Today the mailman dropped a package through my door, containing a book about hops that my girlfriend bought as a Christmas present for me. Hops are my favorite ingredient in beer, and can’t wait to read through this recently released book written by Stan Hieronymus. For the Love of Hops belongs to the same series of books as Yeast by Jamil Zainasheff and Chris White, and the soon to be released Water by John Palmer and Colin Kaminski. I’ve only quickly looked through the book, but there seems to be lots of awesome information, including stuff on hop chemistry, hop growing, recipe formulation and hop types. I’ll write a blog post with a short review once I’ve finished it! Thanks Pia!
On another note, I’ve been culturing up some yeast from a can of Alchemist’s Heady Topper the last week. The can was quite old (I bought it in June, so it was at least 6 months old, probably closer to 9-12), but to my surprise and joy, I’ve been getting some yeast growth. Alchemist use a proprietary yeast strain (most likely an ale strain), dubbed ‘Conan’, which they use to ferment their famous Heady Topper. I really loved that beer, and apparently the yeast contributes with a large amount of its magnificent aroma. Since the yeast isn’t available to buy anywhere, the only way to get hold of it is to culture it yourself, which is possible since the beer is unfiltered. Others (see here and here) have been successful, so I thought I’d give it a try. I began by autoclaving 1.5 liters of 1.030 wort (sterility is vital when trying to grow small amounts of yeast with low viability). I then sanitized the can (using 70% ethanol), poured off the majority of the beer, and poured the yeast (and hop debris) slurry at the bottom of the can into approximately 200 ml of the sterile wort (all this working in a laminar flow cabinet). I let the yeast grow for three days in 25 degrees C on an orbital shaker set at 120 RPM. After three days, I removed the flask from the shaker, and put it in a cold room, to allow the yeast to sediment for a couple of days. I poured off the supernatant beer, and poured the yeast slurry into approximately 1 liter of wort. I again let the yeast grow for three days in 25 degrees C on an orbital shaker set at 120 RPM. Today I took the flask off the shaker and placed it in the cold room for sedimentation. The flask is smelling fruity and there has been lots of yeast growth (a nice light brown opaque color to the wort). The yeast seems to sediment quite slowly, but we will see in a couple of days. Really looking forward to using this yeast on an actual beer, since its characteristics sound awesome (high attenuation and fruity aroma (peach and tropical fruits)). Will keep you updated once I have more information. If anyone is interested in a small amount of Conan yeast, contact me and we can try to work it out.