The hands of fate oft play a fiddle that tempts, and guides, into success. Equally, too, does fate decide to withdraw its dexterous sinews to leave naught but faltering and absence… The Brewdyssey continues
Hey folks; this is the most up to date I think I’ve actually written an instalment of the Brewdyssey. I’m pretty sure most others have been written after at least bottling stage- at the moment our latest brew is still sat merrily in a bucket HOPEFULLY become another batch of the delicious session IPA we brewed last time.
We stuck to exactly the same recipe. The over hopping freak-out of the last batch turned out to have been unwarranted as, despite the calculations suggesting we’d created filth, we created rather a sumptuous beverage.
The problem is we don’t know why we didn’t get out yuck. We have theories; firstly that the bittering qualities (the alpha acids) of our hops had diminished over time. We’ve dismissed that thought as we’ve kept ’em frozen and, well, they’re not that old.
The second theory is that we didn’t give ’em enough space in the hop bags to fully leach out those alpha acids; again, we’re not too sure this is the answer.
Our third theory is to do with the vigorousness of our boil; we’re using a stove and, whilst we’re getting a boil, it doesn’t appear too vitriolic i.e it’s a bit slow. We reckon this would definitely be a frontrunner if we had to figure out a reason thing didn’t go pear shaped; less vigour equals less acids drawn out.
Of course it could all have been a fluke and, well, every other attempt at mimicking this recipe could produce vile beer. There was really only one way to find out.
We did change a couple of things because, you know, we’re idiots. Firstly, and least significantly, we added some stuff called Protofloc at the end of our boil. This stuff is a ‘fining’ which, basically, makes all the hot and cold break materials stick together so it should mean the cloudiness we had in our last batch is gone. In truth the cloudiness means nothing, but people freaked out a bit at its aesthetics so we buckled and are pandering to the masses.
The other change is that we decided to add grain to the mash tun first this time; id read somewhere that doing it this way round minimised ‘thermal shock’ which can inhibit enzymes doing sugary conversions. I reckoned trying this would help nudge our efficiency up a bit and help us get the most out of our grain… Turns out this was, more than likely, a fucking awful idea. (Bifur – For this comment Dwalin wins the prize for understatement of the year.)
Where last time we had a smooth flowing lauter (getting-beer-juice-dribbling-out-of-the-soaky-device), making it easy to do a nice continuous sparge (rinsing grain to get every last bit ofsugar out), this time we got slower-than-treacle-in-a-sub-zero-wasteland trickles. It even stopped completely at one point. Since the grain was crushed by our supplier (very nicely actually, thank you home-brew-shop) and our equipment hasn’t changed we assume that my bright idea was the cause, forming too dense a grain bed. In the end we just threw all of our sparge water in and let it run.
It took three hours to get the volume we needed out. (Bifur – Three. Fucking. Hours.)
This means that a whole load of potentially bad things could have happened 1) the Wort could get mankily oxidised and be bad tasting. 2) we could have got out a bunch of bad tasting tannins from the grain (that mouth drying bitterness you get from stewed tea) 3) the water temperature in the tun could have dipped to a point where sugar extraction stopped or, at very least, lowered.
Taking a gravity reading of our output has pretty much confirmed number three happened and, consequently, our efficiency lowered. As for the other things… Only time will tell.
One thing has me worried though; you may remember that in the last post I said that at some point we tasted the beer in siphoning and it was, well, fucked up bitter. Now I think this was when we siphoned the wort into the bucket for fermenting; the fermentation process then cleaned up this bad voodoo of a beer and, when we bottled, a kind of beery and not disgusting taste was what we had. So look at this message from bif after the brew had sat for a week in the bucket.
I’m a little worried we gonna have some bad, bad, beer on our hands.
On the plus side, at least it looks clear!
Until next time folks! Keep it nerdy and drink responsibly; only choose good beer!!!
Freud judges those who deviate from the plan (Bifur – He’s looking at you this time, Dwalin)