Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Big Brew 2017 Fail

Enjoying a Bearded Iris Homestyle IPA from a plastic cup during the boil.
Our local club, The Barley Mob Brewers of Chattanooga, had a nice Big Brew 2017 event behind Sigler's Craft Beer and Cigars. I brewed one of the six (maybe seven) batches that we did that day. We all brewed extract kits. I opted for the AIH "Polish" Ale kit which is essentially a Kölsch with Polish hops. I was thinking that the beer would be ready for the hot summer days that are just around the corner.

Yep, I managed to mess up an extract batch. I chose to do a full volume boil instead up just boiling half up the volume and topping up in the fermenter. It just looks cooler and my burner/keggle combo has a very high boil off rate. While collecting water I realized that I shorted myself by one gallon so I added it. I then got distracted and added the forgotten gallon again. OOPS! I didn't realize what I had done until after my final hop addition. I chilled and collected 6 gallons of wort and I collected an additional gallon into growlers to use as starter wort for the WLP090 that I'm going to build-up.

Now I have a fermenter full of 1.034 wort that should have been 1.054. OUCH! I put the fermenter in the 37 degrees Farenheight in the walk-in cooler at the store that hosted the event while I contemplated what to do. I can either boil up more extract and add to the batch or just "let it ride." It's a session beer but I'm going to just "let it ride." The plan is to pitch the S-23 yeast and let it do its thing at 65 degrees. The 20 IBU beer should have been 5.4% abv but I'm probably going to get something more like 3.8-4% abv. I'm chocking this up to a learned lesson. I still expect a tasty and refreshing beer. I will sample before bottling and will dry hop to add some flavor if needed.

Because I failed I will have to attempt this batch again. AIH has an all-grain version of the kit so I will be brewing that soon. I will update this post when the beer is ready to be sampled. Until then....Cheers!

Update 5/23/2017: After fermentation, a diacetyl rest, and some cooling to 66.5°F I took a gravity reading. It came in at 1.006 after adjusting for the sample temperature, or 3.7% abv. I'm OK with that considering the issues laid out above. The flavor is very light and reminds me of an American Lager with an ever so a light citrus finish. The body is very thin and I'm hoping it improves some with carbonation. This beer will sit in the fermenter for a few more days before cold crashing and bottling. I wasn't sure about the S-23 but after the sample I tasted I might be a fan. We will see after this batch is conditioned.

Update 5/24/2017: I'm still thinking about dry-hopping this batch to add a little flavor to this very light beer. If I proceed I will use Idaho 7 Hop Hash. Unsure, of how much to use I turned to r/homebrewing. You can read that conversation HERE.

Update 5/29/2017: I decided to proceed with dry hopping. One ounce of the Idaho 7 Hop Hash was dissolved into 4 oz of vodka and heated to 160 F. The warm hop slurry was pitched into the fermenter immediately. If the hop aroma and flavor is lacking on bottling day I will make a hop tea and priming sugar solution with Mandarina Bavaria and add it to the bottling bucket.