Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Some Good News and the Other News

I'm slow at getting to this, but here's an update on the Imperial Nut Brown Ale.

First, the Good News, Part 1:

1) As of Sunday afternoon, the ale is now at home in fermenter #2. All wrapped up in its black garbage bag. (A well-equipped brewer with all the bling would have a carboy cover in some crazy, statement-making fabric--to keep out the light, as fermenter #2 is clear glass--but since I don't have one, I use a lawn/leaf-sized garbage bag. Very ghetto-chic.)

2) I'm fairly sure the beer will be delicious. You know, once it's done being 72 degrees and flat.

3) We've freed up enough equipment and counter space that we can brew again.

Now the Other News:

1) Um....Imperial ales are HARD to ferment, yo. I've never done one of this style before, and I'm not sure I'm going to do another. At least not until I've recovered from this episode. And replenished my Xanax supply.

2) Our beer never reached its target gravity. Which means something didn't go as expected in the fermentation. We know that everything was spot-on until we pitched the yeast. The suspected culprits are a) not enough yeast, and b) not enough aeration of the wort.

An extra note on b): It turns out that simply sloshing the wort around while you're adding the yeast to get some air in there isn't good enough--especially with higher gravity beers. But never fear.....Mr. Engineer is on it! And no involves a fish tank air pump.

Of course it does.

Good News, Part 2:

1) We've learned a ton while brewing this beer. And since the only flaws in the beer will be that it's a little sweeter and a little less boozy than it's supposed to be, I think it was well worth doing, if only for the educational experience.

2) I bought a couple of new books as a result of this experience. Including a whole book devoted to yeast. Jealous? Come know you are.

3) And, I guess I'll soon be the proud owner of some fish tank equipment. I feel truly blessed.

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