Brewdyssey 5 – Part the third

To reach into the unknown is a frequent call of man – he who does not truly embrace the absurd life can never attain greatness. It is with this that our heroes laid waste to a creation with which all things were new. Strength for them, however, lay in the understanding that, as long as they used their tools as a great warrior uses his sword, they could vanquish any enemy…. the Brewdyssey continues!

 Hey up everyone.

So, last time I nattered about what beer we fancied brewing and, well, it was a new beast pretty much entirely.

New yeast, new hops and a new alcohol level.

What’s more we’d not tried two of the hops we were using before; we’d tried one (Bif had definitely tried one) (That sounds dirty. It’s not, Dwalin means I’ve drunk Golem’s Precious, an incredible beer made with Citra hops. I would like to categorically deny any rumours of perverse things done with hops by your humble editor… – Bifur) and the yeast is one which we’ve tasted before. Nevertheless we were kind of in the dark as to how this one was going to go…. To be honest we’ve been in the dark with just about every beer. With this one though, we had the added difficulty of our own hubris.

We’ve never shied away from exclaiming the brilliance of our beers; two gents that had never brewed beer properly in their lives have now never failed to produce something that is not only drinkable but also extremely fucking good. * Fuck it, I’m just going to say that Satan’s Fizzy J was the best beer I had in 2015!

This has meant, though, that at every step of the way we have both been expecting to misstep a little. Maybe it’s all just been luck (it probably has). Maybe we’re doing things stupidly (we probably are). Maybe the next batch is going to be disgusting… IF THIS HAPPENS WE MIGHT JUST DIE! ARRRRRGGGGGHHHH

Going into this brew, then, we had a few flights of fear… the only way to push through those flights of fear? Trust in our now ingrained sense of using our equipment.

Sterilise. Heat water. Mash. Rest. Lauter. Sparge. Boil. Hop. Cool. Siphon. Shake. Pitch. Cover. Wait.

Mashing - Solar Crusties

Lovely grain giving up all its lovely sugar!

Seriously, we’ve got this shit down now! and it’s all still with our cheap, ghettotacular, equipment. My aside here is that we are pretty much incompetent when it comes to most things; we’re clumsy and oafish, it’s kind of our thing. If we can brew, you can definitely brew too, so just do it!

Ready for the boil - Solar Crusties

All sparged and ready for the boil.

Back to proceedings and there’s nothing to report about brew day itself; as indicated above we really do seem to have a good understanding of how to crack on with things now .

The only two points I will make are that our bucket in a bucket mash tun did that weird floaty/separating thing it had done with Fizzy J (unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of this because we were to busy running around shouting a lot trying to sort it out – Bifur). This meant a bit of wort was lost over the edge of the outer bucket. Not the end of the world, and we managed to rectify the issue pretty quicky. We do need to figure properly how and why it’s doing it though to try to counteract it for the future; maybe we just need to install clips like on kilner jars? (I’m thinking Gaffa tape. Gaffa tape solves everything. – Bifur)

The second thing is that a foreign object found it’s way into the wort post boil. Not good. What was that object?

A fuking cheat token from Blood Bowl Team manager.blood-bowl-cheat-token

We don’t know how it got in there, but we sure as fuck are going to be more careful with our brew day games in the future! I swear Bif nearly cried when he saw that thing floating in there! Fuck it, I nearly cried!

Sophisticated cooling system - Solar Crusties

Our highly sophisticated cooling apparatus

Once we had fished the token out we pitched the yeast and sealed up for three or so weeks. Bif dunked our sizeable dry hop in after the first week and bottling went without a hitch at the end of the triumvirate. We used a little more sugar than we have previously; the aim for this beer was to get something nicely fizzed. Tiny sand paper bubbles and lots of them, please.

A week and six days after bottling Bif and his lovely lady came to mine and my lovely lady’s abode. Bif brought a couple of bottles of the IPA and we plonked them in the fridge whilst he and I went to check out the games club where this battle report ended up being formed. Following our scouting out we descended upon mine, ate some pulled pork I’d cooked (I’m domesticated don’t you know) and cracked open the refrigerated delights…

The results of our latest round of brewing were awesome! BUT it didn’t feel like we had quite succeeded in our task. 

It was a little too dark. A little too sweet. Not quite hopped up enough.

Shit.

We’ve created a beer that is fucking epic. It’s a really, really, really good IPA. Probably one of the best we’ve ever had… but it’s not what we were aiming for.

Or…. is it.

A week and 6 days is a little too soon to get the complete picture. It was also late; we’d been at work. Bif had some different beers (Wild beer served to him at the pub that supplies us bottles, the lovely Catford Constitutional  and I’d drunk a bucket of tea. Perhaps… perhaps we had succeeded.

Bif popped round to mine after his game (battle report, battle report) on Friday (I’d been working late) and we popped the cap of a bottle of the brew leftover and… well, it felt like maybe we’d judged ourselves a little harshly before…

Next time on the Brewdyssey we shall talk waffle and nonsense about the taste of the beer a few more weeks on! (and by that I mean we’re going to sit down again and have some of the beer and take notes and upload them and stuff… )

*maybe with the exception of our extract brews; they aged really badly.

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