Another go at a favourite recipe, and the first since a revision of my hardware profile in Brewfather eliminated volume losses during mashing. Unfortunately the improved GAR (Grain Absorption Rate) meant that volume was capped on this big beer due to mash volume limits, and sub-optimal mash efficiency led to me missing my target OG. Tracking in Brewfather.
We’re across with family for Christmas, and although I toyed with the idea of taking a couple of party kegs with me I decided against it in the end; it’s a short visit, I’ve only one decent dispense tap, and I still haven’t sourced (let alone tested) a Sodastream bottle for mobile use. All of which meant that I could put it off no longer, it was time to finally break out the counter-pressure bottle filler I thought I badly needed when I started out kegging.
It was actually fairly easy to rig up, with the most difficult part being a lack of compatible ¼” Duotight connectors, but that was soon overcome with a section of slightly smaller diameter beer line and a heat gun.
Purging and filling the bottles too was fairly easy. I started with Geronimo, which had been sitting at 15 PSI / 4℃ for 6 days by this point. The first bottle filled with just half an inch of foam thanks to some bubbles in the line, but subsequent bottles had no head at all. Maybe I should have tested the brew first – was it still not quite ready?
After 7 bottles were done I switched over to sanitiser and flushed the lines with about a litres, before switching to Yeti and again flushing through about half a litre. For this one I used 330 ml clear lager bottles, and these didn’t want to stay upright as readily as Geronimo’s 500 ml standard brown flasks. They were also a tad shorter, which meant the counter-pressure filler’s (CPF henceforth) bung had to be carefully moved to the extreme end of travel and monitored for blow-out. The carbonation was a little higher on Yeti, and combined with the narrower bottles I found that foam made its way more readily up the neck than with Geronimo. It’s difficult when you’ve only got one gas line running into the Kegerator…
All-in I had a positive experience with the CPF. It was a bit messy in places and took a few minutes to clean and sanitise, but on the whole I’d use it again, though perhaps for bigger batches. One thing I will definitely do differently next time is to rig up some kind of CPF suspender, because it’s quite a big old lump to delicately balance on an empty bottle while capping the one you’ve just filled. Live and learn.
Geronimo III: First Taste
Great hop flavour, maybe 5% too bitter for the style. Aroma could do with being more floral too. Mouthfeel isn’t quite there yet and neither is carbonation, so I’ll give it another 2 days at 15 PSI and then take it down to 10 since I’ll be away over the festive period. Generally OK.
It’s been 7 days in the keg at 4℃, 15 PSI, and both texture and flavour are fine. There’s a very slight yeasty aroma and the meniscus clings to the glass a little bit, but I’m putting the former down to this being the first pint and me having just repositioned the keg, the latter is probably down to the same and also it being a fairly big brew. Cheers!
I just put away around 17.5 litres into a 19 litre Corny keg, gently purged with CO2 but not filled with sanitiser first – doesn’t seem to be a lot of point with this brew as there aren’t too many hops. Transfer method was standard gravity, purged the liquid lines too but left the top off the FV and didn’t feed gas back in. My thinking is that the top half an inch is left behind in the vessel anyway, so if that’s exposed to O2 then what the hell. The brew was cold-crashed to 3.0℃ (wouldn’t go any lower – strange) for a day. Putting on CO2 in the brew fridge at 15 PSI because I’m impatient.
I don’t think there’s anything going on here, possibly due to the reduced yeast starter following the boil-over. Let’s increase temperature by a few degrees to give the yeast a chance to finish off before cold-crashing.
Bit of a mixed bag on this one. While making the starter on Tuesday I was pushing my luck with 1.6 litres of water and 184g DME, adding a good dollop of Lipohop to keep from boiling over, but forgetting to throw in any yeast nutrients. When it was time to sterilise the magnetic stir bar I forgot to take the Erlenmeyer flask off the boil, and as soon as the little white pill hit the boiling wort it ejected violently all over the hob, losing about 200 ml of volume. I went on to make the starter anyway, but let’s not do that again.
#wisdom: don’t throw stir-bar directly into boiling wort
I measured out the grain on the evening before the brew day, and only afterwards noted that the recipe I was following was based against the old B40 equipment profile, before I adjusted GAR. Switching to the updated profile in Brewfather caused the grain amounts to adjust in order to hit the same 23 litres fermenter target, which in any event went through the mash limits. I so reduced the target to 18.5 litres (now only 140 ml over) and reset the grain bill to what had already been measured and mixed, which should see me hit 10% ABV all being well.
All wasn’t well, and despite being pretty much spot-on with my volumes throughout the day I wasn’t able to extract as much from the mash as I’d hoped, ending up 13 points short of my pre-boil gravity and 18 points short on OG. So no fermenter top-up today.