Beer update 11/27/11: Stovetop Amber wrap-up

November 27th, 2011 | Tags: , ,

So, I had mentioned a couple of variables I was fiddling with in this last stovetop batch. I wanted to try priming with maple syrup instead of corn sugar, and I also didn’t use Irish moss, unlike every other brew to date. I can report my findings now.

I primed it with maple syrup against my better judgment. Looking into it, I read about how variable the sugar content is from batch to batch and how it doesn’t really impart any flavor, but I was curious, so I went ahead. Best average I could find was about 5 oz per 5 gallons, but because I used grade B I fudged it a bit toward the upper bound. Bad scientist, I know. :) I suppose I could take a gravity sample of the priming solution if I were doing it again to nail down a better sense of how much sugar I’d be adding. Anyway, total priming sugar (for the 3 gallon batch) was 4.25 oz in 2 cups distilled water, boiled for 15 mins per usual.

We cracked open the test bottle over Thanksgiving, approximately 5 days after bottling. Usually that would be insufficient time for a proper carbonation. But it fizzed up nicely! On the other hand, I worry that in the next couple weeks it’ll be a little too bright. The Sidhe won’t mind, though–she loves super-carbonated beer. The taste was nice. The Cascade hops have already begun settling down to normal levels, unlike the tart gravity sample I took at bottling. As expected the molasses is quite evident, but alas, no maple flavor comes through. So I can consider maple syrup officially Too Much Work to use for priming. (Sadly, it’s too expensive to use in the main body, either.)

The Irish moss, it’s safe to say, was visibly lacking. The beer was as obscure as pond water–almost no clarity whatsoever. A couple more weeks in the fermenter might have improved it a tad, and that may be the direction I take next, but I think I’ll stick to using Irish moss from now on. It’s vegan, adds no flavors, and makes the beer super-pretty. Otherwise this is a fine red ale. It has a nicely hoppy palate with only a hint of aromatics. The finish is a bit smoky thanks to the molasses. At 3.9% ABV, it’s great table beer. I’m calling this one a win.

Update: I made a label with Labeley!

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