Friday, August 9, 2013

Dry Hopping - 2nd Fermentation - Friday June 7

So I told you I had picked a beer that was intermediate level, that's because IPAs usually involve a thing called "Dry Hopping." Dry Hopping is when you add extra hops to your beer "dry" after it's already fermented in the bucket for 4-6 days. During this time air should already be releasing from the airlock system. The air-lock system has a valve to fill half way with a liquid, some home brewers use water but I was told in my brew class by BrewCamp "Why fill it with water, when you can fill it with vodka?" Love this idea. This way if bubbles release and any fluid from the air lock system into the bucket by accident, it will be dropping in vodka rather than water which could, contaminate your brew.

So once you open the bucket to dry hop, there are a few things to note. 

Step 1: You want to see a grimy, gooey, crusty ring at the top of you liquid line.
This is waste created by the yeast doing their work. They are eating the sugars in your brew and leaving what I like to refer as "yeast poop," it's stuff you don't need, a bi-product that comes from yeast eating sugar. The stuff you do want from the yeast are the bubbles and the alcohol, everything else will get removed through racking. 

Step 2: Measure your alcohol levels in your brew with your hydrometer and record it.
A hydrometer, is the device that measures the buoyancy of your liquid and determines the amount of alcohol through a calculation formula. See the page marked "Brewing Terms" for more information on this.   

Step 3: Rack your beer.
Transfer the beer using a siphoning tool. Moving the beer from the gooey, crusty bucket into a clean sanitized bucket. Yeast don't like lots of air, so don't just dump the beer from one container to another, you'll generate too much oxygen in the process. Siphoning allows the beer to be transferred by sucking it out like a straw and moving it from one bucket to another using gravity as it's force. It also allows you to monitor the transfer and leave the gooey bits and yeast poop in the dirty bucket. The bottom of your bucket should have about an inch or two or murky putty, gooey crud (more yeast poop). Once you see it and there is no more good, clearer liquid stop the siphoning. All of that goop should stay in the dirty bucket and not be transferred to the second clean bucket.  

Step 4: Add your dry hops.
Hops should be placed in a muslin cloth sack tired loosely at the end, then dropped into the bucket. Close lid and wait for the yeast to feed on the new food you gave them. The extra hops will also add extra flavor and kick to the beer. This is that extra bitter hoppy smell you get from an IPA, that aroma and bite, is from lots of extra hops. You should keep the beer in the second fermentator for at least a week, before preparing your beer for bottling.

And now we wait again... tick tock, tick tock...

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