reader question: British ale fermentation techniques

Reader and Berliner Weisse brewer Scott hit me with this recently, and it was too chewy to not repost here:

So I recently came across this thread on Homebrew Talk ( http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/british-yeasts-fermentation-temps-profiles-cybi-other-thoughts-221817/).

Anyway, my initial question has less to do with the subject of the thread (ferm temps) but more to do with something one of the responders noted.   His premise was that for lack of a better term “head pressure” during fermentation didn’t allow full expression by some of these British yeasts.  He advocated an “open” or “semi-open” fermentation.  I was wondering what your thoughts on this subject matter?  Would a closed environment have an off affect than an open free release of gases environment?

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tasting notes: Boat Bitter

Boat Bitter

We met the deadline for Chip’s block party and have also imbibed it in a boat. At the time of this writing it is coming up on 8 weeks old and my half of the batch is down to its last couple pints. Although it drank pretty well at under two weeks, I’ll allow as how it looked prettier about a week later, once the finings really took hold and the chill haze resolved. Let’s taste the Boat Bitter before it’s gone: Continue reading

Boat Bitter

After grinding over easily-avoidable rocks and missing hooksets due to the effects of 7% American IPAs, fly fishermen in central Minnesota invented the ordinary bitter as a more temperate all-day beer with which to fill their drift boat coolers [citation needed]. Continue reading

nothing new under the sun

One of the great things about a fiber-rich diet is that it affords daddy some quality reading time in his special office, and this morning some muesli induced me to finally start digging in to Mitch Steele’s IPA (that’s an acronym for something, but I’m not far enough along in the book) and came across this nugget regarding (probable) brewing practices for the nascent style in the 18th century:

Hops were added during the boil and were often only allowed to boil for 30 minutes before being pulled out and replaced with another charge. It is cited in many brewing texts of the period that brewers believed that boiling hops for more than 30 minutes extracted rough and harsh flavors and bitterness.

Kind of a philosophical antecedent to the whole late-addition and hopbursting approach – not directly analogous and probably with not quite the same results in the kettle, but still predating the 21st century craft brewing “hoppy not bitter” mantra by a good 250 years. Nothing new under the sun.

Also:

Occasionally hair sieves were used to strain the hops from the wort.

Maybe there’s a market for follicle-based hop-separation technology in modern home- and craft brewing? Somebody try that out, let me know how it goes.