It wasn’t long before I wanted to be able to bottle off some brews to share with friends. So I bottled a batch or two, just to be able to share it, or when my original keg fridge was at capacity with two kegs in it.
This did the job for every now and then, but eventually I wanted to be able to bottle beer from a keg at any time, or to carbonate with CO2 in the keg and then bottle after that (such as for a very strong beer that could pose problems bottle conditioning).
It was early in my all-grain career. A beautiful sunny day. Nothing like the cold stormy darkness of Halloween night. Not the sort of scene you’d expect for the tale of terror that will unfold before us.
A Duvel clone. That should have been the first clue. The Devil was at work here. A step mash was called for, but me with my igloo cooler and no real way to do a decent step mash. Eerily, that part went fine. Great, even. I got the best efficiency of my brewing life up to that point on that batch.
The thing was coming along great. After a few weeks, it was time to transfer to secondary. The recipe also called for a bunch of corn sugar to be added at transfer. I was skeptical. My OG was already above the expected value for the recipe, even without this adjunct addition. But I followed the recipe like a zombie seeking delicious brains. I was curious to see how far I could go. I was also curious to see how far I’d come. I bottled one bottle at transfer time with a measured dose of priming sugar. Read the rest of this entry…
I made an IPA on September 2nd. As usual, it didn’t last long, and now I have about six bottles left. Make that five. I had one tonight. I found that this beer was the best it’s been yet. It’s amazing how a beer changes with time, especially when it’s young. Even more amazing to me is that an IPA is better after a little time.
I always thought of hop flavor and aroma as fading as soon as the wort stops boiling. But it is not the case. This one is full of late hops, as an IPA should be, and I thought that the hoppiness it had on bottling day was as far as it was going to go. Then I was sort of disappointed as this hoppy goodness seemed to fade pretty quickly after it was bottled and conditioned.
I figured it was all downhill from there. After all, everyone always says that hops decline with time. I guess that it’s not just linear from day one, but rather it peaks sometime after packaging before it begins to decline. I think now, based on tonight’s tasting, that the peak for this IPA is falling somewhere in the 6-8 week after brewing range. I’ll see if I can find some patience for the next IPA I make.
I wrote a post a while back about calories in beer. It was really fun to write, and even more exciting when Bob Skilnik called me out on a few ambiguous and incorrect statements I made. But just having Bob Skilnik reading my site was cool!
The other day, I got a new comment on there, with a commentor named Kiwi asking the following question:
So my question is, your 10%ABV russian stout (sounds most excellent) got to that % by the recipe…which has more… sugars? and a better yeast? I am trying to up my alcohol %, but not ruin my homebrew.
Such a great question deserves front page answers, not some answer hidden in the comments of an old post. So, Kiwi, this one’s for you!
A few weeks ago, I started working on brewing recipes which I intend to use in my real brewery. My first one was the IPA family of beers. Mindbender is a small 3% ABV IPA, and Mindbreaker is a big 9% ABV IPA. These are the beers I made as a partigyle, with two mashes of about 9 lbs each, first three gallons of wort from each going to Mindbreaker, and second three gallons of wort going to Mindbender.
I bottled Mindbender and Mindbreaker on Saturday. Mindbender is predictably conditioning quicker. Since it has a lower alcohol content, the yeast are a lot more zealous attacking that priming sugar I added. Mindbreaker is coming along nicely, just at a more measured pace. What do you expect, I know I move slower when I have more alcohol in me.
Mindbender is moving along so nicely, that it’s almost ready already. My barometer plastic bottles are showing that Mindbender is quite firm, and Mindbreaker is still a day or two behind. This morning before I headed out, I put a bottle of Mindbender in the cold fridge so it would be ready for me when I got home.
Chill haze is when beer appears clear at room temperature, but becomes cloudy when refrigerated. This is generally caused by proteins precipitating at colder temperatures. The number one recommended solution to this problem is to ensure fast cooling of your wort using a wort chiller. But sometimes there’s more to it than that.
First of all, Merry Christmas!
Many homebrewers use bottle conditioning to get their beer full of fizzy bubbles of carbon dioxide. Rather than force carbonating the beer via exposure to CO2 under pressure, this beer is conditioned with CO2 from within. It is these bubbles that give beer much of its life, and help it to be a great match with food, as well as a refreshing overall drink. While bottling beer is one of the last labor steps in making beer, it is one that needs your full attention as much as any other step. Having a beer that is too flat or too fizzy can really put a damper on your enthusiasm for that beer. All that hard work out the window!
I’ve had beers come out on both sides of the equation, and I can provide some tips for perfectly conditioned beer.