Beer update 11/9/11

November 9th, 2011 | Tags: ,

The krausen on my stovetop amber fell while I was out and about in northern New Jersey. There is still a ring of foam, but the center of the beer’s surface is more or less free of yeast. (I did some reading, and apparently US-05 can be quite bubbly for quite some time, so the long-lasting krausen is less of a concern now.) The temperature seems to have held pretty steady at 67F, and the airlock smells pretty good. So I’d say we’re still on the right track. I don’t see any ropey strands or huge film-covered bubbles on top of the beer that might indicate infection. The only way to know whether a beer has completed fermentation is to take a gravity sample. But because I’ve only got about 3 gallons in the fermenter, I’m going to let it ride and check the gravity when I bottle it. The extra week will give it time to clarify (hopefully) and taste better (definitely), and I won’t be wasting 100mL of beer on science. I suppose I could get a refractometer, in which case I would just need a drop or two, but the cost is not supported by the calibration issues I would face. (Apparently alcohol messes with refractometry, and while there are formulas to correct for that, I prefer the more scientifically rigorous hydrometer at that stage of production.)

So things are looking on track to bottle in a week. With luck, the beer will be carbonated by Thanksgiving day, though it may still be a bit “green.” I doubt we’ll complain. ;-) When I’m bottling, I shall also make my first attempt at washing yeast. Each packet is about $3, and while that’s not a great sum, I am also currently jobless, and it will allow me to reuse the little guys instead of consigning them to hell after one cycle. The main trick is to make the next batch a bit stronger and darker, basically continuing in a given direction along the style spectrum. So I’m planning an American Molasses Brown Ale with it. Will post the recipe when I finish formulating it!

Further on down the line, I have a friend coming into town in March who has issues with gluten, so I’m planning a gluten-free batch for January. I got some BriesSweet White Sorghum syrup, and I’m reading up on how to best balance the sorghum’s pungency. Looks like I can go one of two ways. I could accentuate the citrus/”sour” character by picking a suitable style, like an American Pale Ale or a Belgian, or I could try to drown it out with other flavors. I’m thinking a bit of brown rice syrup and molasses, and using earthier hops like Chinook and Tettnanger. I shall probably try both ways, of course, and document my efforts. I will take a few notes from the Gluten Free brewing blog (linked in my blogroll), and heck, I might even have something to offer in return!

No comments yet.