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Fall 2014 ESB

September 20, 2014

Recipe

BeerSmith Recipe / Brewsheet

Brew Day (9/28/2014)

Dough-in came in a little cool again.  I think I’ll tell BeerSmith to adjust for equipment next time to see if that solves this issue.  Ended up decocting 1+ gallons to get temp up from ~147° to 152°.  Took about 15 minutes.

Ended up sparging much later than expected because I didn’t have the sparge water up to temp (was busy eating lunch with the family).  Ended up mashing out after ~2 hours.  Had to use pump to get decent flow rate out of MLT.

Cooldown was a little disappointing again.  Took 23 minutes to only get down to 77°.  Remaining cooldown in Rubbermaid of garden hose water.  Pitched after a few hours when I was confident that the 68° reading in the Rubbermaid was consistent with the temp in the fermentors.

Note on yeast starter:  Performed two-stage starter with better coordination than Alt.  Pitched first stage Saturday morning (boiled starter wort evening prior), crashed overnight.  Prepared second stage wort Saturday night, crashed with yeast, and pitched Sunday morning after decanting.  Cold wort on cold yeast was aerated and left to warm.

After a few hours when it was still a good bit below room temp, I put it on the stir plate.  Despite going for a few hours on the stir plate, the majority of the yeast never really got in suspension, staying in clumps up until I pitched it.  The krausen was pretty substantial, though so I feel confident that some stuff started working, but I’m not sure how much growth I really got.

Read later, in a comment by Denny Conn on homebrew stackexchange, that he frequently (always?) pitches cold yeast in warm wort (fermentation temperature) and that there should be no adverse effect.  In the future, I may just make sure the starter wort is properly warmed before pitching.

Fermentation

Fermented in garage in Rubbermaid with aquarium heater set to ~70°.  Had trouble the first couple days getting it calibrated; heater set to 72° only kept water at ~68°.  After first day or two (really the only important days), I got it up above 70° consistently and there it stayed for the remainder.

Kegged first 5 gallons after a week fermenting to get first beer on tap at the new place.  Force carbonated.  Left 2nd for an additional week before crashing and kegging, saving off its yeast for another batch.

Impressions

First keg a little “green” and muddled flavors.  Golden, hazy appearance with nice white, lasting head.  Not cleared after 1 week.  Expect it to clear up over time, though.

Established a reasonable baseline so now I can try my soft water treatment for next time.  Hopefully the second keg ends up decent enough to bottle a six-pack or so for comparison later.

Later (a couple weeks in the keg, ~4 weeks in the bottle)

Overall, I think this beer is OK but it suffers from some sort of off-flavor.  I initially couldn’t describe it better than a “beefy” flavor, but now I think it may be more of a over-ripe, red apple.  A post here indicates red apple flavors may be caused by Ethyl Hexanoate and be due to poor yeast health.  That sounds very much like a credible answer.  I think I’ve been underpitching, especially given my 10-gallon batches.  I may have to either make smaller batches, be less stingy and buy more yeast, or be more patient and properly grow my yeast.  Whether or not this is the source of this particular beer’s problem, I do believe I’ve been underpitching and it can’t hurt to seriously bump up the pitch rate.

Appearance – Clear, golden, white head, perfect.

Aroma – Green/Red apple, light caramel

Flavor – Light caramel, malt balance (hop flavor imperceptible).  Some bitterness and maybe astringency in the finish.

Mouthfeel – Light-Medium, just right.

For Next Brew

Seriously, just pitch a proper amount of yeast.  Bump up the late addition hops for more flavor, the increased bitterness would also be welcome (i.e., don’t shift any early additions later, just add some late additions).

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From → Ale, All-Grain, Brews

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