Two regular dudes who happen to be huge fans of American craft beer.
Bottling day: some hate, some tolerate, but I don’t think anyone loves it. I tolerate it, leaning towards the side of not minding it, but I definitely don’t love the process. When I have two five gallon batches to bottle, like with Duck Hook on Sunday, my toleration level is pushed to the limit of annoyance. Besides the bottling, I also racked Double Bogey, a Russian Imperial Stout, to a used whiskey barrel I picked up recently.
I always run my bottles through the dish washer, using the heated dry to sanitize them. Knock on wood, but I have never had a problem with contamination using this method. I am a habitual cleaner of bottles after use, storing them in boxes after they have dried out. This method works for me but I always have to wait an hour for the cycle of the dish water in order to bottle. A trade off I am willing to endure for the lack of labor on my end, outside of loading the bottles in the washer, in terms of the sanitizing the bottles.
I used Rakau, a New Zealand hop, and HBC 342, a still unnamed hop, in these two batches. Rakau was the first bottled. I have to say the pine and citrus aroma of this beer, especially the hop sock, was amazing. It filled the kitchen, err, ah, home brewery, with such an intense aroma that it would easily give Citra a run. Throughout the bottling process anytime I was within five to eight feet of spent hops, I could waft the Rakau.
HBC 342 was up next. Unfortunately it couldn’t hold its own after the Rakau. I was actually disappointed in the aroma after the first bottling. I am sure this beer will be fine but I cannot taste the two at the same time.
I did have about 16 ounces of Duck Hook IPA with HBC 342 that had fermented on Brett that I tried to bottle. Due to half an ounce of hop material, from the dry hop, it was impossible to clear the beer. Dead duck is a better to describe this small experiment.
As usual, I look forward to the tastings that should be coming in a next couple of weeks. Enjoy!
Useless Fact: In Wilton, Maine, there is a cannery that imports and cans only dandelion greens.