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November 13th, 2015 // By // Recipe of the Month // View Comments

galaxy-of-hopsHello there, and welcome to Great Fermentations’ recipe of the month blog! This month, our focus is going to be on a hop variety from the South Pacific. Even though there are a handful of hop varietals from down under and beyond, one of these has risen above others: Galaxy! Known for the fruity flavors and aromas it imparts to beer, Galaxy is a hop that you may or may not have used, but one you have most likely heard about!

According to Hopunion, Australian Galaxy hops are a cross between an Australian high-alpha female hop plant and a male Perle hop plant. Galaxy is typically used as an aroma hop because of its fantastic aromatic properties. Descriptors used to paint a picture of Galaxy’s profile include citrus, passion fruit, peach, grapefruit, guava and other stone fruit. While each hop is indeed unique and no substitutes are exact, Citra is one of the most commonly discussed hops when brewers are looking for a substitute for Galaxy, or vice-versa. This means that Galaxy could be substituted in when Citra is not available, something that may happen as the popularity of Citra hops continues unabated. As far as the two go, Galaxy is described as being earthier than Citra, still having the fruitiness but with a few more grassy notes than Citra.

In terms of popularity, Galaxy has come a long way in a short amount of time. I remember the first time I had a beer that made exemplary use of Galaxy…well, kinda (sampling beers, especially excellent ones, sometimes  clouds the memory.) It was a relatively warm pour off a firkin of Sun King beer that was dry-hopped in the firkin with Galaxy (I believe it was Osiris, but again, this was a few beers into the evening.) I remember a smooth, tropical fruitiness that danced on my palate as the beer hit my tongue and made its way down my throat. Lovely! All the passion fruit and citrusy goodness were there to be sure. This was my “aha!” moment with Galaxy, and I’ve come to favor it ever since.

For our recipe this month, we are going with nothin’ but Galaxy for hops! Just a small amount as a first wort hop to cut down on the overall bitterness, then a load of Galaxy for late addition and dry hops. This will help to bring out all those flavor and aroma notes without having the beer be overly bitter. As far as the grain bill goes, we’ll keep it simple, with a majority of the base being standard 2-row brewer’s malt. However, we’ll throw in some Munich malt to supplement for a bit more maltiness and for some color, and a touch of crystal 20L malt for color, sweetness and body. Yeast is something that we could do standard and go with a Chico strain or another American ale strain…or, to make things interesting, we could ferment it with one of our new Imperial Organic Yeasts! I would lean towards Barbarian, which has purported origins from The Alchemist in Vermont, although Joystick (assumed to be the Pac-Man strain from Rogue) would be a good choice as well!

Enough talk, let’s brew this up! Cheers!

A Galaxy of Hops Galaxy IPA Recipe (for final volume of 5.5 gallons)

Estimated O.G. = 1.066
Estimated F.G. = 1.013
Estimated ABV = 7.0%
Estimated bitterness = 85 IBUs

Grain Bill
11 lbs. 2-Row Brewer’s Malt
2 lbs. Munich Malt
1 lb. Crystal 20L Malt

0.5 oz. Galaxy hops (15.0% AA), added in the brew kettle while lautering and sparging, as a first wort hop addition
1 oz. Galaxy hops, added with 20 minutes left in the 60 minute boil
1 oz. Galaxy hops, added with 10 minutes left in the 60 minute boil
2 oz. Galaxy hops, added at the end of the boil while whirlpooling.
2 oz. Galaxy hops, added as a dry hop after primary fermentation is complete.

1 “Pitch Right” can (or make an appropriate starter) of Imperial Organic Yeast A04 Barbarian, or A18 Joystick. You could also do 2 packs (or make an appropriate starter) of Wyeast 1056 American Ale, White Labs WLP001 California Ale , or Safale S-05 dry yeast. You may also try 2 packs (or make an appropriate starter) of Wyeast 1272 American Ale II or Wyeast 1332 Northwest Ale as well.

Brewing Process

  • Mash at 150F for 60 minutes. A mash-out at 168F for 15 minutes is recommended, but not necessary. Lauter and sparge, adding the first wort hop addition into the kettle (either while sparging, or before bringing the wort up to 180F or higher), and proceed with a 60 minute boil.
  • Chill to 64-66F, pitch yeast, and allow to ferment at 66F for 2 to 3 weeks before bottling or kegging.
  • A secondary fermentation for one week to improve clarity and reduce sedimentation is optional.

Extract Version: Replace 12 lbs of American 2-row with 8 lbs of light dry malt extract. Steep the specialty grains (Munich malt and crystal 20L malt) at 150-155F for 30 minutes using a muslin grain bag. Remove the bag, allowing the grains to drain into the boil kettle. Turn off the flame and dissolve the extract in the kettle, then add the 0.5 oz first wort hop addition of Galaxy. Turn the flame back on, bring to a boil and proceed as normal. NOTE: as the extract version may be less fermentable than the all-grain version, you may experience a higher finishing gravity of roughly 1.016 to 1.018 when brewing the extract version. This will in turn lead to a beer with a slightly lower ABV.