Utilizing the methods of 17th century Benedictine monk Dom Pérignon, delicious bubbly homebrew can be created as a substitute for the champagne typically enjoyed when ringing in the new year.
Known as brut beers, the developing style is marked by high carbonation which allows for a very dry, high in alcohol Belgian beer to be extremely quaff-able. Start planning a brut beer in the next few months to be ready for the coming new year. It is sure to impress your non-beer drinking friends!
The process of adding high carbonation (3.5-7 volumes CO2) to champagne, and now beer, is called méthode champenoise. The process only involves a few more steps than the usual homebrew bottle conditioning process, but it will require a few helping hands.
The goal of the méthode champenoise is to create a highly carbonated beer without any sediment. This is achieved by “riddling” and “disgorging.” Riddling is the process of slowly working the yeast to the cap of bottle over the course of a few months. Once settled, the yeast is frozen with dry ice into a plug. The bottle is then uncapped, releasing the frozen yeast plug in a small “explosion.” Top up the beer, cork it and in a few more weeks you’ll have yourself some bubbly brut.
For detailed information on creating the perfect brut recipe and implementing champenoise treatment, download a complementary copy of “Et Tu, Brut: Brewing the Champagne of Beer” by Drew Beechum (May/June 2006 Zymurgy).