Saturday, September 25, 2010
|Cooper's drops to increase gravity|
|mini fermenter to the rescue|
Friday, September 17, 2010
Here is how I use this technique. First, I pour myself a beer. Then, I measure out the amount of hops I would like to add to the keg and place those in the coffee press. I've done this with both whole hops and pellet with fine results, for me a lot of it is a matter of what I have on hand.
Heat enough water to cover the hops in the press to a temperature of 170f. approximately, but no hotter than that, as it may extract too much bitterness.
Add the hot water to the hops in the press and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes. I add about two cups of water and expect to lose about half of that as the hops absorb the liquid. I end up with a cup of liquid going in the keg. You will have to experiment to get the right ratio of water to hops for your desired results and you may have to play with it a few times to get it to your tastes. There are no hard and fast rules to this, you just have to mess with it.
Press the hops down as far as possible allowing the hop infused water to rise to the surface. Pour this liquid into another vessel and set in the freezer until it cools to the same temperature of the keg that you will be adding this solution. Taste to make sure it has the flavor you were expecting, you don't want to dump this in you precious beer if it isn't to your liking. Gently pour the liquid into the beer and re-seal and pressurize the keg.
I would recommend beginning with a small charge (1 oz. or less) to begin with and adding additional hops to taste or adding dry hops to augment your results. You can also use this process to add bitterness to a beer that may have turned out too sweet for you, maybe under attenuated or just out of balance. Simply heat the water to boiling temperature and leave the hops in it for an hour and add as noted above. It's easy to go too far doing this so tread gently and ramp up as needed.
If you do this, leave a comment on your technique.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
It was a little intimidating judging others homebrew because I didn't want to be critical and at the same time honest criticism is what the entrant is looking for in order to improve their brewing. I had the BJCP guidelines opened up to the page that described the style I was judging and used it as a reference to make sure the flavors and aromas I detected were appropriate or not for the style.
I tried to be thorough and accurate and I learned as the judging progressed that I will need to develop not only my palette but also my vocabulary if I am to continue judging in the future.
This is serious work and judging anothers homebrew is not something I take lightly. This is not sampling beer and having an opinion on personal likes and dislikes or preferences but comparing the sample to the style for accuracy and quality.
The nerve center of the competitionThis year there were one hundred and thirty some beers entered into the competition, the largest number yet for the county fair and an indication of the rapid growth in the homebrewing hobby. When all was said and done, I ended up in the best of show arena with my Russian imperial stout, but the winner of the best of show turn out to be a new brewer who submitted a Belgian Saison. Congratulations for brewing a great beer.
Next week, each night of the fair, the Zymurgeeks homebrew club will be conducting brewing demonstrations at the fairgrounds and pouring samples of beer from one of the local commercial brewers from Santa Cruz. If you can make it out I'll be brewing on Wednesday night, stop and say hello and taste some beers.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
If you use this type of system, please leave a comment telling how you like it. Thanks from all who read Beer Diary...