And it's back to college for a few days!
I've been booked on the course since June, but I never thought it'd come around. But now I'm here, I can't believe I'm already halfway through! I've just finished the second day of the 3 day plus one Startup Brewery course at Brewlab Ltd, and it's basically sorted out all of my problems, from mash efficiency to those funny off-aromas, without even bothering to try one of my beers!
Firstly, the course took twenty of us (some home brewers, some not), through the brewing process from start to finish, and funny enough, they started with the brewing liquor, or water-what-you-make-beer-with, starting with the treatments in order to keep the beer in character and style with the original, and also in order to increase the mash efficiency, by adjusting the pH of the liquor. So that's the first thing I'll need, some litmus paper.
Then Arthur took us through the recipe compilation, using the ol scale, which measure's the malts potential extract, and will more than likely lead to much more accurate predictions of O.G., or the amount of fermentable sugar I can expect in my wort (pronounced wert, apparently, even in a thick Geordie accent). Out with Imperial, in with Metric. Sigh.
Arthur also casually pointed out that my DMS problem (smells like teen bedroom) comes from not chilling the wort quickly enough (or at all, in my case, as I usually let it cool down over a period of hours). Unpicking my brewing experience with one casual casual question: how do you cool down your wort?
The rest, all equally important, but numerous, will all be addressed soon. Some will be addressed at relatively little expense, some will likely cost more. Dr Thomas advocated getting a little more familiar, if not downright voyerstic, with yeast. Buy a microscope. I think Santa will be busy picking through 400x magnification Haemotologists microscopes in the Argos catalogue this month!
So, two more days to go, so much to learn, and so little time. You can see some gaps in your knowledge fill up, while watching others burst open, as you realise how much there is yet to learn! Early to bed tonight then... well, I'll just 'sample' this one more pint!