Searching for the line between "hobby" and "obsession"

Pitching on an active yeast cake

I planned my wet hop and imperial chocolate cherry stout brew days six days apart and used a relatively versatile yeast strain (WLP051 California V ale) so I could take advantage of the big yeast cake produced by the first when pitching the second batch. The OG of Wet Dog, a wet-hopped pale ale, was 1.057 with 12.5 lbs. of fermentables. The OG of Snot, the imperial chocolate cherry stout I’m brewing for the holidays, was 1.081 with nearly 19 lbs. of fermentable material (prior to the addition of the cherries, which will be added to the secondary fermenter at a later date).

The picture below was taken during the transfer of Wet Dog from primary to secondary onto an ounce of dried cascades picked from my own hop yard on 9/11/11, packaged air-tight and frozen shortly after they were dried.

It was tough getting all those whole hops into the fermenter and I’m sure it’ll be even worse trying to get them out. In retrospect, I definitely should have used my other primary fermenter to leave space for the hops, as even though I fit most of the beer in there, the release of CO2 from the remaining fermentation (gravity was 1.019 on the day of transfer, still a little ways to go) is pushing beer out of the fermenter as you can see in this picture (Wet Dog on the left, Snot stout on the right):

It’s going to be impossible to remove the tubing without losing/spilling some of the beer. Bummed about that. Should have used another primary fermenter. Live and learn.


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