Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Continuous Hopping: The Gonzo Way

Well friends, it's that time of year -- when Drew Beechum and I get together and whip up a batch of Gonzo. Just to refresh your memories, Gonzo is a barelywine drew first brewed on the day homebrewer and patriot Hunter S. Thompson killed himself. This recipe calls for a 1.092 beer with bourbon, tequila, rum, hemp seeds, poppy seeds and shitake mushrooms. Yum, yum, yum.

Besides honoring Dr. Gonzo, this beer is (in true Gonzo fashion) also about experimentation. So, besides adding hemp, poppy and shitake 'shrooms directly to the mash, we decided to try something new. Continuous hopping.

The idea came to me in a day dream. Then I forgot about it completely until Kelsey McNair reminded me (I told him about it months ago). I purchased a hopback a couple years ago and I hate it. Pain to use, clogs up the wort chiller, just no fun. But, I was trying to think of SOMETHING to do with it. So here's what Dr. Beechum and I did:

1) Fill hopback up with the Aroma charge. In this instance 1 oz. whole Centenials and 1.25 oz of pellet Chinook.

2) Run boiling wort out of the kettle and into the hopback.

3) Pump mega-hopped wort back into the kettle.

4) Cycle for 30 minutes(we also added the 10 minute charge to the hopback). And yes, I'll be purchasing a back up pump very shortly.

Tada! Did it work? Won't know for a while, but we did taste the wort as it was being returned from the hopback -- HOPPY. So, here's hoping.

Cheers, Y'all.

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