I’ve been homebrewing for almost six years now. But until this summer I hadn’t had the chance to brew with fresh, “wet” hops before. Luckily a friend of mine had plenty of extra Cascade hops, so I offered to turn those hops into beer for him. He harvested the hops, I stashed them in the freezer, and eagerly awaited my brew day.

It takes a lot of fresh hop cones to make a beer.

Fresh hop cones function in brewing the same way as dried hops or hop pellets. However, since they still contain all their natural moisture, you’ll need about six times the amount of fresh hops as you would dried. With 5 ounces of Cascade hops, I actually didn’t have quite enough to use on their own. So I supplemented with some Magnum hops for bittering and Cascade pellets to amp up the flavor.


Styles American Pale Ale (BJCP 18B)
Recipe Type Extract
Batch Size 5 Gallons
Original Gravity 1.053
Final Gravity 1.011
ABV 5.5%
IBUs 45-ish
Color 7 SRM


Kind Amount Color
Light DME 5.5 lb 8°L
Crystal 20 Malt 0.5 lb 20°L
Cara-Pils/Dextrine Malt 0.5 lb 2°L
Kind Amount % AA Time
Magnum 0.5 oz 12% 60 min
Cascade (Pellets) 1 oz 5.5% 15 min
Cascade (Fresh Cones) 2.5 oz 5.5% 5 min
Cascade (Fresh Cones) 2.5 oz 5.5% 15 min (Whirlpool)
Hallertau 0.75 oz 4.5% 0 min
Kind Amount Stage Time
Whirlfloc Tablet 1 tablet Boil 15 min
Kind Amount
SafAle US-05 (American) 1 packet

One small bag of hop pellets has about as many alpha acids as the entire bowl of fresh hops.

For a five gallon recipe, I should’ve actually used even more fresh Cascade hops. Alas, I only asked for five ounces, but if you can get your hands on 10 ounces, that would likely make an even better beer. Can’t get fresh hop cones at all? Use about three ounces of dried cascade pellets, split evenly between the 5 minute and whirlpool additions. You could also cut out some of the Crystal malt to let the hops shine through even more.


Bring three quarts of water to 155°F and steep the grain for 60 minutes. Sparge the grain with three quarts of 170-190°F water (for me, a tea kettle and a half), top off with two more quarts of water, and bring the wort to a boil. While heating up, stir in the malt extract.

Pretty standard brewing procedure, but I needed a much bigger bag for the hops.

Once boiling, add the Magnum hops and boild for 60 minutes. With 15 minutes remaining in the Cascade hop pellets and a Whirlfloc tablet. With five minutes remaining, add the first 2.5 ounces of the fresh Cascade hops. At the end of the boil, add the remaining 2.5 ounces of fresh hops and stir (“whirlpool”) for 15 minutes. Remove the hops and chill the wort to ~72°F. Transfer to your fermentor, top up with cool water, and pitch the yeast. Of course, don’t forget to take your initial gravity reading!


Honestly, being short on fresh hops and having used some darker Crystal malt, this tastes more like an English Bitter than a classic American Pale Ale. That said, it’s very tasty. The initial malty taste fades into berries, oranges, and a light, lingering bitterness. Double the hops and halve the Crystal malt and you’ve got a killer pale ale. As is, it’s the best ESB I’ve ever made! At least the low amount of fresh hops didn’t leave behind an overly vegetal taste.

Though lacking in hops, it's still a very tasty beer.

Appearance Copper rather than pale, clear, a bit flat.
Aroma Malty first, then some orange rind and grass.
Mouthfeel Smooth, no bite at all.
Flavor Malt forward, then bitter, citrus, berries, not to “hoppy” actually.
Overall More British than American, but not in a bad way. More hops next time!