Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dry-hopping Soggy Coaster Imperial Red

I met Thomas Larsen, head brewer at Ska Brewing Co., on Monday to dry-hop my Ska collaboration beer, Soggy Coaster Imperial Red Ale.

Dry-hopping just means adding hops when fermentation has more or less finished. It doesn't bitter the beer substantially, but it does add some floral hop aroma. Since aroma and taste are so closely linked, I'm hoping it adds a little complexity to the beer. Many pale ales, IPAs and imperial IPAs are dry-hopped.

With Thomas' help, I threw in just over three ounces of Willamette hops (pictured) into the 10-gallon batch. The hops float on the surface of the beer until they become saturated. They then sink to the bottom.

This is the result of Beer at 6512's collaboration with Ska. The brewery invited me and Jeff Hammett of Beer N Bikes to brew beers under Ska's aegis. We each chose a style, recipe and name for our beers, then brewed it on Ska's equipment with Larsen's help. They will go on tap at Ska later this month.

Dry-hopping was the last step in actually brewing Soggy Coaster Imperial Red. All that remains is about a week of settling, then it goes into carboys and finally kegs. I can't wait to drink it.

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