Sunday, February 09, 2003

Fermentin' Fool

New Brew
Got Rich's Vindication IPA in the fermenter yesterday afternoon, and it was another very smooth brew session. The one wrinkle was the straining-out of all the hops and trub after the boil. IPAs (India Pale Ales) are very hoppy beers, and typically have from three to five additions of hops during a 60-minute boil. My recipe required four ounces of hops added in dry pelletized form (which expanded by about five times, I think, when rehydrated), in five installments. The final beer should taste wonderfully hoppy, but when it came time to pour the newly cooled wort into the fermenter through my strainer, removing the fine bits of hops and precipitated protein in the process, my strainer kept clogging. This forced me to pause, rinse the strainer and begin again. Five or six iterations of this were needed to get all three and a half-ish gallons poured, which was no small amount of frustration.

Still, it's happily bubbling along. Since I'm using the yeast that was so amazingly active the last time I tried this recipe, I've installed a blowoff tube into a gallon-jug partially filled with water this time around, which I'm hoping will lessen the danger of a mess.

While speaking with Bob (proprietor of The WeekEnd Brewer) Friday evening, I asked him about the disappointing results with my Sahti. He advised that overspicing beers is very easy to do, and that's probably what's wrong with my brew - way too much juniper. He told me it'd be best to keep the stuff around, though, because spices in beer diminish over time, and in a few months it may well be a very different beer, and that I should give it a chance.

So that's what I will do. Since I'm pretty sure I got bottle sanitation right this time around, it should keep for a good while.