Archives for December 2015

December 22, 2015 - No Comments!

He’s British NOT Australian

Back in September I attended a GTA Brewclub meeting at Rainhard Brewing Co. and sampled a ton of fantastic beer. There was one beer in particular that really stood out to me: a Belgian ginger-saison that was brewed by a man whom I had mistakenly assumed was Australian because he had an accent and an an awesome Akubra hat:

Yes, that's him! Yes, the one who looks Australian!

Yes, that's him! Yes, the one who looks Australian!

... so anyways he's British not Australian. I think I was just enamoured by his wicked Aussie-style hat and jean jacket. He's been brewing for over fifteen years, and his beer quality was on a different level. The ginger flavours were fresh and bright, and left a subtle kick as it went down. He explained his process. I listened attentively.

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December 18, 2015 - No Comments!

“Dry Hopping” – What is it?

Hops - the main bittering ingredient in beer - are the perennial flowers of the Humulus lupulus plant. They are added during the 60-90 minute wort boil to balance out the sweetness of the malt. Without them, beer would be far too sweet, and wouldn't taste like beer.

There are many strains of hops that have been genetically modified to suit the preferences of the brewer. Some types are used primarily for bittering and some used to enhance aroma.

Dry hopping is all about enhancing aroma. The rule of thumb is: the later the hop addition, the greater the aroma you get from the hops. Some variants are used at the beginning of the wort boil primarily for bittering purposes while others are added in the last few minutes to enhance aroma (and have a much smaller impact on the bitterness). Can you guess when dry hopping occurs?

CORRECT GOOD FRIEND! After it's already fermented for a week! Dry hopping is all about aroma, and so the hops are added directly to the fermentation vessel (a pail, or glass carboy) after the yeast has fermented the sugars to alcohol.

I've been doing this with my most recent kegged beers and it enhances the taste and aroma substantially. Henceforth, nearly all of my beers are likely to be dry-hopped. You get an A+ for already knowing all this.

December 7, 2015 - No Comments!

Silly Sir Sara’s Cider

Well really, this cider has very little to do with Silly Sir because Sara did 90% of the work (although we are a team). She decided to make a cider today using about 10 crushed apples, cinnamon sticks, a whole nutmeg seed, and cloves, as well as a couple oranges and a bit of brown sugar towards the end. "It smelt great!," Sara just said two seconds ago. It only yielded about half a gallon of cider, which was somewhat disappointing. Initially it was just going to be a regular cider, but I suggested we ferment it to give it some punch.

Looks freaking amazing, right?

Looks freaking amazing, right?

True to Silly Sir form, we experimented and messed around without caring too much about the end result because there's so much learning that goes on through experimentation (I'm a scientist at heart). We used a bread yeast rather than an ale yeast which according to research could produce a "bready" cider depending on the brand. Regardless it should flocculate (drop out) nicely, and if we let it clean itself up for a couple weeks, it should taste crisp and clean. I'm excited to see how this tastes.