A couple of notes relating to recent homebrewing experiences:
I neglected to give a huge THANK YOU to rolliebear for his gift of a 6.6-gallon glass carboy the last time we were up in Chicago. I am currently using it as a primary fermenter for my spiced ale and I am in love! No blow-off, no loss of precious beer. And at only $22 apiece at the homebrew supply store, I know I’ll be picking up at least one if not two more of these. The 5-gallon carboys are good for secondary fermenting, but for primary (which can be quite foamy), the extra volume is a godsend. Thanks again, Rollie!
We stopped by the beer supply store yesterday since I was almost out of sanitizer. They really only stock two kinds – Beer Brite (cleaner/sanitizer) and an iodophore. I need to do some more research and see what’s best for my needs – both glass and plastic and kegging parts, too. I might need to do some ordering by net. Oh, and I also need to stop by the local restaurant supply place, since the homebrewing store was out of keg lube and I want to use something that’s food-grade (or I’d just use Vaseline).
So I seem to have fifteen gallons of beer in our kitchen. The current state of the fermenters is:
Spiced Ale: 1.5 bubbles/minute
Brown Ale: 1.3 bubbles/minute
Chocolate Porter: 4.0 bubbles/minute
I read this that the Spiced and Brown Ales are ready to be siphoned into secondaries, but I’d like to do it all at once, so we’ll give things another day or two (it isn’t going to hurt the beer, after all). Since I’ll be kegging the Spiced Ale, I’ll be adding gelatin finings to the secondary to get the yeast to coagulate and fall to the bottom, both in the secondary and in the keg. With luck, this will result in a clearer finished product.
Speaking of kegging, I think I’ve found a solution to my concerns. I had been worried that having the beer in a keg would limit me in where I could bring the beer, and in giving bottles to friends. In browsing through the discussions in (which I just joined, and I see aureth has beat me to it!), I came across references to a counter-pressure bottle filler. This looked like exactly what I want – a way to fill bottles easily with beer carbonated in the keg. Yay! A little more research yielded a workable design that can be easily made with parts from Home Depot (though I’ll be making the whole thing out of stainless steel, which could make things a bit more difficult. I have my sources, though…). It would appear that you can buy one of several designs out there for about fifty bucks, so the goal would be to come in under that.
Finally, last weekend, me_not_you and I did a comparison tasting of the Oatmeal Stout and Taddy Porter we made in December. The big surprise is that despite a wide difference in ingredients, the two tasted distressingly similar. Perhaps another month or two of aging would allow a wider range of character to develop – the hazards of impatience, I suppose.
- Not much head, very dense
- Slightly sour (from the oats?)
- No lactic taste that one might expect from this style
- Slightly less carbonated than the porter
- No dark-malt harshness detected
- Also did not have much head
- Extremely malty, low hop bitterness
- Nice smoky flavor, though mildly astringent
All in all, good, drinkable beer, though probably not exactly what we were going for. But hey, it still beat any beer we could buy, so hey, no great loss.