Beer-related Musings

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.
Oatmeal Stout:

  • 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

Taddy Porter:

  • Also did not have much head
  • Extremely malty, low hop bitterness
  • Nice smoky flavor, though mildly astringent
  • Well-carbonated

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.

4 thoughts on “Beer-related Musings

  1. aureth

    I’ve been using idophor for the two batches I’ve done, and have found it pretty easy to work with. I bought a giant bottle of the stuff, so it’s a good thing I like it, cause it’ll take me a while to use it all. 🙂
    When kegging, you can also bottle a couple of sixpacks…just use some prime tabs or carbonation drops in the bottles instead of priming the entire batch. It’s supposed to work fairly well. I’m going to be bottling for quite some time, yet. Don’t want to spend money on a kegging and cooling setup when I have too much else to buy for the house. I’ll probably move to all-grain brewing due to ingredient cost saving before I buy any kegs.

  2. partran

    *chuckles* I think I don’t have much of an interest in doing it because many years ago I was drafted into helping with my parents’ homebrewing operations.
    But I am glad yours is coming out alright.

  3. rolliebear

    Your welcome Mr. woof.
    Now Im going to have to start brewing again, Damn you! :p Hmm, a batch of con beer would be nice.
    I swear by idophor. I also use B-Brite to clean out carboys.
    As for keg lube ask for “Taylor lube” at the restaurant supply store. It’s used in ice cream machines and the like. No unpleasant taste.

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