Monday, May 7, 2012

Dry Hopping the Sierra Nevada

I do not drink, but boy howdy do I like to brew the beer and mead.  Elizabeth, Chuck, and I brewed three batches of beer a couple of weeks ago so we would have to buy less of the commercial stuff for the reunion, for two basic reasons:  it's much less expensive, and it's fun.

One of the batches we made was a Sierra Nevada clone, and it requires a week in secondary for dry hopping.   Dry hopping is tossing a measured amount of specific hops into an already brewed beer to get a unique hop flavor that is different than the bitterness you get from boiling the hops for the hour that the boil takes, or the flavor hops that boil for about 15 minutes (there are also aroma hops that boil for 5 minutes or less).  All these various hops contribute to the flavor and aroma of the beer, and each beer has its own combination of hop types, ounces, and boiling/dry hopping times.  This particular recipe calls for dry hopping, and we finally racked the fermented but uncarbonated beer over the hops into a second plastic bucket.  Like this:

What you see is the lovely golden California Pale Ale being siphoned out of the primary fermentation bucket into a clean sanitized bucket.  The muslin sock thingie has an ounce of hops in it, and it'll soak in the beer tea-like for about a week.  Then we'll bottle it. Check back for updates, as we'll be bottling a lot of beer this week.

We were delighted to discover several months ago that there is a brewing supply in Elk Grove now.  We used to either do mail order or go all the way out to Folsom, which is 45 minutes away from here, a real pain.  This is ever so much more convenient, and the people there are really nice too.  They recognized us the second time we visited, and that's always a plus.  We're happy to give folks like that the business, and will definitely be headed back to spend more moneys, which they in turn will be happy to take, I'm sure.  It smells like malt when you walk in the door, a good thing, and for those that like beer, signs of good things to come.  

Anyway, stuff that makes me happy.  That's what this blog is all about.

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