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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Hop Torpedos across the Atlantic

Sierra Nevada Brewing has their Torpedo Ale, and it is a fine --well, more than fine-- beer. But that hop torpedo idea seems to have reached across the continent, and then across the Atlantic.

As per John Bryan, head brewer and partner of Oakham in the U.K., talking about his Oakham Atilla, the recently crowned Champion Winter Beer of Britain:

We tend to only brew it once a year, in fact we are set to do this years tomorrow (Feb.) 26th. It’s brewed with Maris Otter low colour malt and about 8% wheat malt, we also add invert sugar to thin it out otherwise it would be like really chewy. We use all German hops because Attila was a [proto-German]: Brewers Gold, Spalt Select, Perle, & Magnum.

After a slow fermentation it gets transferred to a C.T or maturation tank for two weeks this is where the torpedo comes in. The hop torpedo is a cylindrical cage about 4 feet in length by 1 in diameter, we stuff this with fine mesh nylon bags filled with hops we have even tied them to the outside of it when we’ve run out of space. It’s like dry hopping without the mess.

The last but most important part of the process is that it must be 'krausened' with the wort of a one day old Bishop. This is using day old wort from Bishops farewell that has past through its aerobic fermentation and is into its anaerobic phase.

First we strip out all the old yeast from the beer “Attila” leaving it brite. Then we fill up the finings tank with one day old Bishops then we rack the Attila into cask as normal but instead of injecting finings we inject still fermenting wort. This after its six month sleep it has a superior condition which hopefully we didn't wreck when we transferred it to your cask.

In Baltimore, Maryland, Wayne Mahaffey's eponymous pub is on tap to receive this.

I'm typing this while sipping on a Harviestoun Old Engine Oil, handpulled from a firkin, at Rustico in Alexandria, Virginia. Sometimes, life can be wonderful.

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