Tonight (7 January 2011, six days after brew day) I transferred my latest batch of the Rainy Day IPA to the secondary fermenter, a 6-gallon glass carboy. Right now, the s.g. reads at 1.018 (down from 1.060 at the beginning, for 5.5% alcohol by volume). Once the transfer was complete, I added 2 oz. of Cascade hops pellets (5.4% alpha acid) in a nylon mesh bag, for dry hopping.
The hops pellets were left over from last year (I bought them in March 2010), and were kept triple-bagged in the freezer. I’ve read that some deterioration is natural after opening (these were opened last year, as it was a 6 oz. bag), but that pellets are pretty hardy in the long-term because the interior is protected from oxygen.
In another minor technique change, I decanted the beer from the primary into the secondary fermenter through a hose attached to the spigot at the bottom of the primary, rather than through siphoning. I had been a little hesitant to try this, because I was worried about getting too much of the trub and other nastiness off of the bottom. But, it doesn’t seem like any more than normal got carried along (especially when I tipped the bucket back a bit for the initial part of the siphoning). I’ll definitely be trying this again, as it was much easier.
The beer is reasonably bitter, but not quite as much so as I remember from last time. The color and flavor is nice otherwise, so it will be interesting to see how the dry hopping augments the taste and aroma.