Hazy update: bottling was a success!
As I mentioned in the last post, bottling a hazy is always an adventure for a homebrewer. Oxidation is always a worry, and with hazys, it’s even more of an issue due to the large amount of hops and how easily the style can be ruined by oxygen. Thanks to a wonderful r/homebrewing post from user rhymeswithoranj, Rod’s Lazy Hazy Pale Ale was packaged up successfully.
As you can see, this thing looks fantastic. There is absolutely zero sign of oxidation. And it is 100% juicy. The process for bottling is pretty simple, honestly it’s actually easier than my normal route. There are just a few key pieces to keep in mind.
- Ferment in vessel you can bottle from. Whether it be a fermonster like I did or a good ol’ bucket, just use something that doesn’t require you to transfer to a bottling bucket.
- Use carbonation drops and not priming sugar. Once you dry hop you don’t want to open your fermentation vessel again.
- Be sure to fill the bottles to the very top. You don’t have to overflow them. No need to waste any beer.
- CAP IMMEDIATELY!!! Don’t fill a bunch of bottles and then cap. Fill, cap, repeat.
Now in the guide on reddit, u/rhymeswithoranj mentions not to cold crash the beer. I ignored this as they mentioned they said this mainly because they hadn’t tried it before due to not being able to. I cold crashed Rod’s Lazy Hazy Pale ale to help drop everything I could and it turned out just fine.
I did follow the suggestion of trying a bottle after five days of conditioning and sure enough the thing was carbonated. I will say around day eight is when the beer started tasting the best.
I had avoided brewing northeast style beers due to bottling issues in the past. Now that I’ve gotten this one under my belt, the future is hazy. Well after this pilsner is done at least. Thanks again u/rhymeswithoranj!
Hazy Brew Day
If you’ve been following Hop Hands, you probably know that for Jeff’s birthday, his father-in-law, Rod, got him a brew kit of his own. So for Father’s Day, we made the first Hop Hands Brewing tailored homebrew for Rod. Rod likes his beer a little on the lighter side and has been enjoying the current haze craze. So we built a recipe featuring low IBU’s, but loaded with that juicy goodness we all love.
With the mash going, that gave us an hour to get some grilling in. This is father’s day after all. The mash featured 66% 2-Row, 17% Flaked Oats and 17% White Wheat.
With the food done, it was boil time. Since we wanted to keep the bitterness low, we opted for a 30 minute boil featuring 0.75oz of Citra. That 30 minutes went quick. It gave me just enough time to set up the chiller and get the fermonster cleaned and sanitized.
Being a hazy, I attempted a poor man’s whirlpool for this first time. After chilling down to about 175 degrees, I added another 2.25oz of Citra and got to stirring. For 20 minutes I stood (ok I sat halfway through), stainless steel spoon in hand and had that wort whirling. And it worked great! This has been the most fragrant brew yet!
With the fermentation fridge tied up with my lager, and it being summer in Sacramento, now was the time to try Kveik! Boy oh boy do I love this stuff. On Sunday, I pitched it with the wort at 90 degrees and in just a few hours, I already had krausen building up. My original plan had me dry hopping somewhere between 24-48 hours. I did it after about 12 because of how fast this stuff works. I added 2oz of Citra and 2oz of Mosaic to really drive this thing forward. Here we are on Friday and I just wrapped up bottling Rod’s Lazy Hazy Pale Ale.
Now we wait. And hope it hasn’t gotten oxidized and won’t in bottle. Thats the game you play with hazys. I must say, tasting this beer out of the fermentor, flat and all, I am super happy with where its at. It’s juicy with just enough bitterness. Honestly, I could drink a pint of it even being flat. The color is perfect. I think Rod will be happy with this one.
Brew in a Bag!
Now that I have a few of BIAB brew days in the book, I figured it was time to write some of my thoughts, triumphs, failures and more down. I’ll start by saying I am a total believer. Extract brewing is fine, and you can certainly make some great beers doing so. But as someone who has had a taste of all grain brewing, but didn’t want to rush into a full all grain set up in my tiny house, brew in a bag seemed worth a shot.
Now I absolutely pushed my kettle to the LIMIT.
This 8.5 gallon kettle can handle an 8.5 gallon mash if you play your cards right. Usually I heat up about 6 gallons of strike water in the kettle. Then I heat up about 2 gallons in a normal pot in the kitchen. When I reach my strike temp, I dump in the grain, get it all saturated and then add the water from the pot inside to hit the volume necessary for a 5 gallon batch.
Since I’ve started to get my grain double milled (highly recommended for BIAB), my efficiency has been between 70-75% on brew day. I am continuously hitting my expected OG and FG with each batch, sometimes slightly exceeding it. Sure a 10 gallon kettle would be more ideal for 5 gallon BIAB batches, but you can certainly make 8.5 work. As I continue to learn, it’s not about the fancy equipment, it’s about learning the equipment that you have that will really improve your homebrew.
If you are currently extract brewing, but looking to take the next step, I highly recommend trying out BIAB. All you need to do is buy a bag and then you made the jump to all grain. Don’t get me wrong, I love brew days at Josh’s with the full all grain set up. And if space weren’t an obstacle, I’d probably make the jump sooner than later. But for the cost of a bag, you really should give it a try. Brew day is certainly easier and you can get some fantastic results.