Sunday, 10 November 2013

10 November -- Bottling the 2IPA -- The Hopstical Course.

We've been very excited about this beer ever since we moved the car into the shed to drag the mash out of the pot. You might remember our exploits with making the wort for this beer. Loads of grain, loads of hops, loads of effort. And loads of expectations.

This is gonna be the beer that makes it for us. 

This is the beer we christened "The Hopstical Course" (we're still not sure how to spell that).

So onto the details.

We started the day by opening another 70/- and it's still a major disappointment. What's even more frustrating is that the flavours have really come out, but there is no carbonation at all. What a shame! But, life's too short to worry about such things. Grab a moment, learn from your mistakes, and look at the positives. We drank it anyways!

We also moved the Oatmeal Stout out of the priming fridge and into our homes! Yay! This means that I can drink a few of these over the summer. But I'd really like to try and save them for the winter. Mulesy, one of these is yours as thanks for the paddle.

What you don't know is that with this Double IPA, we dry-hopped it. Yep, we are now tea-baggers!! I grabbed one of Monica's stockings when she wasn't looking. We filled the stocking with all of the left-over hops we had in the freezer, dumped that sock into the fermented brew, and hoped for the best. One week later, we were ready to bottle. That day was today. 

We keep thinking whether we should start to move into kegging the beer. The argument for it is that it would cut down on the time we spend bottling. Today, we started at 1pm and were finished by 5:30pm. That's a bit of time. 

But for me, that's the whole point. To spend some time doing this. To have a few hours to not just bottle beers, but to slow things down and get into a rhythm that allows for contemplation, appreciation and reflection. Today proved to be such a day. Today Michael and I talked about everything. We discussed the merits of an honest job, the possibilities of travelling across America, the evolution of disco into house music, the need for true political leadership, the beauty of a well-rounded woman, the yearning for an explanation, the excitement of having a young family, the shock of losing a loved one, the truth that can be found in a single moment, when all else seems lost, and everything makes little sense, and all you have is your fears, and your nightmares, and maybe, just maybe, a little light at the end of all the darkness.

Life is short. 
Friends are special. 
Beer is for sharing. 

This will always be a special beer. Come and have one with us when the brew is ready. 

We use "Beersmith" to help us with all our calculations. It's a piece of software that tells us exactly what to do. 
Hey, what's that folder on your desktop labelled "Pr0n"??

This is the printout that "Beersmith" gives us. Can you read it? It's got everything to make the perfect brew. 

Michael has been busy. He made this little frame to hold the pot

We used to use a 70s TV trolley held down by sandbags. Yeah, we used to have a boiling pot with 60 litres of water held together with chewing gum and string. So safe!!

Here's the Oatmeal Stout split three ways,

Count the bottles and guess which pile Chris took.

So, onto the measuring the gravity.

This is an important step.

We want to know this to work out how much sugar to add.

Screw it up and everything goes 70 shilling on us.

We were right on target (according to 'beer smith', and he should know, he's a computer)

Did I tell you about the dry-hopping. That's where you put a whole lot of hops into the beer after it has fermented. We used everything we could find in the freezer. There's a bit there. 

We needed some music to help us along today. This helped.

And here's a glass of the 2IPA to drink as we bottle it. Yep, it's not carbonated and it's 20 degrees. It was delicious. 

Then, we need to work out how much liquid we have to work with, before we add the sugar. What do you think? 40 litres was my guess. There's a big cake at the bottom to take into consideration.

The next step is to move it out of the fermenting keg, into a nice, clean, sterilised keg. This takes some time.

It's a slow process.

And not much fun.

Give us a smile, Chris 
I can't, serious business!

At this point, we are smelling some great aromas. Lots of whiskey smells, but a great deal of hops. 

Good shot, eh?

Last time we didn't stir in the sugar. That meant flat beer. This time we stirred it. And Michael got to lick the spoon.

I don't know what this is.

Okay, I know what this is.

It's the sock full of hops

It swelled up a fair bit.

And here's the 2IPA ready to bottle

Hi Lucy!

It took a while to bottle. And we didn't want to lose a single drop. Here's Michael getting the last stubbie.

Plenty of beer there.

So much IPA

And into the priming fridge until December 12.

Come and join us then for a beer.

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