Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Fountains of Beer

An update on the brewing situation follows. I'll bet you all though you were safe because of the fact that the SG reading was being strange, didn't you? Well, have no fear, things have moved on apace and I have caused Willow to literally cry with laughter and go white with fear, all within a minute! Yes, it has been an interesting time with the brewing...

Would you like to know more?

Firstly then, the strange tale of the SG readings. Back when I last blogged about the beer you may recall the disappointment of having a reading lower than 0.995 (and thus off my scale). Having nothing else to do with 45 pints of beer wort in a barrel and not wishing to pour it all away, I just left it sitting in the pantry. There it remained, a brooding presence and reminder of failure. Naturally I started testing it more and checking because I dislike my own failures, even ones that I can learn from (especially with such a simple lesson). And so it was that the next few times I tried the SG reading had risen to 1.5. Interesting, thought I, and continued to test. It eventually levelled off, just before the family departed for a holiday down South for four days, at around 1.02 - not quite bottling SG but not half bad either.

Also, the beer was clear and tasting the stuff in the tube used for the measurement was revealing a taste that was improving. Thankfully the foul smelling raspberry artificial looking flavouring was no longer the dominant feature of either the nose nor the taste. It's still there, you can definitely taste raspberry, but it is very much part of the beer now and not so bad. Still a bit sweet for my tastes but it is fruit beer and I've had that before - indeed, I'd argue it is edging closer to Brewdog's Raspberry Blitz (here) and leaving Wychwood's Forest Fruits (here) thankfully far behind, but I may be biased.

On getting back from the holiday I decided to prepare for the next cultural exchange by bottling some beer. I had already done so in some neat little 330ml bottles I had acquired for the purpose to present to Anna's parents. As of yet, they haven't tried it, but getting home having emptied more of these nifty little bottles (a non-energy drink with vitamin B12 in it from our local bargain place for less than a bottle of coke from a normal place) I got a bit faddy and decided to start bottling.

So, now I have eight bottles of my brew waiting to be presented to various people (you know who you are) and then I have bottled more too - a 750ml sharing bottle, my Ilkeston Brewery glass bottle (568ml, a British pint) and three wine bottles because... uh... ah... 750ml a pop! And, having done all of this, I realised that I'd pretty much depressurised the barrel, so now it waits again for a little more secondary fermentation. What caused my wife so much hilarity was the last phase of this bottling madness when I started with the wine bottle and added the small amount of sugar to stop them going flat. I... uh... added too much or else left too little space in the bottle because two of them immediately overflowed and stayed overflowing for a while. This caused the crying laughter only because I'd turned the tap on the barrel the wrong way earlier and spilled it all over the floor. Anyone could have made that mistake, right?

Anyway, the third bottle seemed fine and so I put the top on. As I'm clearing up the mess from my spillage and the bottles of over-excited beer this final bottle starts to tick. Hence the blanching of Willow's face. I've checked a few times (and loosened the top and retightened) but so far nothing has come of the ticking. It's stopped and started a few times but, so far, nothing more. Don't worry, this bottle is staying with me. In the outhouse. To see what it does. For SCIENCE! (link) Ask me and I'll show you, I'll show you all! Mwuhuhoohahahahahahahahahaaaaa!

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