I'm relatively new to brewing. This magic hat recipe is my sixth brew. The recipe I used was from the Brew Your Own magazine's special edition, 250 clone recipes. It called for a secondary fermentation stage, which I typically do anyway. When I racked to the secondary, I tried a little sample and compared it both in color and taste to the actual #9. The taste was remarkably similar, but it lacked a bit of the fruit flavor (come to find out from the recipe is apricot). As you can see in the first picture, the color is almost spot on (clone is on the left).
The recipe called to add a 3.3 pound can of apricot puree to the secondary and to keep in the secondary for "about 5 days." After about 3 days in the secondary, I noticed it basically started to go back almost into another active fermation, complete with a head of krausen and moderate bubbling through the airlock. I'm thinking the sugar in the puree may have reactivated some of the yeast left in suspension. The airlock was still bubling at the 5 day mark, so I figured I should wait a few more days until the krausen settled back down into the beer and the bubbling stopped in the airlock.
During the secondary fermetation as described above, the beer took on a very hazy orange color--nothing like the crystal clear beverage shown in the first picture.
I decided to go ahead and keg the beer. In hindsight, I'm now wondering wether it would have been better to let it sit and clear in the secondary carboy. I made the decision to keg it because I wanted to get it off of the puree in hopes it will mellow and clear in the keg after a few weeks.
It's been in the keg for about 4 days now and I decided to pull a small sample of it this evening, partly because I'm curious and also to check the carbonation level. The second picture is what it looks like today. The taste is very tart. Similar to what a shandy tastes like. I can taste the Magic Hat #9 in it, but I'm guessing there is just too much apricot flavor.
Don't get me wrong...it is still pretty tasty and after the falvors meld and mellow over the next few weeks, I think it's going to be quite good, but it seems to have morphed into something other than #9. Curious if anything similar has happened to any of you. Do you think it will clear up over time? Any suggestions for what to do next time? Any thoughts would be helpful. Cheers.