In January I set forth with my partner Sara on an epic 6-week cycling trip across Middle Earth, and while we sampled some tasty beer, our trip was admittedly less about "hoppy drank" and more about escaping the depressive horror of a bone-chilling Canadian winter. Oh, that and finding Hobbit meat. They were not home.
"Where is all the Hobbit meat?", wondered Sara.
Fortunately, before returning home we did manage to score a kilogram worth of New Zealand's highly regarded and sought after Riwaka hops - a hop variety that's currently unavailable in North America (unless you're exceedingly well-connected).
Note: post updated March 10th, 2018 with batch 2 revision and notes.
Writing to you live from Silly Sir Brewery/a tiny apartment somewhere in Toronto it's me again - here to share with you the fantastic learnings we had drinking beer and visiting breweries in Berlin and Munich, Germany. Yes: we went to Weihenstephan and and sampled fresh Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier and yes, it was the best part of the trip.
A couple weeks ago at my BJCP Study Group we sampled various IPAs from the United States and Canada. One of my favourites was a limited release Black Rye IPA from Amsterdam called Demon Host. It was bright and complex with a touch of roast with a very slight spicy heat that I really enjoyed. As such, I was inspired to try my own interpretation of a Black IPA and submit it to competitions for feedback. I was happy to learn that I received a score of 36.5 at the Cowtown Yeast Wrangler's Homebrew Competition. While I didn't medal, I consider that to be a good score for a first go at the style. I fermented high with a kveik strain, and was pleased with its surprisingly low phenolics and pleasant rummy profile.
Top o' the mornin' to yeh! Or evenin'... ♩ Lar-de-dar-de-diddle de-dum de-dee! ♩ *clicks heels in the air*
*ahem* excuse me... sorry. I sometimes (err...often) get carried away. I was typing in an Irish accent if you didn't follow. I hope you read it that way. If not, I'll give you five seconds to go back and read it again with an Irish voice in your head... Done? Good. The Irish always seem so chipper, with St. Paddy's Day finally here, there's much to be chipper about. For instance, Silly Sir Brewing Co. (a.k.a. me) is proud to announce the release of it's second Irish Red ale: Klifferd the Big Red Ale. It's big, it's Irish, and it's a whole lot of deliciousness capped and trapped in a bottle.
Rapidly chillin' the wort with copper coils
Man, I've typed so much, yet said so little. Alright, let's get down to brass tacks, shall we?
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.