Danger, wall of text incoming! So I have a pretty fun brew day planned for, probably, this Sunday. First order of business will be starting six gallons of Edwort's Apfelwein (woohoo!) but that's the simple part.
While I'm occupied with that I'll be starting the boil for a six gallon batch of very simple wort (actually a three-gal partial boil), nothing but pale extract and water lightly bittered with Magnum. As that boils I'll set up my six gallon glass jugs (freshly emptied of their apple juice and cleaned) in a large plastic crate like so:
I'm going to fill the crate with hot water to warm the jugs and hopefully prevent thermal shock later. (My original plan was to slowly heat the water with the sous vide circulator I wanted to own by now, but oh well.) Into each jug will go a portion, probably about 1/3 ounce, of hops. I wanted to really learn the flavor of several American IPA type hops, so we're doing Cascade, Centennial, Amarillo, Simcoe, and Chinook. One jug will get no additional hops and act as a "control".
Once the wort is cooled to 180 or so I'll funnel it into the jugs (filling about half-way) and allow it to stand on the hops for a short period. Then I'll top up the jugs with cool water and move them to a cool water bath, then an ice bath. Hopefully cooling fast enough to avoid undue bitterness but not so fast as to explode my jugs. Pitch a rehydrated US-05 packet divided evenly, then cover with tinfoil and pray because I don't want to set up six blowoff tubes. On my LHBS guy's advice I'll be covering with a layer of rubber-band-secured foil and making a small hole in that, then adding a second layer of loose foil to act as an airlock. After active fermentation I might dry-hop with the leftovers of matching hops, haven't decided yet.
So what do yall think -- will this work? Am I seriously risking broken glass or blowoff explosions? Is there anything I should change to better meet my goal of experiencing "pure" late hop flavors/aromas?
Fermenting: Uwharrie Mountain Mead, Novemberfest
Conditioning: Bohemian Pilsner
Drinking: Edwort's Apfelwein, Motueka Wheat, VIP ESB, RBC Hidden Pipe Clone, Naked Red