Monday, April 30, 2007

Blonde Bombshell (Part 2)

Well, I decided to go ahead and bottle the blonde ale (see earlier posts) in two Party Pigs. I let one of the pigs sit for a little more than a week before tapping it. It looked darn good; clear, with the right amount of carbonation and a nice white, long-lasting head. The aroma was malty, but with a hint of green apple. "Uh, oh", I said to myself, suspecting an acetaldehyde in my beer. The taste of the beer seemed off too, a bit too sweet for my tastes, and with a bit of an odd "plastic" taste in the finish. It looked darn good though, which has left me lagering the little piggy in the fridge, hoping that the off flavors dissipate over time.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Never Trust a Blonde

The beer looked ready. The airlock was silent and showed no activity for several minutes. I peaked under the lid of my primary fermenter and the krausen had fallen and the beer looked clear. I poured a sample and it tasted good. However, when I took a hydrometer reading the beer was NOT done -- my readings went from 1.052 to 1.018 -- which is about 63-64 percent attenuated and my yeast, Safale S-04, should get me to at least 70 percent. Since the Party Pig people say that you shouldn't put beer in a pig until the gravity is below 1.018, I decided to rack the beer into a carboy.
So what happened? I'm not sure, but I think the cold temperatures of the last few days (days in 30s and nights in 20s) might have something to do with it. I'm hoping that I see some changes in few days.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Blonde bombshell

I've got blonde ale fermenting with Safale S-04 and at high krausen, the fermentation lock got clogged and the yeast activity blew the lid off the fermenter. Now that's a healthy fermentation! This is a simple beer that is all extract, most of it added towards the end of the boil to avoid excessive caramelization of the wort. I used Simcoe hops (but rather judiciously at about 20-25 IBUs with an original gravity between 12 and 13 Plato). The bulk of the extract I used (and added a the end of the boil) was Williams Maris Otter liquid extract. I've brewed all grain before with Maris Otter, so I'm curious if I can notice a signature "Maris Otter" flavor in this beer, which I guess is a hybrid English-American blonde ale.

Also, I recently discovered a case of homebrew that I had secreted away for the last eight months. (I outsmarted myself by labeling the box "empty bottles".) Anyhow, this beer that I found was my Autumnal Ale, which I brewed last August. It was light brown, spiced ale fermented with Wyeast 3725 Biere de Garde in the primary and Safale T-58 right before bottling, which made the beer very dry. It has turned out at least as good as the version I did in 2004, even though I changed the spices -- using fenugreek, cardamom and black pepper. It's an odd combination, but I think it works -- the beer is rather tasty!