Tired Hands HopHands Clone Recipe Revisited


It has been over a year since I posted my recipe for the Tired Hands HopHands “clone”, and since that time I have re-brewed the beer somewhere between 10-12 times with small tweaks here and there. In light of some recent subtle recipe changes that myself and some others have made to the recipe, and with that post being the second most popular one on my site, I thought it was time to revisit and post an updated (finalized?) HopHands inspired recipe (clone?).

Call it murky or hazy, this beer is like a fruit juice cocktail.
Call it murky or hazy, this beer is like a fruit juice cocktail.

I shared the original recipe on Homebrewtalk to see if others had tried it, or had any additional input. A bunch of people brewed it, some more than once, with great results and even lending their opinions on how to get it even closer to the original. The two most hotly debated parts of the recipe were the yeast strain and percentage of Oats in the grain bill, most felt the hopping was pretty solid. I’ve tried batches ranging from 12% up to 20% Oats in the grain bill with varying levels of success. As I brewed it more and more I was missing the distinct Oat flavor at the lower volumes as opposed to just a slightly higher percentage. I then hit on 18% Oats and it really started to come together, the body was creamy and full and there was no mistaking the Oats flavor contribution in malt character.

There has been tons of speculation on what yeast strain Tired Hands uses for their hoppy beers (their Saison strain is a bit of a mystery to) and with Jean being tight lipped on the matter its all still mostly speculation. But the rumor with the most traction is in support for Wyeast 1318 London Ale III being what both Tired Hands and Hill Farmstead use, with posts like this driving the speculation. The same batch I brewed with 18% Oats was the first batch I tried London Ale III, and it was a bit of an epiphany. The attenuation was near perfect, the ester profile supported the hop aroma beautifully, and the oats popped more than ever. London Ale III really took this recipe to an entirely different level, it’s been a few batches now but I am totally hooked on the strain. For me it’s like Conan without having to deal with how finicky that strain can be. Beware though, 1318 is a big-time top cropper and the krausen can linger for quite a long time. You’re going to need a blow-off tube as well.

There is one final component that has really brought this beer together for me and that is the water profile. I don’t claim to be a water expert and might be exposing myself a bit here, but after playing with a bunch of different profiles and reading what other folks are trying I have found that a nearly 1:1 Sulfate:Chloride ratio is pretty crucial. This is something that Shaun Hill has spoken about before, and I’ve seen posted on other blogs. This may not work in a Pliny the Elder clone, but for this creamy\lowly bitter beer, it works perfectly.

This recipe is also very versatile, I’ve done batches with all New Zealand hops, newer American hops like Mosaic, or any other aggressively aromatic hop you find. The versatility really comes into play for me when using it in 100% Brett fermentations. The Oats make up for the loss of body due to Brett’s inability to create glycerol and the hops in the current recipe go great with strains like B. Brux Var Drei or B. Claussenii. What I normally do is brew a 10-gallon split batch, half clean and half 100% Brett fermented. This way I get a beer to drink fresh and hoppy and another that I can play with a new strain or condition a little longer for added weirdness. 

I suppose that it’s possible that HopHands uses a different percentage of Oats, or even a different yeast strain (kinda doubt it at this point) but this recipe here is without a doubt the closest you’re going to get to recreating one of Jean’s flagship beers. Creamy, tropical and pungent, it has been a staple on tap at my house for quite a while now. With London Ale III now in the mix it’s better than it’s ever been. 

HopWards Recipe

Final VolumeOriginal GravityFinal GravityABVIBU
6 Gallons1.0491.0124.8%33

Fermentables

AmountTypePercentage
8 lb 8 ozViking Pale Malt81.9%
1 lbs 14 ozFlaked Oats18.1%
10 lb 6 ozTotal

Hops

AmountVarietyUseTime
0.25 ozCTZFirst Wort Hop60 min
0.5 ozAmarilloBoil5 min
0.5 ozCentennialBoil5 min
0.5 ozSimcoeBoil5 min
0.75 ozAmarilloWhirlpool20 min
0.75 ozCentennialWhirlpool20 min
0.75 ozSimcoeWhirlpool20min
2.0 ozAmarilloDry Hop5 Days
2.0 ozCentennialDry Hop5 Days
2.0 ozSimcoeDry Hop5 Days

Yeast

Wyeast 1318 – London Ale III – 1L Starter

Process

  • Single infusion rest at 150F for 60 minutes
  • Boil and add hops
  • Chill to 66F
  • Pitch healthy yeast into oxygenated wort and ferment at 66F for 7 days or until gravity is stable
  • Dry hop for 5 days after hitting FG

Misc 

  • 60 seconds of pure O2
  • Cherry Hill, NJ Tap water. Mash pH 5.35
  • Water Profile ( 132ppm Ca, 19ppm Mg, 7ppm Na, 147ppm Cl, 146ppm SO4).
  • Some Lactic acid was used to lower the mash pH, your water profile may vary.
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