Hack & Slash XPA: Mosaic Edition

Here it is, the promised follow-up on the brew day with Jake Keeler and the artist formerly known as HBC 369.

The best part about brewing with a buddy is brewing with a buddy, and the worst part about brewing with a buddy is watching half of the batch walk away. At my house, a beer with a hop profile like this just evaporates, even if I don’t tell my friends and wife that it sucks, or that the tap line is filthy and needs to be cleaned anyway, and besides the batch is probably contaminated, so don’t drink any.

First, a word about the blend of base malts in the grist: semi-intentional. I tend to stockpile (hoard) ingredients and tweak recipes to make use of what’s on hand … I cook that way too. On this buddy brew day, we discovered I didn’t have enough domestic 2-row to hit the target gravity, so we made a game day decision to make up the difference with some Maris Otter I had in the bunker. I rather like the effect – the malt backdrop for the hop show is more three-dimensional this way, with some definite bready character and a bit more texture; as a counterpoint, my brew day buddy finds the malt mishmash a bit distracting on top of the tropical fruit notes from the Mosaic.

But see! Differing opinions are allowed on my blog. Do with it what you will, YMMV, and so forth.

Then the hops: man, I like these. As noted before: sweet conifer mixed with a bit of bright citrus, resiny with a waxy, oily character, loads of overripe mango. My wife took one sip and pronounced “starfruit.” Chip Walton took a whiff and just chuckled “dank!” I’ve read in different sources about Mosaic’s blueberry aroma – I don’t get it, personally … maybe it’s this particular lot, maybe it’s just an olfactory blind spot for me. Is Mosaic my new all-time world-beating favorite? No, but I’d definitely buy more and use them again.

And let’s show our work:

Hack & Slash XPA: Mosaic Edition
Target OG: 1.046


  • 72% US 2-row
  • 26% Maris Otter
  • 2% Caramunich


  • 152F for 75″, 170F for 10″


  • Apollo (whole, 17%aa) at start of boil to 30 IBU
  • Mosaic (whole, 12.3% aa) at 15″ to 16 IBU
  • Mosaic (whole) at 0″ – we used 1.5 oz in 10 gallons


  • chill to 59F, O2 and pitch with 1056, free rise to 66F over 7 days
  • crop yeast and dry hop with more Mosaic – we used 1 oz in 10 gallons
  • after 7 days, fine and rack to kegs, crash cool to 35 and carbonate

31 thoughts on “Hack & Slash XPA: Mosaic Edition

  1. It drank good! Looks like we should shoot a tasting notes video. When I had a sample of your half the other day, it was hard for me to find any difference in the two “versions”. The only step we didn’t share was the very last “after 7 days, fine and rack to kegs, crash cool to 35 and carbonate.” Now, in my keezer, I crashed it to about 40, then carbonated. So, a little different, but like I said, The Beer Drank Good!

  2. Maris Otter… Hey, that reminds me to ask you. What’s your thoughts on a locally grown, floor-malted, hand-turned, fire-kilned Malt House right here in MN? Grab the newest QUEST 6-row from UofMN and PINNACLE 2-row from NDSU. GPS farm-field coordinates on every batch. Low volume, Galactic Quality.

        • I was actually refering to the UofMN malt that landlord had mentioned in his post (QUEST 6-row). Brewing with locally grown, floor malted barley would be awesome!

            • QUEST is one of the newest 6-row receiving the “golden” recommendation from the AMBA for malted barley. It descends from Chinese and Swiss landrace. Great yield, lowest DON of any mid-west barley, great plump factor and low protein. Perfect for malting and beer-making. It just got recommended in 2011, so it only made up 3% of the barley crop in MN last year.

              I am building castles in the air at this point, but I want to create a bridge from farm to bottle. This is an agricultural product we are dealing with. Let’s get excited about varietal taste profiles and argue about the best types like we do with HOPS Other than water, malted barley makes up the lion’s share of our ingredient volume. Why use a commodified product from the corporate world that is exactly the same in every brewery? Add some minnesota “terroir”. I grow hops, now it’s time to grow and malt some barley for me and my community.

            • Seems cool! Echoes the discussion about commercial farming of hops in the Midwest a few posts ago, and I imagine a lot of the business strategy, challenges, and concerns would be the same.

      • Sorry about the confusion. UofMN developed QUEST, but you have to grow it yourself. There are four Certified seed dealers across the state that carry the seed.There are only five or six micro-malt houses in the US that sell to the public, none in the mid-west that I can find. We are in the shadows of giants with Rahr and Briess in MN and WI. What better place to make a stand for LOCAL, HOME-GROWN, FRESH, DIY malted barley? Do you want a little cherry-wood smoked and honey infused LACEY 6-row? Try to get that from mail-order catalog. “Wow, that CONLON 2-row was crazy good. Was it a 2013 or a 2014 crop? Yeah, that was a good year”. A micro-malt house could produce up to 4 tons of quality malt per week in the cooler months. Adding a roaster would give you all the Lovibond you want from Vienna to Chocolate.

    • Personal preference and firsthand experience with my system. I think you’re right that all the amylolytic processes are done very quickly, especially with modern domestic malts, and I tried out very short 30 and 45 minute mash rests with acceptable results. However, I personally get a significant bump in efficiency (and a reduction in downtime while heating sparge water) with a longer mash rest.

  3. Looking forward to trying mosaic.
    Btw, for time and arcs I’ve always seen minutes symbolized with a single tick, and seconds with a double. So your mash notes would become 152F for 75′.

  4. I think this may be the hop for me. It added a little complexity to my Steam Beer, and my all Mosiac Pale Ale is just great. I wonder if the blueberry comes out at different temps when dry hopping? Stan Hieronymus had a graph on the different flavors that are extracted at different temps in For the Love of Hops that may come in handy here. Mine was dry hopped around 58F because that is the temp of the house. That being said, if I have fresh blueberries in mind when I drink this, I can taste that. Otherwise, it has so much going on that I just simply enjoy this hop.

  5. I did a (somewhat) similar 5 gallon recipe last weekend, only no MO, 1 oz of black patent for color, and 1 lb. Turbinado to dry it out. About 50 BUs of Mosaic spread over the last 20′ (90 total BUs). It’s currently dry-hopping on 2 oz. more Mosaic. Smells incredible. I, personally, do get the blueberry (I’ve only had it in a Sam Adams Latitude 48 IPA), but it’s more of a blueberry candy aroma for me, rather than the actual berry.

  6. Olfactory blind spot, killer description. You’ve whetted my appetite for my first AG batch currently in secondary, all MO, some medium crystal and caramunich. No mosaic, but count me among the curious, since its so hard to squeeze star fruit through the neck of a carboy.

    • Hop aroma and flavor was quite high … the OG was only 1.046 and it was pretty much just base malt, so the hop load was in proportion to that, and the varieties used are pretty high alpha/high oil.

    • This was fermented in a 14 gal conical, so after the accumulated trub was dumped during the first couple days, the settled yeast was taken through the bottom valve.

  7. Grain to glass in 14 days is my White Buffalo. How crucial would you say the crop was in bringing this out of the green stage? What was your weapon of choice for fining?

    • Not that important. My experience has been that yeast selection, health, and fermentation temp are the trifecta for turning a beer around quickly. This would be a good topic for its own post … For finings, I’ve been using Biofine Clear a couple days before packaging with good results.

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