I was going to write about how the 1815 Dorchester Ale had turned out. So, I thought I should pour one for myself to drink while I wrote about it. Unfortunately, for some unknown reason, I hadn’t restocked any in my refrigerator after drinking the last one.
What was in the fridge was a Black IPA that I had brewed in an experimental batch. I had brewed this as a small batch to try it out before brewing a larger batch. I brewed slightly less than 1.2 gallons, which turns into a twelve pack after it’s been bottled.
You might think that I called this an experimental batch because I did a small batch to experiment with the recipe. You would be only partially correct. There was another experiment that I was trying out.
There is a technique in brewing called dry hopping. This consists of adding extra hops to the beer as it’s fermenting. My additional experiment was to dry hop with different hop varieties. So, after I added the yeast, I split the beer into three different containers to ferment. After a week I added in the hops to each container.
You might wonder what I used for my containers as this is not a size that most home brew supply stores would sell. I used my leftover Simply OJ pulp free bottles. I drill a hole in the top and jam an airlock into the hole. These have the added advantage of fitting into my cooler. I can throw them in and use ice packs to control the temperature. Bottling is easy; I just pour the beer into each bottle (using a funnel, of course.) And instead of having to clean them out when I’m done, I can just pitch them out.
But, back to the beer. I added one variety of hops to each container. Then I added two different hop varieties to two of the containers. I had a bunch of leftover hops in my freezer, so this gave me a chance to use some of them up.
After the beer was bottled and ready to drink, I had a couple of my brewing friends over and did a taste test. Without telling them which hops had been used in which glass they were drinking we each tasted all three of the beers. We all preferred the same beer.
Now I know. I’m going to make a few minor tweaks to the recipe and brew it again at a higher volume. I’ll use the dry hop combination that produced the best beer. Hopefully, I’ll have a good beer. I’ve been enjoying drinking one while writing this, and it wasn’t even the variety we all preferred.
Tim Kane's memories, musings and updates.