with the occasional rant about tin openers...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Seventh Brew: John Bull I.P.A (40 pints, anywhere between 4.5 and 5 %)

This time I had a small audience whilst I was brewing up. Of course, no one offered to stir, boil or wash or anything, but a few 'helpful' bits of advice were ignored along the way. That was the last of the latest order, but I’m already scouring the pages for the next lot.

Once again, the beer contained the usual tin and fair trade sugar (fair trade, to ease the conscience of shopping for it at Sainsbos), hot and cold water. I used the shower attachment in the bath to add the cold water, to speed up the process a little and keep the kitchen dry. But, brilliantly, the fast, powerful flow of water we so like to shower under frothed up the beer so much that I couldn’t take an accurate reading on the hydrometer. Taking a reading is hard enough as it is! So the final ABV will be about 4.5 – 5 %, probably, but I’ll not know for sure, just like every other time.

Now, although the bathroom is not the most hygienic place to keep a wort, it was a very brief visit to the bath. Having recently looked in the attic to see about insulating it, to keep us (and the beer) a little warmer this winter, I noticed inside the water storage tank. I’ll never wash any bottles in warm water again! It wasn’t that it was out of the ordinary, it’s just that it was bad. I’d say check your own, if I didn’t know better.

Hot off the Spare Room press; I’d literally just cleared it from its former use as a toy store, when it was taken over for another purpose, so now the beer is fermenting in the ‘master’ bedroom. But I’m going to enjoy waking up to the smell of fresh beer, just like walking into a house that’s baking bread… only nicer!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sixth Brew*: Geordie Bitter (36 pints, 4.5%)

I’m writing this before bottling the beer, where normally I write afterwards. I think I’m doing this to put off washing the bottles, in the same spirit that gets the housework done or all the socks paired whilst some deadline or other looms. I’m not looking forward to cleaning and rinsing 20 bottles. Maybe I’ll give in and buy a pressure barrel soon. Maybe.

The brew seems to have gone off without a hitch, so far. I’m getting pretty quick at making it all. I stopped measuring out the pints exactly, and went with the marks on the side of the bucket for a guide. I’ve also got the hang of siphoning the beer into bottles. I think the trick is to keep the barrel only slightly higher than the bottles, so that it doesn’t all gush out. Nice and easy does it. Although I’m still not quite sure about sucking the end of the tube to get the beer out… no bacterial side effects yet…

Not much else to report in the way of brewing. Once it’s bottled I’ll be off to the shops for 2 lbs of sugar and another round of bottles to empty.

A Few Days Later...

Well, isn’t washing bottles fun. At least I won’t have to do it again for a week or so. 20 litres bottled, and it looks good and dark. I’ve saved myself ten minutes work in a couple of days time by just putting the bottled beer straight in the cupboard without the four day 'warm' period. Frankly, it’s just pointless because the house is tepid at the best of times, and if the mice like it behind the cupboard, then it must be reasonably warm. It’ll do.

* Getting the hang of it now