Archive for the 'Homebrewing' Category

You Call That Beer?

So, here’s a long overdue update to my homebrewing project. After bottling all of the beer, I let them sit for over two weeks (closer to three if I remember correctly) and then I put a few of them into the refrigerator. Once chilled, I cracked a couple of them open and immediately had mixed feelings. First, one of the bottles appeared to carbonate much more than the other. So they poured very different from each other and even tasted a bit different. And i will admit that neither of them tasted very good. Though it does appear to be an amber ale it tastes more like a wheat or light bock. So far I think I’ve gone through less than half a dozen bottles, so there is still plenty left. I’m now debating just dumping most of it and trying again, as I would definitely give this one a below average grade. Here’s hoping for better luck next time.

38 Bottles Of Beer…

Despite my efforts last week to restart the fermentation of my homebrew, I opened the bucket last night to find it still stuck at 1.020. I decided to give up on any additional fermentation and decided to bottle the beer last night. To do this I used a racking tube and hose to siphon the beer from the fermentation bucket to the bottling bucket. Before starting the flow, I added a dissolved corn sugar mixture to the bottling bucket. I accidentally stopped the siphoning a little early, and only ended up with 4 gallons of beer in the bottling bucket. I tried restarting the siphon, but just ended up stirring up the sediment and decided to discard the remaining gallon.

With the beer transferred over to the bottling bucket, I reattached the hose to the spout on the bucket and attached the bottle filling wand to the other end. Filling the bottles was pretty simple, but a little messy if I accidentally overfilled them. Instead of using the sanitizing mixture provided with my kit, I sanitized the bottles using the dish washer. I didn’t add any detergent or sanitizer to it, just let it run with water and the sanitizing is actually done via the heat of the dry cycle.

When all of the bottles were filled and capped, I put them back into the boxes they arrived in, which should provide enough darkness for the carbonation stage that should last the next few weeks. I’m not putting them back into the same closet I used for fermentation and instead trying out a warmer corner of the house. Since I didn’t have the full 5 gallons transferred, I ended up with just over one and a half cases of beer. Not bad for a first attempt, now I just hope it carbonates and will taste good.

Stuck Fermentation

I was hoping to bottle my homebrew this week. However, after I opened up the fermenter I took a specific gravity reading of around 1.020. I was hoping to be in the neighborhood of 1.010 according to the directions. It appears that my beer is a victim of a stalled fermentation, likely due to the temperature being too low. I figured the basement would have definitely been too cool, so I placed the beer in a first floor closet off of the office. I was hoping that this would keep it around 65 degrees, which should be a satisfactory temperature. However, I noticed that the thermometer on the bucket read under 60 degrees. I guess I should have watched it a little closer.

So, I managed to bring the temperature back up to around 65. I also spun/rocked the bucket a little bit to stir things up, and finally wrapped it up in an old blanket. I then put it back in the closet and I’m hoping after this weekend that it fermented a little more. The temperature seems to be warmer than it was earlier, so that’s a good sign. If this doesn’t work, I guess I’ll bottle it anyway, though the alcohol content won’t be as high as it should. Currently it is around the level of 3.2 beer.

Paff’s Blue Ribbon

Saturday was mostly dedicated to my most recent hobby, homebrewing. My parents sent a starting homebrew equipment kit from Midwest Supplies to me as a Christmas gift. In addition to everything I needed to start brewing, it also included the needed ingredients for my very first batch of beer, an amber ale. So I successfully (at least so far) steeped some grains in the large pot, added some malt extract, brought the mix to a boil, added hops to the boil, cooled down the wort, transferred to a fermenting bucket, and added the yeast. I think those were the basic steps I took so far. Oh yeah, lots of sanitizing various equipment as well. I checked on it this morning to find some bubbling in the airlock that sits on top of the fermenter, which is a great sign. Now I must wait for the fermenting to finish, at which time I will attempt bottling.