Thursday, 19 July 2012

Renegade Update

This was the first brew since faced with a bacterial infection.

As I mentioned in the last post, the brewday was drama free and 10 gallons of wort were collected at a starting gravity of 1.042

As usual, the wort was split into two separate five gallon fermenters. I've racked one of these off the yeast, prior to bottling. I'm pleased to say there is no sign of infection and the beer tastes good!

The other fermenter has had some auxillary finings added and has been set to chill. That one is destined for the cask with some isinglass in a couple of days time. So far so good...

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Brewday - Renegade 12/07/2012

I'm busy preparing everything for the first brewday since the deep clean.

Hot caustic has been through the brewery, the chiller and fermenters. This was followed by a similar clean with PBW and the silicone pipes have been replaced. The temperature controlled fermenting fridge has also been thoroughly cleaned and sanitised.

Today, I've been getting the liquor and water treatment prepared, the malt weighed and milled, ready for a ten gallon brew of a pale ale.

The grist consists of 95% Marris Otter Pale Malt and 5% British Caramalt. Bitterness will come courtesy of home grown Progress and WGV hops, with aroma and flavour coming from American grown Simcoe.  Expected gravity is around 1.042, with 32 units of bitterness.

The old scratched plastic fermenting buckets have been replaced, and with super sanitising and rinsing high on the agenda, I'm hoping for a trouble-free brew.

My homebrew stocks are now non-existent and with this being the last opportunity I have to brew before the annual family vacation, it needs to go well.

Update 12/7: The brewday itself went smoothly and without drama. 10 gallons of wort was collected with the gravity bang on at 1.042. I'll post separately once fermentation is complete, to update on the condition of the beer and whether any infection is determinable.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Brewery Shutdown

Houston, we have a problem.

There's a problem in the brewery. My beers this year have simply not been at their best and the recent brews, more so.

My Citra Pale Ale was phenolic. Samples under the microscope revealed no bacterial infection, but something clearly wasn't right. I put it down to cleaning residue in the fermenters.

The Renegade Pale Ale I brewed recently had some lovely flavour from the Simcoe hops and early samples from the bottle were pleasing. But, a fortnight later the beer in these bottles is also questionable; very dry, astringent and lacking in hop flavour and aroma. It's as if something has taken time to establish itself and is now destroying the beer.

I don't currently have a microscope at home, so am unable to test this one, although I'm pretty sure the result will be the same as the Citra beer. No bacterial infection, but something clearly wrong.

Since these two brews, I've changed my fermenters but my latest wheaty pale ale is the latest to succomb. This time it is a bacterial infection.

The picture was taken on my phone and the colouring isn't great. The yellow patches are normal bits of yeast floating on the surface, whereas the white spores are the obvious cause of concern.

All the beer has been dumped and I've spent time cleaning and sanitising the fermenters, the fermenting fridge, beer hoses on the brewery and the plate chiller.

This latest infection is very different to the problems experienced with the first two beers. I'm hoping the off-flavours attributed to those came from the cleaning residue in the scratched fermenters, which have now been replaced. The latest episode is hopefully a one-off, due to some error on my part during the brewing process.

Hopefully the time spent in cleaning, santising and rinsing, will sort out the problem. I can't deny I'm gutted. I've not had a bacterial infection for many years and there's little more heartbreaking than throwing beer away.

After the deep clean, I'll fire up the brewery again next week. I'll have another crack at the Renegade as it promised to be so good.