Posts tagged ‘hops’

2010 Is Off to a Good Start

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I finally got a chance to check on my hops today, and they are looking very nice indeed. They all have three or four shoots coming up. I need to build them a terrace in the next couple of weeks so that they will have something to climb, because it had to be dismantled last fall. I’m just hoping that the winter/spring stays mild without too much frost so that these guys get an epic start this year!

February 21, 2010 at 2:45 pm Leave a comment

The Clogged Boil Kettle Canundrum

I have been through no less than 5 filtering methods to try and keep hops and other boil sediment out of my beer. I have read article upon article of what works for different people, and I’ve gotta tell you, many did not work for me in the least. So, for what it’s worth, I will take you on a little journey on how I discovered how to filter out hops and prevent clogging when boiling your hot wort.

The Main Issue: Whirlpooling.

Now perhaps I am not patient enough, perhaps I am too weak or uncoordinated, but I have never gotten a nice whirlpool at the end of a boil that settled all of the hop gunk and trubs into a pretty little cone in the middle of my boil kettle. I’ve tried it many times, but each time, I stir with all of my might, I let it sit for 15 or 20 minutes, I throw open the floodgates (the spigot) and let it drain into my fermenter. But each time, it clogs! Almost immediately, I get enough gunk on the mesh filter I have in the pot that it clogs it right up. Maybe I am an anomaly. Maybe I am impatient. but just puting a drain tube to the edge of the pot and whirlpooling does not work. I tried a couple different filters in the bottom, and still it would clog up. Bazooka screen – not good enough.

So I gave up on whirlpooling as the main form of filtration. I moved on to the hop bag. This is a brilliant yet simple and elegant solution for the filtering problem. All of your hops and other large items (spices, etc) go in a bag that floats in the wort as it boils. Then all you need to do is filter out the little bits that get past the bag and you are golden! Not only do you get a better filter, but you don’t have to wait for a whirlpool of any sort. Also, hop cleanup is a cinch –  just take the hop bag out of the kettle, and empty the bag into the compost heap (or garbage, or whatever).

The Current Setup

So what I have now is as follows:

  • A hop bag for all boil kettle additions that catches most of the large items needing to be filtered.
  • Then, I still have my bazooka screen attached to a dip tube to screen out the rest of the gunk that makes it past.

Using this setup, I have never had a clog. Well, I take that back, there was one, but that involved mold buildup in the spigot. Did you know given the correct conditions and time, mold growth can become a hard, ball-like substance? Kids, always remember to clean out your spigot.

October 28, 2009 at 12:06 am Leave a comment

IBU calculations

I learned something today thanks to a question from Alex about the IBU figure on the stout recipe I posted.  It always seemed to me like the IBU figures were totally arbitrary, but apparently there is a formula on wikipedia here and a great explanation of it on the “How to Brew” website (a supplement to the book that kicks ass.) If you’re looking for a solid brewing book, I’d highly recommend it.

Next time I’ll calculate it out but I don’t have the AA figure for the hops now.  According to the wikipedia link, the 60 IBU figure is definitely on the high side but not too crazy.  All this talk about beer is really making me want to drink one, so the figure will just have to wait for now.

February 19, 2008 at 9:58 am 1 comment

Canned Wort

My brother Dan just called me up from Seattle to tell me about his latest adventure. I thought I’d share.

He just canned something like 10 pints of wort for use in yeast starters. I would have never thought of this, but it’s a great idea! It was a light extract that he lightly hopped, boiled and canned. The hops are something that never make it into my yeast starters because it’s a bit of a hassle (and expensive), but it is great for Dan’s process, because he only needs to do it a couple times a year, and the hops help with the preservation of the wort. Then he just has to pop one open and pitch the yeast. Very cool!

I just keep some extra-light dry malt extract in stock and boil that for 10 minutes and throw the yeast in. It works for me. But this method is appealing and better because it has the hops in there. Maybe if I’m feeling motivated some day…

Dan also mentioned that he was going to culture some Chimay from the bottle for an authentic Belgian Ale. I’ve wanted to try this, I’ll have to see if it works for him.

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Now playing: Toby Keith – Beer For My Horses
via FoxyTunes

January 28, 2008 at 9:43 am 1 comment

Hello world!

Welcome to Alex’s Brewing Adventures. I will include my methods and recipes for beer and Mead and whatever else I can whip up as well as give tips and hints of things I learn along the way. This blog is as much a reference to me as it is to you. Enjoy.

January 6, 2008 at 11:09 pm 1 comment


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