The busy holiday season really kicked my ass and even through I brewed in mid November I wasn't able to keg it until early Feb. It was an interesting trial and I had a couple of scares but it turned out great, almost. It was my first all grain and a lager so I knew I'd be running into a LOT of unfamiliar territory. First, I totally messed up on the mash and instead of tasting like a bock, it tastes like a Schwarzbier. I'm not complaining necessarily because it still tastes great but now that I have a couple of all grains under my belt I want to try the bock again and hopefully get what I want out of it.
Here's the grain bill I used:
9 1/2 lbs 2 row
2 lbs Crystal 20L
1 lb Caramunich
1/2 lb Chocolate Malt
OG was only 1.044
Now, for only using half a pound of chocolate malt and all of the other malts you'd think I'd taste something other than the chocolate, right? Well, here's where I went wrong on the mash: when I mashed out, I didn't sparge or anything. I drained the wort out of the cooler and I thought to vourlaf I had to pour the wort back into the cooler and drain it out again. I'm sure I lost a TON of sugars in that fiasco and when I took my gravity readings I was upset that my efficiency looked to be around 40%; I thought I just took a bad gravity reading and went on my way.
More trouble started when I took a gravity reading after about a month of fermentation and it was still relatively high so I thought the fermentation had stalled. So I made another yeast starter and pitched it in and waited another few weeks. The gravity was still the same so I took the bucket out of the kegerater and let it sit for a week in the basement before cold conditioning it at 30F.
I got it kegged and put on the CO2 but after a week it was still flat. Turns out I had turned off my CO2 when I finished my last keg of beer and didn't turn it back on! Well, fast forward to today and the beer is finally carbed and it's delicious. Thanks for reading my way too long story; it really goes to show that even when so many things go wrong on a new experiment that the results can still turn out great!
Without everyone's help and support I know I wouldn't have had the balls to dive head first into this hobby like I have and for that I truly thank all of you. Here's to many many years of brewing and hopefully less annoying questions from me!