Adding hops to Festival Golden Stag

Hi, 

according to the instructions of the festival golden stag kit I've got in at the moment you add the hops after five days by just sprinkling into the bucket and then let them dissolve and then use a gauze type bag to keep them in the bucket when syphoning. Although the instructions are quite clear I have been told by a few people to soak hops in boiling water before adding and then add in a hop bag to avoid them cluttering up the syphon tube. Whats the best approach to adding hops? Does it vary from beer to beer? 
Also how long did you need to leave in the bottle to get the best out of it? Would love to have a batch through for xmas but don't want to rush it; have heard some golden ales you need to leave for 6 weeks or so to let flavours come out.

Thanks in anticipation...

Si
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Comments

  • HBO_StaffHBO_Staff Administrator Posts: 2,040

    Hi Si, there is no hard and fast rule here, people find their own preferred method and you should do what you think best for you. For the taste as the manufacturers intend you should follow their guide, but you can soak the hops first if you prefer, although you may find that it will make the hop flavour stronger, and we should point out that quite a few people have found (including us on the 2 we've done) that the hop flavour is already quite prominent, particularly after the first few weeks after bottling/kegging. The hop flavours will no doubt mellow with time, and we have ours stored for a few more weeks yet to get the best results from it. Whether you keep the hops in a bag to help when syphoning, or use the straining bag over the end of the syphon, the results will be the same, although it is easier to syphon when the hops can easily be removed in a bag.

    The manufacturers recommend around 3 weeks minimum for the brew in bottles, but as usual we would say this is the minimum and whilst it will be perfectly good to drink, we believe it will be much improved for leaving longer to condition and allow the full flavours to develop. It would probably be fine for Xmas, open one and give it a try and see, but be sure to keep one for another couple of months and try it again later and see what you think to the difference.

    If wanting it ready for Xmas do all you can to help it, keep it fermenting at the right temperature range, then once bottled keep it warm for a few days to get the secondary fermentation going, then move it somewhere dark and a few degrees cooler to condition until Xmas

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