Monday 23 January 2012

Rack it up, rack it in. Let me begin.

We can't seem to escape the 80's and early 90's references. The first Die Hard movies, the Astar the Robot PSA, and now House of Pain. If you never want to hear about the Spin Doctors again, you might want to... never mind, guess it's too late. Sorry about that. Whatever you do, don't think of the song 'Two Princes'! It's a notorious subconsciousness lurker; so catchy.  

Anyway, moving on to more pertinent matters, this weekend saw us bottling two small batches of Rye Hard, our rye IPA. We were calling it 'Darkside Ryesing,' but 'Rye Hard' really took on a life of its own, and we've grown attached to it. Like a loveable, liquid child.

We rescued a couple of relics of brewing past from my parents' basement - a bottle capper and drying rack. The bottle sterilization process was lengthened somewhat by dust removal and decontamination of the drying rack, but we were happy to add this vintage gear to our arsenal. The benefit of brewing smaller, experimental test batches, is that you don't have to prep too many bottles. The downside, of course, is if either or both batches turn out well, you've got a pretty long lag time before you can have a larger batch ready.

Bottles dry as stout looks on approvingly.

Tasting the two-week-old Rye Hard, we were pretty impressed, particularly with the more experimental, secret ingredient batch. The weird thing was, it tasted nothing like the secret ingredient, so we think its superior flavour might be related to the underlying chemistry. Regardless, we're really excited to sample both batches after an additional two weeks of bottle conditioning. For the first time, we tried bottling using honey, rather than priming sugar, so we'll see how that turns out. The entire production run of Rye Hard was contained within 5 x 500 mL and 4 x 640 mL bottles. A little deflating, but that just makes it a limited edition, right?

Rye Hard (caps) and Rye Hard: Secret Ingredient Edition (flip tops). 

Stay tuned for the final genesis of Rye Hard in two weeks' time.

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