Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Observations on Aging and Dry Hopping

I dry hopped my American Pale Ale today.  Dry hopping is a technique of adding fresh hops to the fermentation tank (primary or secondary) in order to impart a fresh hop aroma.  I put the hops in steeping bags and stuffed them into the carboys, suspending them from the top.  I have to say that I find this and aging beer (the Festivus Ale) quite unsettling.  You can see the hop bag suspended in the carboy.  The beer looks like it is still fermenting, but it is not.  The krausen just hasn't settled (with this yeast, it doesn't like to).

I don't like beer hanging around in the carboys.  I have an almost unresistible urge to bottle the high gravity Holiday Ale.  I feel like nasty bacteria is sitting in my basement, contemplating and scheming on ways to get into the carboy and feast on and copulate in my beer like a drunken Roman Orgy.  Maybe they are already in there (see below).

I also didn't like shoving hops into my beer.  Although hops are a natural preservative, I felt like I was inviting in the nasty bacteria that was sitting around contemplating how to get in.  How generous of me.

I will not feel good about all of this until I taste the finished products.  At that point we will see if it was worthwhile.  I am, however, keeping with my New Year's resolutions about brewing more, and learning more.  I am pushing myself to try new techniques (dry hopping isn't exactly new, but I never bothered with it). 

Yesterday was my birthday.  My wife got me a subscription a the beer of the month club.  I guess that I will get two six packs a month from this.  Goodness, what in the world am I going to do with all of this beer?  I need more friends.  My current beer cellar has a case of Porter, two cases of our West Coast Red Ale, and 9 gallons of holiday beer along with 12 gallons of American Pale Ale aging and dry hopping (21 gallons = about 210 beers of finished product).  That is 280 beers sitting around....not all of it is mine, but still.  I am planning on brewing a lager by early February, and who knows what next after that?

So, who needs a beer?

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