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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: nateo on April 09, 2012, 02:12:49 pm

Title: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: nateo on April 09, 2012, 02:12:49 pm
I'm working a Belgian Brut and will be doing the methode champenoise to bottle it. Basically, you let it carb up on the lees, invert bottle, freeze lees into a plug, uncap the bottle, blow out the lees, then recap.

Would it be possible to dry hop in the bottle, then blow out the pellets with the lees? Is there a reason I should, or shouldn't try this?
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: tschmidlin on April 09, 2012, 03:48:18 pm
I think you should definitely try it in at least a few bottles.  I think you can expect a bigger plug, it might not all come out in one try.  But Drew will be able to give you a better answer obviously.
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: nateo on April 09, 2012, 04:04:53 pm
Drew has been helping me out in private correspondence, although I haven't asked him that specifically. I just thought other people may wonder this later. I'm planning on bottling in a few days, so I'll try it in some of them and post here with my results after disgorgement.

My other thought was to make a dry hop tea, and use that for my dosage. I'm using Nelson Sauvin hops, and I was thinking about using some NZ Sauvignon Blanc as my dosage liquor.
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: dbeechum on April 09, 2012, 06:23:06 pm
I'm trying to remember, we did some of the Houblonee that was dry hopped. My vague memory was that we had some bottles explode like mad when we disgorged because the extra hop material that had gotten into the bottle (we dry hopped in the keg) served as super nucleation sites from hell.

That was un fun. Don't recommend it unless you can keep hop material out of the bottle. The hops don't seem to settle and compact down as well as you'd like.

NinjaEdit!
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: nateo on April 09, 2012, 08:23:45 pm
Thanks Drew! That's super helpful to know now. I'll dry hop now, then crash before I bottle.
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: dbeechum on April 10, 2012, 12:02:51 pm
I totally forgot to add... those dry hopped bottles that survived were amongst some of the best things I've ever had a hand in, so it's a good thing if not slightly dangerous!
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: nateo on April 10, 2012, 01:26:25 pm
Drew - what do you think the shortest amount of time between bottling and riddling/disgorging would be?
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: dbeechum on April 10, 2012, 02:22:43 pm
I turned one around after a month of bottling for a pair of weddings.
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: brewallday on April 10, 2012, 02:38:44 pm
so is he going to answer any questions or just mess around?
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: richardt on April 10, 2012, 07:16:03 pm
Check out Drew's 2009 NHC presentation on the AHA website (you know... that site you frequently hit when you're trying to select for "unread" posts).

Why not just dry hop the beer you have reserved for the dosage step?
Dry hop the reserved beer approximately 7 days before disgorgement, etc.
Crash chill the reserved beer a day or two before disgorgement, and carefully rack the reserved and dry-hopped) beer to a sanitized vessel that can be kept closed and cold until it is time to dosage with cold hop-particle free beer which should help reduce the "super nucleation sites from hell."
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: nateo on April 10, 2012, 07:56:38 pm
I hadn't looked at the AHA presentaiton, just the one on the Maltose Falcons webpage. It's a good place to start, though. I had already thought of "Fletch's method" for riddling, but I'm glad to see it'll work. I also thought of dry hopping the dosage, and maybe use a french press to strain out the hops?
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: dbeechum on April 10, 2012, 09:17:58 pm
Did the French Press hop technique the other day - my one impression from it is you need to give it plenty of time on the hops and between that and the actually pressing - you lose a lot of carbonation.
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: richardt on April 11, 2012, 07:57:57 am
http://www.hopunion.com/1022_VarietySpecificHopOil.cfm?p4=open (http://www.hopunion.com/1022_VarietySpecificHopOil.cfm?p4=open)
Perhaps just adding the hop oils during dosage, and skipping the whole dryhopping from pellets or leaf hops?
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: nateo on April 11, 2012, 08:36:40 am
Drew - what exactly were you dry hopping? Were you doing a whole bottle of carbonated beer? I was thinking of using wine as the dosage liquor, and just dry hopping the wine. Probably not as much aroma that way, but I'd rather have subtle flavor than too much flavor.

Richard - Where do you buy that?
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: richardt on April 11, 2012, 09:52:52 am
http://www.hopunion.com/1022_VarietySpecificHopOil.cfm?p4=open (http://www.hopunion.com/1022_VarietySpecificHopOil.cfm?p4=open)
from USA
http://www.themaltmiller.co.uk/index.php?_a=viewCat&catId=25 (http://www.themaltmiller.co.uk/index.php?_a=viewCat&catId=25)
from UK
http://www.craftbrewer.com.au/shop/default.asp?CID=13 (http://www.craftbrewer.com.au/shop/default.asp?CID=13)
from Australia
I'm just brainstorming ideas and trying to help solve a problem of getting more hop aroma in a "champagne" beer.  I don't have personal experience with using hop oils--that's more of a pro brewer thing.  I figure that guys like you and Drew would have fairly good access to sympathetic pro brewers who could get their hands on the hop oils if you (as a home brewer) could not.
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: dbeechum on April 11, 2012, 10:08:14 am
We were dry hopping a portion of the beer in secondary, just like you would any other beer... just turns out that unlike anyother beer where you get a portion of hop in your beer and go "well, ok" this had explosive consequences.
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: nateo on April 12, 2012, 11:56:51 am
I'm wondering if I should try fining this beer before bottling. I've never used finings before. Would they knock out the hop particles if I dry-hopped the beer before bottling? I have unflavored gelatin hanging around. I'm planning on re-yeasting with EC-1118 at bottling.
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: dbeechum on April 12, 2012, 12:38:16 pm
If you're re-yeasting - then yeah, I'd say fining works like a charm.
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: nateo on April 20, 2012, 01:26:03 pm
Since it's going to take a lot of sugar to get to 5 volumes, would it be better to dose the individual bottles, rather than trying to mix the priming sugar in the bottling bucket? I bought a 20cc syringe for the dosage, but I was thinking about figuring out how to use it for bottle priming too.
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: dbeechum on April 20, 2012, 04:22:47 pm
WE did one batch as individually primed and it sucked. I think in part we can blame the novice crew, but we always have had better luck bulk priming.
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: nateo on April 20, 2012, 05:50:53 pm
WE did one batch as individually primed and it sucked. I think in part we can blame the novice crew, but we always have had better luck bulk priming.

How much did you dilute the priming sugar? I'm figuring on like 320-ish grams for 5 gallons, IIRC. I usually use 3 cups of water, but I'm worried about it dispersing evenly. Maybe 6 cups?
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: nateo on April 25, 2012, 02:24:49 pm
Well Drew, I should've taken your advice. I primed the bottles individually, by weight. It was kind of a PITA. The beer was probably about 50* when I bottled it. I swirled the fresh yeast around as much as I could, but when I was done bottling I found quite a bit of yeast-looking stuff at the bottom of the bucket. Hopefully most of that was the GoFerm. I hope enough yeast made it into the bottles, and I didn't eff the whole batch up.

I have 10 more gallons I'll be bottling later this week. Next time I'll let those come up to room temp so my fresh yeast doesn't just flocc out, and I'll be priming as usual, not by bottle.
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: dbeechum on April 26, 2012, 11:27:38 am
I'm going to frame the first part of that response. No one ever says that to me! :)
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: nateo on April 27, 2012, 04:42:15 pm
Drew - Maybe I missed it on your site, but how much spice did you use in your dosage? I'm planning on using some Sauvingnon Blanc for the dosage liquor, and I was thinking coriander might pair well with that. Any idea how much I should use and how long I should let it steep? How did you feel about the sugar level when you did your 10% sugar dosage?
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: nateo on May 03, 2012, 06:51:20 am
Update in case anyone tries this in the future:
First 5 gallons, where I bottle-primed and added 1 packet of yeast is carbing, but pretty unevenly. Maybe half the bottles are close to fully carbed, and the other half still have a ways to go.

The 10 gallons I bottled after that, I followed the bottle priming dosage instructions for the yeast (20g/Hl or 10g/5gal, IIRC), and I batch-primed. Every three or four bottles I filled, I stirred the bottling bucket with a long spoon to rouse the yeast and keep the sugar solution mixed evenly. Those have all carbed up pretty well and evenly.

A few of the first batch I bottled have started leaking very slowly at the crown. I used my bench capper to try to pinch the crown on, and that's worked for some of them, but a few I couldn't get to seal.

Any thoughts on the leaky bottles? I thought about chilling them and riddling, but I'm worried about turning the bottles upside down if they're leaking. I think once they're chilled, though, the pressure will be a lot lower so maybe they won't leak?
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: dbeechum on May 03, 2012, 08:52:39 am
The bottle priming vs. batch priming definitely jibes with my experience.

On the leaky bottle front, I don't think you're going to be able to riddle those, sadly. Call em keller Bruts. :)
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on May 03, 2012, 09:17:35 am
Mind if I hijack the post to backup a step???

Why go through all the trouble (I didn't really get it from the presentation .pdf)? Can you not achieve the level of carbonation through traditional bottle conditioning?
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: nateo on May 03, 2012, 09:48:29 am
The bottle priming vs. batch priming definitely jibes with my experience.

On the leaky bottle front, I don't think you're going to be able to riddle those, sadly. Call em keller Bruts. :)

Sadly, I've had to drink the leaky bottles. Terrible, really.

Mind if I hijack the post to backup a step???

Why go through all the trouble (I didn't really get it from the presentation .pdf)? Can you not achieve the level of carbonation through traditional bottle conditioning?

I think it's more that at high carbonation levels, any "junk" in the bottles doesn't stay nice and compact at the bottom of the bottle, like in normal beers.

Oh, and Drew mentioned "nucleation sites from hell." The bits of junk make the beer much foamier than it should be.
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: nateo on May 03, 2012, 12:43:47 pm
I had a bottle that was only half-full because I ran out of beer. I opened it today, and enough CO2 blew out it frosted the neck of the bottle. 5 volumes is really quite a lot of CO2. I felt kinda silly wearing goggles rousing the yeast in the bottles, but that's probably a good idea. If I had some really heavy elbow-length gloves, I'd probably be wearing those too.
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: morticaixavier on May 03, 2012, 02:16:48 pm
I had a bottle that was only half-full because I ran out of beer. I opened it today, and enough CO2 blew out it frosted the neck of the bottle. 5 volumes is really quite a lot of CO2. I felt kinda silly wearing goggles rousing the yeast in the bottles, but that's probably a good idea. If I had some really heavy elbow-length gloves, I'd probably be wearing those too.

not to mention a full suit of plate armor. those champagne style bottles are hefty! I wouldn't want a shard of that sticking in my chest.
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: nateo on May 03, 2012, 02:23:35 pm
not to mention a full suit of plate armor. those champagne style bottles are hefty! I wouldn't want a shard of that sticking in my chest.

Yeah, you're probably right. I know the local paramedic through the volunteer fire district, and I wouldn't really want to rely on him in a life-threatening situation.
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: dbeechum on May 04, 2012, 11:53:22 am
I always emphasize safety goggles at least. This pic usually drives home the idea.
(http://i.imgur.com/DUbYH.jpg)

Of course, that doesn't really save you from other accidents:
(http://i.imgur.com/uS8z7.jpg)
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: nateo on May 04, 2012, 03:03:00 pm
Speaking of bottle bombs, on the Maltose Falcons page, there is a picture of a bunch of the bottles all balancing precariously on their crown in a fridge. I strongly suggest that anyone trying this not balance the bottles this way.

I was placing them on their crowns in a tote bin to riddle them today. One of them slipped and knocked three others down, and all of their crowns blew off and sprayed beer everywhere. The tote caught most of the beer, but it was a PITA to take all the bottles out and clean them.

I ended up taking out the bottle dividers from the cardboard cases they came in, and placing those in the totes, then filling the totes with upside-down bottles. This way they shouldn't fall down.

All told, I'm down 11 bottles, due to the mishap today plus the ones that've sprung leaks. I have 5 more that leaked that I sealed back up, but I'm not sure if they're going to hold. If I don't lose any more, I should have 54 bottles when all is said and done.
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: nateo on May 07, 2012, 12:56:42 pm
5 of the leaking bottles went into my fermentation chamber (58*) upside down for riddling. They have yet to start leaking again, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

I had two more start leaking at room temp, but by the time I noticed they had lost 1/5 of their volume. I'm just going to chill and drink those. The yeast has dropped really quickly, but there are little bits of dark cloudy junk that's taking longer to settle out. Hopefully once I can get the fermentors out of my freezer, the cold will help them riddle faster.

I think at 5 volumes, 75-80* is just too hot to store these bottles safely. I'm not sure what kind of PSI 5 volumes puts on the crowns at 80*, but it's apparently too much for some.
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: nateo on May 19, 2012, 07:27:19 am
I disgorged yesterday. About The (now) 8 bottles total with a small leak: I chilled them, they ended up riddling and disgorging fine.

I lost six bottles due to improper freezing of the crown. The slug wasn't solid, and there was a tiny hole in the center of the plug so the pressure couldn't push the plug out all the way. I was using a brine of Everclear (95%) and dry ice. I couldn't get the plug to form properly with the brine. By accident, I added a large chunk of dry ice, and the bottle ended up resting on top of the ice, and not in the brine. The plug froze perfectly, and was just the right size.

Using my timer, I figured out that resting the crown directly on the dry ice for 3min froze the plug properly and consistently.

All told, I ended up with 49 bottles, or 36.75L. I also ended up with about fifteen or so bottles that were messed up but still drinkable, along the way. I started with three batches of 20L, so if you don't know what you're doing, be prepared for quite a bit of racking/bottling loss.
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on May 21, 2012, 07:58:49 am
I've really enjoyed following along this thread and reading about Drew's clubs' experiments with this method.

Nateo - how long should these cellar before you're ready to drink?
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: nateo on May 21, 2012, 08:37:58 am
I've really enjoyed following along this thread and reading about Drew's clubs' experiments with this method.

Nateo - how long should these cellar before you're ready to drink?

I have no idea! My friend's wedding is this weekend, so it'll have to be a week. Now, if you can let it set longer, that'll be better. I'm not sure how long it'll take for the dosage to integrate with the base beer, but we'll definitely be drinking some this weekend so I'll let you know when I get back in town. I'm taking half for the wedding, and saving the other half. 

I also got quite a bit of powdery junk in the younger saison, so I'd recommend doing a loooong secondary at cold temps if possible. I used gelatin and cold crashed for a week on both batches, and I also just let the first saison/mead hybrid I made sit at room temp in a carboy for a couple months.

A guy from the homebrew club said it might be oak dust. IIRC I used ~2oz of oak chips per 5 gallon in both batches. 
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: nateo on May 30, 2012, 07:13:26 pm
Also, FYI, I used my Super Agata-type bench capper to insert the stoppers. No hammer needed like when Drew did his. I unscrewed the bell and took out the magnet, then screwed the bell back on. It worked really well, so I'd suggest inserting the stoppers that way if you have a bench capper.
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: dbeechum on May 30, 2012, 11:20:19 pm
Bah! Hammer's more fun (and for the record - not hammer - rubber mallet - I'm not completely f'd in the head!)
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on July 17, 2012, 08:36:19 am
Reviving an old thread...

My brother is making a champagne-like cider, and he found this:

www.sedexbrewing.com

Thoughts? Think this is a viable alternative to the 'Methode'?
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: nateo on July 17, 2012, 09:08:37 am
Reviving an old thread...

My brother is making a champagne-like cider, and he found this:

www.sedexbrewing.com

Thoughts? Think this is a viable alternative to the 'Methode'?

I would worry about the pressure it can handle. My rough guess is that 5 volumes at 80* is 100-120PSI. My bottles were pretty volatile at room temp, so that seems about right to me. But, if they can handle the pressure, and you use a strain that's flocculant enough (EC 1118 or Premier Cuvee) I'd guess they'd work fine.
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: dbeechum on July 17, 2012, 09:18:53 am
Looks a little like an external bindule system. Cute

But Nate's right, the big problem is the pressure. These things are designed for screwtop bottles and those won't come anywhere close to holding the pressure needed.
Title: Re: Methode Champenoise, dry hop in bottle?
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on July 18, 2012, 07:49:44 am
Cute - that was my initial response.


Maybe you just need a LOT of duct tape?