Posts Tagged carbonation
Finally the time has come to taste the fruits of my efforts on this brown ale. All in all, I would say it was a good effort and fun, to be sure. As I got ready to crack the first one (I chose the last bottle from the batch that was not quite full), anticipation built within me and those around me. I put the bottle opener to the cap and strained my ears to try to hear that magical hiss while the gas from the yeast doing its thing escaped the bottle.
Alas, there was none. It failed to carbonate. While a little disappointing, I was not going to let it get me down and I brought out a glass to see how the thing poured. With no carbonation, of course, there was no head. Instead, it poured a little like juice. It was a lovely deep red color, which I was heartened to see.
It still smelled wonderful, though- a kind of sweet and sour maltiness. That gave me further hope for the taste. The first sip brought a heavy malt flavor, likely due to the lack of time the hops spent in the boil. Otherwise, it tasted very much like the smell. The sweetness did linger a bit throughout, until the sourness came in. That, in turn, gave way to a not unpleasant bitterness on the finish.
So, as I said, not bad for a brew I made on my own and a fun learning experience to boot. Now I want to try to re-pitch some yeast into the rest of the batch to see if I can get some suds into this beer. I will let you know how that turns out.
The time has come to place this beautiful liquid into bottles. The smell is awesome– a kind of sweet and malty sourness that gives me every hope that this concoction will turn into delicious beer. I started by washing all my bottles in the dishwasher to clean off any dust or other particles that may have been on there. Then I filled a bucket with sanitizer solution, which consisted of a pack of powdered Star San that came with the kit. While the bottles were washing and the other parts were sanitizing, I went to the store to get some sugar.
At this point the beer is just about ready, but still needs some final settling in the bottles and carbonation. To do this, the remaining yeast particles still suspended in the beer need something to feed on. To do this, sugar is added to the mixture. Some kits come with stuff pre-made, but mine did not. So I got some corn sugar and mixed it in about 2 cups of water on the stove. While this came to a boil, I transferred the beer to another bucket to further reduce the yeast crud leftover. I took care to make sure it didn’t slosh around, as adding too much oxygen can make the beer taste stale. I also took this opportunity to take what is called the final gravity. This is the same thing as the original gravity, but much more of the suspended yeast is now fully fermented, so the number is lower. Using the hydrometer again, I came up with an alcohol content of about 5%.
Now, of course, I forgot to take the temperature of the mixture, as I was supposed to. This is because temperature affects how the yeast reacts in the beer during fermentation. Keep it too hot and you risk killing the yeast; keep it too cool and the yeast may not be active enough to initiate fermentation. No matter; the difference in temperature according to the scale on the hydrometer is a matter of .5%. Plus, we tasted it straight from the hydrometer container from which we took a sample and it tasted great– pretty much like the smell.
After the corn sugar was dissolved and cooled to make a syrupy mixture, I stirred this into the beer bucket. I allowed it to cool a bit more as I put the washed bottles into my sanitizing bucket, taking care to not let them knock into one another too much.
Then I set the bottling bucket up on the counter above the dishwasher. The idea was to use the dishwasher door to catch any overfilled bottles or other spills. You see, beer in this form tends to be quite sticky when spilled.
Once again using the auto siphon, I attached it to filling wand, which is basically a tube with a ball valve at the bottom and I filled each bottle rather quickly. A friend helped me by capping the bottles. I hope the result is something more drinkable than my last attempt, but nonetheless, this has been a fun experience and anything but my last…
So now they sit for another week to “bottle condition,” during which time they will also (hopefully) carbonate.