Methode Champenoise

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Recently I heard about methode Champenoise, and it really has intrigued me. So much so that I think I may do it for all my future competition submissions. So since the process intrigued me so much I figured I’d explain how to do something I’ve never tried before.

Methode Champenoise is a process used in making champagne that removes all yeast sediment from the carbonated product. This would definitely come in handy in a situation like a competition where you want your bottle conditioned beer to come out as clear as possible. That and shooting plugs of yeast sounds like a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon. So how does it work? Well I’m getting to that.

The first step in methode Champenoise is riddling your bottles. This is done by placing the bottle in a riddling rack or for the more do it yourselfers with small amounts you can place the bottles upside down. As the bottles carbonate yeast sediment in the bottle will settle in the neck of the bottle. For riddling racks the bottles have to be turned periodically to ensure an even spread to the sediment. Riddling can take awhile since you have to wait for all sediment in the beer to fall out. To help it along I’d probably crash cool the bottles upside down after they have carbonated. That way a several month process could be knocked down to a month.

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After riddling has taken place you freeze the necks of the bottles up to the top of the sediment in a brine and dry ice solution. This will turn the yeast sediment into one big ice plug. Next you pop the crown cap, shoot your plug, top off the bottle with more beer, and recap. The whole process from shooting the plug to recaping should only take seconds, not minutes. Once this is done then you should supposedly have a sediment free beer.

If anyone has done this, or does try it I’d love to hear how it worked for you.

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