Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Updates, 1 June

Some recent brewing activity (bottling, racking to secondary) incurred the need for an update...

Rye Pale Ale
Bottled today; got 9 bottles, but I broke one with a little too much effort put into the capper.  As this one is a pale ale, I didn't dry hop it.  I'm trying to come up with a VMI-related name for this one...thanks to the crystal rye, it's a little dark, but not dark like a stout, so I won't be using "The Sinks" or something similar that elicits something dark and foreboding in the name.

VMI Evening Gun
Grapefruit IPA #2
Racked to secondary, with a dry hop of 7g German Perle + 8g Amarillo (it's what was left).

Sticking with the VMI naming scheme, I'm thinking of calling this one "The Bomb", after the VMI student yearbook/annual.  With 5 different kinds of hops, 55g of total hops (that's almost 2 full ounces in a small batch), plus the grapefruit zest, this one is going to explode with flavor.  I had an idea when I was thinking "explode", and thought of the VMI Evening Gun, fired by cadets each evening during the SRC formation (image to the left).

I tried this one again because the first one was really good, with a subtle hint of grapefruit.  I'm really looking forward to trying #2 side-by-side with the first one...I kept a bottle handy for just that purpose.  This one's going to have a bit more of the grapefruit, but there's going to be other things going on...I didn't make one atomic change to the recipe.  Instead, I changed a whole bunch of things, most notably the hops.  While I am fan of IPAs and I do enjoy hops, many of the craft brews that I enjoy are single hops beers; most notably, Bell's Two Hearted is an IPA hopped with just Centennial hops, which (reportedly) gives it the grapefruit and pine flavors.  This one's going to be very interesting.

Jarrylo IPA
JM Hall, Cadet Chapel, VMI

No activity with this one today, I just like the idea of naming this one for JM Hall (image to the right), keeping with the VMI naming scheme I'm using for my home brews.  If this one turns out good...I mean, really good...the sad news is that I won't be able to reproduce it because it was only by someone's generosity that I happened to have some Medusa hops.  My first attempt at a single hop IPA using Medusa failed because the plastic cap on the fermenter cracked and let air in, souring the beer.  I used what I had left to hop this beer.

Dry Hop
I've mentioned "dry hopping" in a couple of posts now.  Dry hopping is adding hops to the beer after the wort has cooled.  To this point, I have done this during secondary fermentation.  The way I go about it is to bring a cup or so of water to a full, roiling boil and put a muslin bag into it to sanitize it.  I keep it in the hot water until I'm ready for it, even bringing it to a boil again if necessary.  I then put whatever combination of hops into it that I'm going to use for that dry hop, tie a knot in the end of the bag, and push it into the fermenter.  I then rack the beer to secondary, pushing the tube down into the fermenter as far as I can get it to go, so that there isn't a lot of splashing and oxygenation of the beer.  During this process, I have a piece of aluminum foil that I've sanitized wrapped around the top of the fermenter, to minimize exposure to the air.

I need to get a couple of glass marbles that I can sanitize and drop in the bag so that everything will just rest on the bottom of the fermenter.

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