So, I did a an experimental batch last week. The brewing went alright considering it was a year since my last attempt. The only real glitch was the boil-off. For those of you not in the know, this is the amount of water that you’re boiling away while adding hops to the beer. And this is important as the strength of your beer will depend on how much water you have in proportion to the malt (which is transformed into alcohol and carbon dioxide by the yeast).
So, how much was I off? Well, for some reason I boiled off almost a liter more that planned, and ended up with an OG on 1.068 instead of for 1.054. Hum…
The next little scare was more serious: normally your fermentation barrel starts making these little “plop” sounds as the yeast starts to work, and this is how you know that you’re on the right track. I heard nothing but one single, timid little plop after 48 hours. And then… nothing. A bit worrying, because if the yeast isn’t taking hold the batch is in trouble. I did have a peek and saw a healthy amount of froth in the barrel, indicating that somehow, something was at work.
So, I decided to go to a secondary fermentation stage a bit earlier than usual after only 5 days. Which calmed my nerves, the beer had a healthy smell and the gravity was down at 1.018, so well on it’s way to the estimated final gravity of 1.014. Phew!
Here I lost more of the final volume as the amount of yeast compared to the batch size was ridiculous, and there was a lot of frooth and yeast residue I couldn’t use. But hell, if I get a couple of bottles through it’ll be alright: this is an experiment after all!
And how did it taste? Really, really promising! I’m a happy nerd! To celebrate I added some hops, more Svalöf Mauritz, to the secondary fermentation (“dry hopping”) to see if I can get a brilliant aroma out of this one. Stay tuned, next week it goes on bottle!