The fun meter is swinging to the good side for us now that we are getting to the point of drinkable home brews.
The first batch was a lesson in patience and thermometer usage. We pitched into ice cold water (a just add water starter kit) which began to ferment after five days. And then according to the kit directions, the batch goes in the fridge at the five day point and so we did just that. So it really only fermented for about a day. We were tasting it from about 8 days onward, convincing ourselves every couple of days that it was getting better. A guy can only take so much green apple until he admits that a case of brewing malpractice.
Not about to give up, we moved on to a rapid series of new batches over the next week. Another just add water kit for APA, a 2 gallon no boil extract kit for octoberfest ale, and a 5 gallon no boil extract kit for nut brown ale. We tweaked octoberfest with with some steeped carapils and a touch of aroma hops.
Being the all-in kind of hobbyists that we are, we picked up the BB deluxe brewing kit and couple of carboys to get a bit more serious. And now, we were well armed with tons of google searching that always ends in valuable info from Home Brew talk and Palmers book.
With thermometer now playing a key role, we pitched these new batches and applied a somewhat commonly suggested rehydration of yeast prior to pitch.
One batch was bubbling the airlock in two hours, and the other two started within about 6 hours.
A sampling of fermenter containers here also - Beer Machine (pressure relief at about 12 psi), a 3 gallon glass carboy, and the BB Ale Pale. Very neat to watch fermentation in the carboy and in the Beer Machine.
On a side note, I slid a hydrometer into the 3 gallon carboy to monitor specific gravity. Not filled quite enough to float it so that was a bust. A very Noob thing to do that I won't repeat. Am using the hydrometer flask and siphoning only at the two week point.
Two weeks in the primary, right? And resistance to a transfer to secondary is also pretty common advice to Noob's. A bit of uncertainty in best practices is evident and so like mad scientists we chose to experiment a bit.
Fermentation kicked off rapidly for all three. The fastest mover was in the carboy and had fully krausened and subsided within 36 hours. The second fastest was in the Ale Pale fermenter bucket...krausened and subsided in 48 hours. Beer Machine had fully krausened in about 30 hours. This krasuen persisted and reduced slowly over a 3 day period.
The octoberfest was left in primary for two weeks. Rather than use the stock yeast, we took the common recommendation for fresh yeast in no boil kit beers. We used Munton's standard and this was probably the wrong kind for this recipe. Chunks were large, some floating, and the least disturbance really stirred them up. A lack of hindsight on bottling, we bottled this one straight from the carboy and ended up with about 3/8 inch of these chunks on the bottom of bottles. Secondary would have helped with this, but just using the bottling bucket may have also improved that. Brewer's best carb tabs looked simple so they were used on this one.
After just 3 days of primary, we moved the 5 gallon batch of nut brown to secondary. Hindsight would tell me that this was not necessary for this beer. We yeasted with Munton's Gold and in this recipe it settled in a smooth sticky trub on the bottom. Bottling bucket used as a result of the above, something that we will not skip again. But if there was ever a beer that did not need a secondary or a bottling bucket, this is it. Cane sugar this time.
We dry hopped the Beer Machine APA with 3/4 oz of Columbus for the second week of primary and then moved it to secondary for the 3rd week. Secondary was good for this one. The hops particles were distributed throughout and a gelatin fining in the last two days cleared it nicely. Stock yeast used here and it stayed put in the trub. Again bottling bucket and cane sugar.
All bottled over thanksgiving weekend, we naturally had to taste before it could possibly be ready. After five days we tried the nut brown and got a big surprise. What had tasted so great from the hydrometer flask before bottling was now the dreaded green apples. Very low carbs expected and that was the case. Now we are learning the patience thing. Son, spouse, and myself swear to not try the taste test until at least 3 weeks.
So last night it is just shy of two weeks in the bottles for these. I suggest to the brew team that we cancel the no-tasting policy. They resist my suggestion with strong emotion. I work them a bit with my special sweet talk and win them over.....one of the easiest to win arguments I have ever had with them.
So the fun begins. All with creamy tall lasting heads, lacing well, even liquid carb is decent at this point. The taste of the APA w/Columbus is a major hit. And though each still have very slight notes of green apple if you look for them, all are quite tasty and enjoyable. Really looking forward to the coming weeks.
Just had to babble a bit. This is a fun hobby. It's either a cool story bro, or TMIDR (too much info didn't read)