What’s Brew? February 5, 2015

I’m a little worried. This brewing thing might be getting out of control. It might be consuming me.

It started harmless enough. Just a little brew every other weekend or so. But now… Now I’m brewing on the weekends and during the week! It’s a sure sign.

I’m addicted.

Whatever.

Last weekend I did a wee bit of bottling and brewing.

I bottled up my one-gallon batches of Irish red ale and the first attempt at the Baltimorphic Complex ale.

I started my first attempt at a chili beer, which is basically a lager. Gallon batches are relatively easy, so it didn’t feel like much to start this batch after a fairly active morning. Then this happened.

The problem is that a bock, like my heather bock, has to be fermented at cool temperatures. In our house, that’s only possible in the winter. And (thankfully) winter doesn’t last forever. I had to start the heather bock now, so that it could ferment at 55 F for at least four weeks. If I didn’t start it now, it’d probably have to wait until next winter.

No thanks.

Alas, the downside to brewing in the winter is that my brew room (a boarded-up screened porch) is very, very chilly. When I took this photo, the thermometer had warmed quite a bit.

The next day, everything was fermenting according to plan.

At the end of the weekend, I felt like I’d been successful. Two batches bottled. Two batches started. A good ‘Breweekend.’

Then Tuesday came. I wasn’t feeling great, so I worked from home. There I was. Ingredients calling from the other room. I had to.

This is a Belgian Ale, of extremely high gravity – meaning there’s lots of fermentable sugar which should result in a very potent beer. It seems that yeast is a little put off by all that sugar, so on Thursday, two days after starting the brew, I was a little concerned when I didn’t see any fermentation starting.

Thankfully, there’s a whole universe of people out there that know exactly what is going on. Give it a few days, they said. It’ll be fine, most likely. And now, as a gaze at the carboy, LO! I see bubbles. I think it’s starting.

Because it’s an ale, this batch will ferment at warmer temperatures and thus gets to ferment in the warmest room of the house: my bedroom. For the next several days, I get to sleep to the comforting bloop-bloop of carbon dioxide escaping the airlock.

How wonderful.

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