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Old 01-18-2013, 11:08 PM   #1
Nov 2010
Laporte, Indiana
Posts: 32

The fallibility of my infallible brewing system just exposed itself. I hastily put down a brew midweek before heading off for a business trip. Literally pitching and running. I use a Fermwrap with a digital temp regulator to hit a perfect 67°F fermenting temp for my preferred type of ales. I duct tape the probe (and Fermwrap) to the outside of the primary. In my haste, I failed to use fresh duct tape. I just came back and darn! – The probe fell off at some point and is measuring the basement room space instead of the primary. The room (ironically) is at an almost ideal 66°F, but was probably lower than that over the last two nights. Of course, the heater is on full trying to heat the room! Having re-attached the probe, the reading shoots up to 81°F – and the smell through the airlock is quite sulfurous. Yeast activity is low. (Probably fermented fast an furious.) I wonder what I will end up with?

Key learning:
1. never rush brewing – always have an open end point, “just in case” you run over time
2. once you have a methodical system that works, don't vary from it unless you deliberately plan ahead to try something new and have thought it through. My system has worked for me for many years and hundreds of gallons of beer without issue – the one time I do something different – however minor it seemed at the time, like re-using duct tape because I was in a rush – it led to a profound change in one of the most important stages of brewing
3. Murphy's Law exists – the probe fell off, but the Fermwrap heater did not
4. Some technology is questionable. I like my set up, love the hobby and love gadgets – I am one piece of equipment (malt crusher) away from from having everything (well two, if you include an automated stir plate, but that's just silly). My fermenting room, at least at this time of the year was at near perfect temp, yet by applying a technology which I felt compelled to do so, for some inner reason, I created a problem that need not have existed. Less can be more.
5. Don't worry have a homebrew (who said that? ) I grew up in England and quite a few ales there were “eggy”. Maybe I have stumbled on something! Yeast is scavenged WL005 British Ale.
6. Smile, because: the hops were homegrown (cheap); the yeast was second gen scavenged (free); the extract was only a couple of bucks a pound because I buy in bulk
7. Smile even more because a couple of the other kegs are full
8. Grin stupidly because you have now had a couple of homebrews and this is the weekend – time to brew some more and see if you can get it right

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