Friday, June 15, 2007

brew news

On Thursday I kegged the batch of Belgian Witbier that I made the week before. Like all 'white' beers it owes its light color and refreshing taste to the partial substitution of wheat for barley. I also brewed up a batch of Porter, based on a standard English Sweet Porter kit but with chocolate malt (the grain, not the ice cream drink) added. It smelled great as it was all going into the pot, and when I took it off of the boil, I noticed an extra creaminess owing to the rolled oats in that recipe. There was a bit of a sanitation breakdown towards the end when I was trying to strain it all into the fermenter--first the doorbell was ringing ('Do you want an exterminator, Mami?') and the dog was barking and then the phone was ringing (twice) and both the dog and the cat were running crazed circles around the kitchen past the open lid of the fermenter--but hopefully I'll get away with it. If you're nervous about it and you stop by, you can have a nice summery glass of the Wit instead.

Meanwhile, th'usband has ordered me some more brewing gear for my birthday, namely a fourth keg and a second fermenter. This new fermenter is to be a glass carboy, which is purportedly better when you can't keg right away because the glass protects the beer from oxidation. Having a second will also allow me to space batches closer together and to clarify them with a two-stage fermentation process.

Many beers with a hoppy aroma get it from an addition of hops to the secondary fermentation stage, 4-7 days prior to bottling or kegging day. What I'm wondering is how that works given the narrow neck of a glass carboy. I guess I can't use a muslin bag with plug hops or it will expand like a sponge in there and I'll never get it out. If anyone out there is a brewer, I'm asking what may seem obvious to you: what do I do? Just throw the hops in there loose so I can rinse them out later? Am I missing something?

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