All apologies for the tardy nature of this post. I was busy last night watching the Packers snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The first time in 41 years I want them to win and they blow it at the last second! So I woke up this morning to talk radio discussing Bill B. being "clearly the greatest coach of the modern era." Ack! Ack!
Enough! On to brewing...
I accomplished a bit of work on the brewery. I managed to install about half the collar braces on the rafters before cold overtook me. About the time the level stuck to my hand I figured it was time to pack it in for the day. It was just as well as being up on a ladder, that was standing on a temporary deck made of ice coated plywood, was starting to work on my nerves.
In the good news department: I tried some of the hemlock I bottled a week ago. It is excellent. With a few more weeks to carbonate, I am sure it will only get better. I was a bit worried that adding a pound of malto-dextrin might make it too thick, but the body is just about right. I used a bit less hemlock this time and it seems I may have found the right balance. Dear Reader, I will keep you posted as the taste evolution proceeds.
Czech This Out
As I write these lines, I have a Czech lager in the fermenter. This particular brew represents the first time in a few years that I have used a White Labs liquid yeast culture. I was a big fan of these during my time in Alaska, but could not find a supplier when I moved to New Hampshire. Now I have found one.
I am a bit concerned as the yeast took over 24 hours to show any sign of life. I am fearful of an infection. However, the yeast is going strong now and no odd odors have been detected coming from the fermentation lock. In fact, the brew smells pretty good. I will keep you posted.
The Past Crosses The Future
Today I cooked up an English bitter. This was a very simple recipe, of my own design, utilizing only Pearl malt as a base and some 90L crystal malt for a bit of flavor. I threw in one ounce of dark wheat malt to give a bit of spice. For hops, I tossed in two ounces of my own.
The big departure, for me, was the use of white sugar. Nearly twenty years ago when I started brewing, I made recipes that called for the addition of large amounts of white sugar. All too often the result was a beer with a cidery taste. I read that eliminating the sugar would eliminate the cidery taste. That seemed to work and ever since I have not let white sugar anywhere near my brews.
On this day I know not what muse of fermentation took hold of me as I perused my books of beer formulae, but upon seeing the prescriptions for English bitter that included varying amounts of white sugar, I was seized with the desire; no, compulsion, to brew with white sugar. Why, after a two decade hiatus, I should be so afflicted, I cannot answer. Still under the influence of the brewing muse I took three of the best recipes from my text and combined them to arrive at my final creation.
What shall come of this?