Homebrew: Majic Fresh-Hop Apricot Pale Ale 2011

Sterling hop cones, developing bitter loveliness in mid-August
Sterling hop cones, developing bitter loveliness in mid-August

2011 saw our first real hop harvest. Gifted a Sterling hop rhizome from a friend, we’d lovingly tended it in the garden. Planted pretty much in the middle of the back yarden, our Sterling produced its first hops in 2010. About a dozen cones. Not much… but it’s a start.

Then in summer 2011, our Sterling blasted out hop vines, and soon they strained their supports with hundreds, of resiny, heady wee pale green hop cones. Of the 3 lbs. of fresh Sterling hops we harvested in October 2011, 4 oz. went from garden to brew pot in less than 20 minutes. The wort boiled while I picked hops, aiming to have the vines cleaned off in time to add the wet hops for aroma, near the end of the boil.

After all, we’d had so much fun brewing our 2009 Majic Pale Apricot Ale Homebrew, we had decided it was time to brew it again, only as a wet-hop (or fresh-hop) version.

The official beer

Our 2009 Magic Hat #9 clone had been a great success. We had a feeling the fresh, grassy notes of fresh hops would be fun in this apricot pale ale. Here are the notes, recipe and stats from the actual Magic Hat #9 and our 2009 homebrew clone brew.

The Recipe

We worked with our modified version of the clone recipe “Magic Bolo #9.1” in Charlie Papazian’s Microbrewed Adventures: A Lupulin Filled Journey to the Heart and Flavor of the World’s Great Craft Beers.


All ingredients from Home Fermenter Center, Eugene, OR

  • 1 lb. Crystal Malt (put in grain sock)
  • 5 lbs. light dried malt extract
  • @60 minute boil, 1 oz. Cascades hops
  • @30 minute boil, 1/2 oz. Cascades hops
  • @15 minute 1/2 tsp. Irish moss
  • @10 minute aroma/boil, 3 oz. fresh Sterling hops
  • @2 minute aroma/boil, 1 oz. fresh Sterling hops
  • Wyeast British Ale Yeast 1098
  • @ secondary 1-1/4 oz. apricot essence
  • @ bottling: 1-1/4c. dried malt extract

Approximate Target Values

  • Target Original Gravity: 1.047 (12B)
  • Approx. Final Gravity: 1.012 (3B)
  • IBU: Approx. 18
  • Approx. Color: 9 SRM (18 EBC)
  • Alcohol: % by Volume: 4.6%

Our Brew Stats

  • Brew Date: Sun., Sept. 4, 2011
  • Initial Gravity Reading (O.G.): 1.060
  • Bottling Date: Tues., Sept. 20, 2011
  • Final Gravity Reading (F.G.): 1.014
  • Alcohol: 6%
  • Bottling Counts:
    • 12 oz.: 29
    • Flip-top: 4
    • 22 oz.: 8

Brewing & Fermentation

Place crushed grains in 2 gallons of 150-160ºF water and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain out and sparge with ~2 quarts hot water. Bring to a boil, while adding malt extract and 60-minute hops.

Clean/sanitize carboy and other equipment during this time. Add 1 gallon cold water to sanitized carboy. At 30 minute mark, add 30-minute hops. At 45 minute mark, add Irish moss. At 50 minute mark, add 10-minute fresh hops. At 58 minute mark, add 2-minute fresh hops.

Remove from heat and cool wort to 90-100ºF.

Strain wort into carboy, sparging through hops. Add cold water until total amount of liquid in carboy is 5 gallons. Shake to aerate. Take a sample for initial gravity reading.

When wort temperature is between 68-76ºF, pitch yeast. Cap carboy and set in a warm, quiet place.

Ferment at approx. 72 degrees F for 16 days.

Bottle with DME solution and apricot essence. Age at least 10 days.


9/4/11: A great brew. Picked hops from our no-spray organic garden during the 60-minute boil time. Overall, our first true hop harvest (other than last year’s 12 cones) yielded 3.0 lbs. After the 4 oz. for this recipe and the drying of the remaining hops, total yield was 2-3/4 oz.

9/5/11: This brew had some challenges: I was using dried Cascades that had come from a fellow Cascade Brewers Society member. They were in good shape, vacuum-sealed, but were from 2009. I decided to increase hop amounts and do 2 additions of boiling hops, one at 60 minutes and one at 30 minutes. Since the fresh hops were to be used more for aroma than bittering, I did 2 additions of fresh Sterling hops at the final 10-minute and 2-minute marks.

9/20/11: Bottled this solo so Jodie wouldn’t need to try to do all the bending and floor sitting—seemed like that’d be way too much hardship for her being 7 month’s pregnant! Beer had nice mellow orange color, good hop haziness. Apricot, malt and hop flavors balance well, and I expect the apricot to mellow a bit with time. The grassiness and tang of the fresh hops come through well, and there is a nice, lingering bitter finish. Am entering this beer in the Cascade Brewers Society October 2011 club-only competition, as we can enter any style as long as it uses fresh hops. [Update: the beer won 3rd place.]

9/21/11: Easy fermentation. Since fermentation period was still in Oregon’s summer, temperature varied some, 74-78ºF.

Last call

This was our first fresh-hop beer, and it won’t be the last. When fresh hops are right outside your kitchen door, brewing a wet-hop beer is just another bit of autumn brewing fun. Wet-hop or not, Majic has also earned its spot as a beer we’ll be brewing regularly.

4 thoughts on “Homebrew: Majic Fresh-Hop Apricot Pale Ale 2011”

  1. Quick Question… your ingredients list says @ secondary 1 1/4 oz apricot essence… but when following the instructions it says @ bottling 1 1/4 dme with apricot essence
    mind clarifiying this for a novice home brewer (this is my 3rd batch)

    thanks again,
    Michael Wilson

    • Brewed yesterday and there’s action @ the airlock… this still excites me!

      This is my first attempt at brewing outside of a “brewers best” kit…

      I’ll keep you posted!

  2. Googled and found your post. Huzzah. I am brewing a hacked dry dock / magic hat #9 recipe and I just added homegrown chinook whole hops and apricot puree to my secondary. I went back and forth on when to add the puree and decided on the secondary. Hope it turns out!


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