Cider Making – Strange gravity

I am making some cider at the moment. I have approximately 10 gallons (50 litres) brewing away. The juice was part of a bulk order from the nearby Millets farm which was split amongst members of our Oxford Brewing Group.

There is no recipe to speak of… basically I made some dried wine yeast (10 teaspoons) into a starter with a little brown sugar boiled in water and cooled. Pitched it into the apple juice in the containers I collected the juice in (food grade 5 gallon plastic). The next day it was fermenting out of the top and all over the floor… so I took it outside for a few days until it had calmed down.

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Experimental Double Batch Brew

After reading an article in the Craft Brewing Association‘s magazine Brewer’s Contact which indicated that beer that is sparged too much may have some off tastes, I decided to try a bit of an experiment.

The plan was to collect two seperate runnings from the sparge, dilute the first runnings to match the second, and then treat both runnings the same in terms of hops, boiling, etc. Then to compare the tastes. Continue reading

Wild Hops

Last autumn I harvested some wild hops that I found growing locally to use when brewing my beer.

The hops were found growing along the path between South Abingdon and Sutton Courtney. Here is a link to a google map somewhere near where I found them. They were picked on 27th September 2006 and dried using a large cardboard box with lots of holes in the bottom. After drying they were compressed and stored in a plastic bag in the freezer.

This year I am growing hops in my garden. I planted Fuggles and Bramling Cross rhizomes that I got from A Plus Hops as part of a combined order with other members of the Oxford Brewing group. The fuggles currently has two bines growing up, one is already over 2 meters high. The bramling cross took longer to come up, and I only have one bine about half a meter tall so far. They are growing up strings and bamboo canes. I tied two canes together so they can get up to about 3 meters. As this is the first year, I am not expecting a massive harvest.

If you are interested in growing your own hops, then I recommend joining the Grow-Hops group on Yahoo groups.