I am home from the car show. Pressurized fermenters aren't just for production speed.
I took my Countdown Pale Ale.
And I took a wit.
I was telling folks the Countdown was my "amber ale" and the wit was "Like a hefeweizen, only with out the yeast clouds."
Reviews were uniformly neutral to positive. The BMC crowd found the amber too heavy and the wit too adventurous. So they can have their BMC.
The beer snobs just about kicked my cornie of the amber. Six guys. Everyone said it was very smooth- which I think is from the pressurized ferment.
The people who liked hefe-weizen already either missed the yeast component or were very happy with the wit.
Ferment technique was the same. I got my wort to pitching temp and into a cornelius. I pitched my yeast. I globbed a little extra keg lube on the big Oring. I sealed the keg.
I pushed in CO2 (grey post) to 10psi to seal the keg. I put a sample tap on the black post. I put my spunding valve (@15psi relief) on the grey post.
Within a few hours the CO2 was absorbed and the pressure valve would read zero for several hours - thus the extra lube on the big Oring.
Once ferment took off I let the yeast pressurize the keg themselves. Once they got it up to 15psi the ferment just ran unattended while the spunding valve vented pressure in excess of 15psi.
Temp control was nothing, these were both just a keg in the laundry room. Dry on the floor. Grab it by the handle and move it if you need to.
Starting about day five or so I would pull gravity samples out the sample tap on the black post.
When the gravity reading was within "about" 5 points of completion I removed the spunding valve and the pressure inside the keg go as high as the yeast wanted to go.
Hydro sample tastings confirm diacetyl climbs, dramatically, when yeast are making alcohol and the pressure inside the vessel is rising.
However,when the pressure plateaus and the yeast are done making alcohol, then the yeast go clean up the diacetyl.
So, ignore to five points from completion. Remove spunding valve, let pressure build. Sample.
What I did was let the primary fermenter keg just sit for 24 hours after there was no detectable diacetyl in the hydro sample. I don't know if diacetyl flavor will fade as the keg is cooled to lower pressure or get stronger. It might be possible to shave a couple days off the process by crash cooling when diacetyl flavor is "almost" gone instead of waiting 24 hours after diacetyl is undetectable.
In any event, after whatever for diacetyl rest, cool to drop the yeast (five days in my primary refrigerator is fine) and then rack to serving keg.
While the beer is cooling and they yeast are crashing, the CO2 in there is dissolving into solution.
What I do is pressurize the serving/ target keg to my target serving pressure, usually 12psi. Then I put my spunding valve on the grey post and twist the knob from 15psi down to when it just starts to hiss. Then I run black to black from fermenting keg to serving keg, and push 20psi of CO2 into the grey post on the primary fermenter keg.
Here is a link to the spunded ale I was calling an "amber":
I don't really think of "Countdown" as a recipe. I think of it as a framework so I can experiment/ play with different grains, different hops, and always end up with decent beer. Marris Otter and Crystal 40 gave me a pretty dark product...relative to BMC.
The wit I made was this one:
I used buckwheat honey, sweet instead of bitter orange peel and only half an ounce of Coriander. But I did buy whole coriander and crush it in my coffee mill.