Very last post of 2012! While thinking about how i wished HopSynergy 4.0 to develop i had intended to leave the beer until the end of January to bottle. Subsequently the rate of fermentation has been faster than i expected, with this in mind and combined with my work schedule slipping i should be able to bottle Synergy before departing for Azerbaijan on the 3rd January. I had not expected to be dry hopping this brew so during initial prepwork i did not sterilise HopThang. :(
As you can hopefully see from the photo above i DID dryhop but in a low tech way! The hops of choice for this were 1.5oz of Styrian Goldings and 3.5 oz of Chinook. The muslin bags are weighted with glass marbles and miscellaneous stainless steel fittings (all sterilised of course).
The beer is coming along nicely so it was just a case of fitting a sterilised string and then dunking into the beer to beat the yeast layer back into the beer.
I then decided to try a new technique (to me). Each morning and evening i have sterilised my hands and then pulled the hopbags out of the beer. I have given them both a good strong squeeze. They both run green with hop solution when squeezed. I then dunk them into the beer to allow the hops to absorb beer again and repeat twice.
Presqueeze and Dunk with nice yeast shape
Post squeeze and Dunk with yeast desolation all around!
I read a beer book a few years ago which wrote of the handling/& rubbing of hops preboil to break open the lupin sacks and increase the hops effectiveness in the brew. This is a truly oldschool technique(1800's). I liked the tactile idea of that, very basic and satisfying i thought. The same thing occurs here with a wet hands on approach to dry hopping. Possible downsides are risk of infection and massive additions of bitterness (especially with 16.5% aa Chinook hops). The upside is of course the huge hop aroma that i am ensuring is making its way into the beer and also gaining insight into a new wrinkle in brewing
. I did the hop squeezing for 3 days, today the 4th day is the final day as there is a marked drop off in aroma when squeezing so i would say i have got all that is worthwhile out of these hops. During days 1 & 2 the aroma coming off of the hops when i squeezed them was fantastic, worth the experiment just for the olfactory benefit in those minutes. Time will tell as to how bitter this beer will be, it should have been a 60 IBU beer but if the bittering extractions are large using this method then i could have an 80 or 100 IBU on my hands. I drew a sample from the bottom of the conical and allowed it to ferment out indoors in a trial jar. It achieved a FG of 1.006! The yeast to beer ratio was insane probably 80:1 so hopefully the big batch will stall out sooner than that. See you in the New Year for the trial of the batch. Cheers, :).