and 0 min are aroma addition. Aroma and flavor additions contribute less IBUs to the finished beer but gives it more "palate" and "nose". A lot of brewers don't do an aroma addition so it's entirely up to you.
The Columbus hops are the ones that will do the bittering. I'm guessing that your recipe says add those for 60 minutes and add the cascade at 30 min and 5 min. Just ignore the part about adding the Columbus hops. Cascade actually has a mild citrus flavor that would probably compliment the lemon. Really it should be the lemon complimenting the cascade hops.
Home brewing regular here. Just as an FYI, you could have kept the Columbus in the boil but cut the time that they are boiled for. Less time, less bitterness imparted.
As for additional flavoring, it is my knowledge that citrus goes with citrus, and would potentially recommend orange , whether zest, or peel from a brew supply store which can be either bitter or sweet.
Any more mods planned? Upping the strength and whatnot?
yeh - I had one that went for nearly a month. Some just take that long to fully ferment. It's not a rule, but I found that the ones that took longer to ferment generally tasted better.
Three weeks should be good, get a hydrometer and measure the gravity, two-three days apart. If it's stable, you can bottle it with some added sugar to carbonate it. Hydrometer costs nothing.