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Mystery Hop Beer

In searching through my freezer this weekend, I came upon about a pound bag of hops that didn’t have a label on it.

In all likelihood, they are my package of Saaz that I bought earlier in the summer, as I haven’t brewed anything that needs Saaz.

Just to be sure, I want to brew a beer with them and make sure they aren’t centennial or something before I ruin a huge batch of bock or pils.

Thinking of doing:
5 gallons
50% pilsner malt
50% pale ale malt (because we have both of these on hand)
.5oz at 60 minutes
.5 oz at 20 minutes
.5 oz at 10 minutes
1oz at 1 minute
1oz at flameout

I guess I could try to make a hop tea and figure it out, but what fun would that be?

You might bump up the 60min addition to 1oz, Saaz usually aren’t real high %AA. At 5% it’d only contribute around 18 IBU.

You can just smell them and know they aren’t Cents.

You could try dry-hopping a bottle of beer with a couple pellets/cones for a few days instead of brewing a whole batch.

Yeah, just smell them. Saaz smells like flowers and grass. Centennial smells like lemony citrus.

I also like the dry hopping idea. Dry hop just a small amount of an existing batch. This should give you a good idea of what the character will be. Then if you wanted you could just reserve them for late additions and not use them for bittering.

Or you can even play around with bittering. Take a wild guess as to the alpha acid content, then try them out on a pale ale. If the resulting beer turns out too bitter, call it an IPA. If not bitter enough, call it a blonde ale. Then revise your guess for alpha acid on subsequent batches. After a couple batches, you’ll know exactly what you can get out of the hops, including IBUs, even without knowing exactly what they are.

I like the “mystery pale ale” idea. What yeast? I would use wyeast 1056 or 1968 (ESB). If you go ESB route I would add something a little bready/biscuity malt in there to get a nice balance. I say go for it.

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