Friday, 10 December 2010

Dry Hopping - Found my marbles

I checked the remaining Krausen on the Kingland Black IPA this morning. It turns out that my hopbag and hops were floating.

To aid the hopbag descent i added an extra pound of marbles to another 2oz hop bag.

This bag was then boiled for 15 minutes with the marbles inside to sterilise all.

After that it was ran down the line connected to the 'in use' hopbag in the fermenter. I didn't tie a knot it in so at best it will stop the 'in use' hop bag bobbing completely out of the wort.

So there we have it, how i sink my hops when dryhopping. I made this little post as it hit me today that the way i do things is 'The Norm' in my mind. That of course means nothing as my 'Norm' isn't your normal and why would it be? Certainly going by the broad coverage across the planet of people who read this blog 'The Norm' has the be laid out for all to see and then agree (or disagree which is the best bit). I'm interested in the methods you guys 'n' gals use as brewers to achieve your dream beer for that days particular beer.

The Kinglsland Black IPA is at its terminal gravity of 1.014 (4.6%ABV). There is a pleasant smell of Licourice and coffee coming off the beer mixed with a variety of Hop aromas. It smells great but i know this is only the beginning and the changes in the bottle will be huge. I also finished the labels for this beer. What do you think? 

I have been thinking about classic 3/4ltr bottles, corks, cages and wax. Stay calm now, i'm still talking about beer(boom-boom). I haver no idea if this beer would be good enough to put into such fancy delivery devices. Only time will tell and i'm sure that the MkII version will be worthy somewhere down the road. God, this way lies madness....

Edit 13th December 2010

I bottled the Black IPA this morning. All went smoothly. Each bottle was primed with 10ml sucrose solution at a ratio to give 2.8 carbonation volumes. I look forward to seeing if the Oats will have any effect on the head retention.

The smell as i bottled was outstanding. Licourice, sweet malt and tropical hops. Nothing from the Simcoe yet so we'll see what a couple of weeks (Xmas eve) do to change the beer. I think this beer is going to be a winner. Straight away its strange (in a good way) to smell such sweetness in a black beer and a large hop profile. I guess i'm programmed by the Dublin brewers to expect a Guiness signature when i see a Black Beer! I bottled a couple of clear bottles. I do this with all my beers to allow monitoring of Clarity(not this time though) and yeast layer depth.

Myself and Mrs I will try this on Christams Eve. I am off to the Persian Gulf on the 27th December for a while. This stops the consumption of beer but doesn't stop the idea of beer! I plan to work on my MkIII version of White Star IPA while there. Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year where ever you are on the world. All the best to you and your families.

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Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Kingsland Black IPA Brewday Prt II

I don't know where you guys 'n gals are in the world so i'll state the obvious. Scotland gets quite cold in the Winter. Here in the N.E of the country we have been experiencing temperatures of -15 through the night and average during the day is around -2. At the moment i don't want to spend any money on a cooling/ heating system for the fermenter.

My low tech and cheap approach is to use bubble wrap and Duct tape to insulate and stick a 20W wine heater plate to the sloping side of the conical. I know it doesn't look great but with the three layers of bubble wrap and the duct tape there is no heat loss outwards, it all goes inwards into the beer
(all magnificent 20 watts of it)!

I then add 5 layers of blankets and sheets to insulate the whole fermenter. I know this doesn't seem much in the face of the temperatures here but it has kept the beer at 10 degrees for the past week!

I checked a sample of the beer this afternoon and it is down 20 points on the O.G, this will be a long slow ferment. I carried out some tests last year and US-05 yeast will continue to ferment out a beer at 6 degrees C. I am interested to hear if any of you have had sucess at low temperatures with US-05?

Today is also the day for the beginning of the dry hopping.

Minus the packaging we have 1.5 Oz of Simcoe hops and 1oz of Amarillo hops for dry hopping. I am using glass marbles(1/2 lb) to weigh down the hops. The bag, marbles and plastic string were boiled for 10 minutes to sterilise before adding to the fermentation vessel. They will be in the FV for the next 2 weeks.

I also dumped 400ml's of dross out of the bottom of the FV and will continue to do so as the fermentation progresses. This facility to remove heavy dead matter from the beer as it ferments is one fo the great bonuses of fermenting in a conical.

So there we have it people. A mid brew progress report on an unclassified beer.

Looks like a stout.
Has the body(nearly) of a Porter.
Mouthfeel North of an IPA but South of a Stout.
Brewed with Belgian Candi Sugar & Orange peel (How Whit is that)?
Bitterness levels of an IPA
Fermented at lagerring temperatures with an ale yeast.
Dryhopped with American West Coast Hops.
Will be carbonated at upwards of Ale levels.
Head retention of a German Whit.

That should be just about my perfect beer(if it all works), what's yours and why aren't you making it or planning it right now? :)

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