Let’s go to the Hop…

20140723_195412Yesterday’s mash finally cooled enough to pitch my yeast at around 3.30pm today – a full 24-hours after I shut down the boiler. 

After pouring off a jug-full of cloudy, sludgy, trub-infused liquor, out came the sweet stuff.

Once again, I’m very pleased with the clarity at this stage and OG was still at 1048, so no major quibbles there either.

I pitched the yeast/yeast nutrient and there was movement pretty much straight away, with a thin layer of cream-like foam forming on top as I gave it a good stir.

It was about a half-inch in depth by the time I put the lid on my fermenting bin.

As of 7.30pm UK time, it was fizzing away like mad and the lid of the bin has puffed up like a mushroom, with little give when pressed.

My porch now smells like Mansfield did when I was a kid. 

It’s darkened a notch overnight and is now a lovely dark ruby, rather than the burnt amber hue of yesterday, although I expect it to lighten back up once the yeast gets to work and does its thing.

My last batch went exactly the same, a really vigourous primary which was over in around 72 hours – if this one follows the same path, I may be able to transfer to secondary before I go back to work next week.

Which leads me to the main point of this post…

HopMy plan with this one is to dry hop it with a mix of the EKG and Citra hops I have left over from the bittering process yesterday. I’ve done a bit of reading up on the best way of going about it, but the internet being the internet, you can read ten different sites and get ten different and conflicting pieces of advice. 

My main concerns are around clarity (and if dry-hopping makes a noticeable difference); infection (although, to be fair, almost every site I have read has said I shouldn’t have any issues with this) and method. 

So, my questions to the awesome homebrew community – and especially to those with a more experienced and nuanced technique than mine currently is – are:

1) Do I contain my hops in a muslin bag or just drop them straight into the wort? And if the former, will it make that much of a difference to the final clarity of my brew?

2) Anything I can do to minimise the floaty bits and ensure my finished brew is as clear as can be?

3) Any general tips, ideas or things that have worked for you in the past?

As always, all advice appreciated and I’ll share some link-love and Tweet props to all who help.