Thursday, May 1, 2008

Keg Aeration & Hops

What a great combination...air & hops!

I ran into a predicament while transferring kegged beer to another keg. I had empty a 5 gallon corny, and proceeded to siphon the remaining 2 gallons into a 3 gallon corny. After trying many times without success (I think it was because of all the CO2 in solution), I ended up pouring it as gently as possible. That went as well as could be expected, but I'm sure oxygen got mixed in pretty good. Before sealing it shut, ¼ ounce of whole Yakima Golding hops were tossed in. I really like these hops for late additions and dry hopping. After bleeding out the oxygen in the large head space, I cranked it with 30 lbs of pressure.

Six hours later, I brought it to an ensemble rehearsal, and everyone really liked it. It already had a light/young & fresh/green hop aroma and taste. A couple days later, the taste is really remarkable. Much smoother and balanced. It is a wonderful cask conditioned ale.

There is quite a bit of foam coming through the line, and I assume that is because of the CO2 release emitted from the large surface area on the hops. Also, with what oxygen has been introduced (pouring & hops), the feel of carbonation is so much smoother with much finer bubbles. Since it also has lower carbonation it really feels like it has Nitrogen. I think the combination of air and hops put this beer in a much better place. It is sitting at cellar temperature and is becoming a great tasting cask conditioned ale.

What a wonderful surprise. Since this is my first experience keg hopping, and after it has already been carbonated, I look forward to seeing any differences adding them at various times. The beer transfered and keg hopped here was the Round 2: ESB Amber Ale.

Updated 5/9/08 - The foaming in this beer is way over the top, and it wont settle down at all. I'll try taking off all the headspace pressure, to help release the gas, and let it go nearly flat, and then put more CO2 in. The taste has gotten a little harsh. Perhaps as the volume has gone down to about 1 gallon, the hops become overbearing.


Anonymous said...

Interesting! I'm curious to see how the flavor changes over time as the oxidized character becomes more pronounced (again, similar to a cask conditioned beer)

(ps: came across your blog while researching a cardamom-spiced beer I made a few months ago)

Bros11 said...

Oh yea - here's our blog, if you're interested (sometimes about beer)

Anonymous said...

nice ted, i'm looking forward to tasting a dry hopped pint from your cask

Ted Danyluk said...

Lawrence, the flavor has been getting more enhanced, and I think I notice a tiny bit of oxidation. Its so minimal that I'm not concerned, and it still tastes super.

The foaming is a bit out of control. I have to pour a couple pints, then pour off the foam a couple times, and then pour one half pint into the next to get a full one. Anyways...other than that situation, it is fantastic.

Matt, as you know, you are welcome any time my friend. Just let me know when your heading over. It really is worth a sip, and going fast, so just give me a ring.

Brian said...

mmmmm..cask conditioned beer!

So you've gotten into kegging, I'm next!!! This sounds really interesting Ted, I've always wondered how you could "cask-ize" in a keg and it looks like you've done it!.

Oh also I've changed my blog addy, here is the new one:


Erik Huntoon said...

That sounds really good. I just recently got into kegging myself, only on my second keg to be precise. Curious if you are running into hops sediment in the pints you pour? My most recent batch, an Amarillo red, was dry hopped with an ounce of Amarillo hops. After 3 weeks in the keg and probably 2 gallons drank from it, I still get tiny particles of hops in every single pint I pour.

Ted Danyluk said...

brian, kegging has been a rewarding experience already...very clear beer, and there is more noticeable difference as it conditions over time...especially lagers!

I thought it would be much more involved and take time to figure out carbonation and pressure. Its really quite easy, and I rarely have CO2 hooked up, cause it dispenses itself nicely with a higher level of pressure in the head space. Anyways...more on all that later.

generik420, I haven't run into any hops. It's all foam coming out so far. Also I added the hops after it was fully carbonated and to 2 gallons of beer in a 3 gallon keg. They are whole hops, and I figure they are still floating or suspended on top of foam.

I suspect you used pellets. I've noticed pellet hops will float or sink in the secondary, and eventually it sinks...kind of slowly over time. So its probably normal to see tiny hop particles coming through...especially if you are moving the keg around and disturbing the floating hops. I don't usually mind a little hop particles in a very hoppy beer...and even have seen it in commercial bottle hop bombs.

When I get around to keg hopping with pellets, I will look for large tea bags sold at finer tea stores, and just tie the back with string or some kind of zip-tie. I suppose a teabag could be tied around the end of the dip-tube.

The beer sounds good. I'll check out your blog. Thanks for visiting and comment here. Later...

Erik Huntoon said...

You are right, I am using pellets. I think from now on I will be using some form of teabag or hopbag when dryhopping. I don't mind the particles that much but would rather eliminate them if possible.

Btw.. I put a link to your blog on my site. Hope you don't mind.

Ted Danyluk said...

Don't use the tea infuser ball. It most likely will impart a nasty metallic aftertaste. I just noticed this with my Ordinary Bitter, and you can read about the progress at the end of it's post.

I think nylon or durable designer tea bags will work much better.