Lager Experiment 2012

My previous experience with making lagers went…badly. However, a terrible experience shouldn’t stop you from trying it again, only better, right?

(This idea got me in trouble with women, back in the day. But that’s neither here nor there)

I had an opportunity to make another lager or, at least use a lager yeast for free and free is always a very good price. In an attempt to avoid the mistakes of my past, I went with a dunkel style. It fermented pretty rapidly, then mellowed out until I put it into secondary, here:

dunkel in carboy
The carboy is in my subbasement so that’s why things look a bit stark. But it was at this point when it got all activey and sulfury. Rather: there were sulfur elements in the nose when I transferred it into secondary and then the yeast became active again! Yow.

Oddly enough, what I’ve been told is that a little bit of copper can help reduce some of these elements that come off a lager. Although I may have misheard that an it might be the diacatyl that is reduced instead of sulfur but I believe the two are related, in terms of the process; these flavors come from the yeast. My point is: I boiled a penny in water for ten minutes and then dropped it into the secondary. Worst case, nothing happens. Best case, the beer doesn’t smell quite so offputting.

Still, I think I can bottle this beer soon. With a gravity reading of 1.018 (which is about what I was expecting) that yeast can’t have much more left in it. I hope.

7pm Transition Point

This is a real novelty: tonight, Bailey’s is not my final destination. I’m off to catch the glories of Andrew WK because…well it’s been a long time since I’ve seen live music and he puts on a hell of a show.

So I’m a short timer tonight, which is  the opposite of how I was able to approach last week.

My first beer is, sadly, a mistake.

New Belgium Cocoa MoleDon’t get me wrong, it’s super interesting: nose of apples and cinnamon, but the beer is New Belgium’s Cocoa Mole, which has a chile infusion to it. And despite the fact that I have gotten a very small glass, the spiciness of this beer is just wrecking my tongue. There’s a tiny glimmer of chocolate between the nose and the burning but it’s not nearly what it needs to be.

A friend suggests Ft George’s Spank Stout next. I say ‘OK’ and then he kindly gets me a taster.

It smells like wet cardboard and tastes worse. PLUS it has spicy burninating. What the fuck is going on here? Jesus. His Noodliness is punishing me for…something, I am certain. These are not beers I can get behind. If peppers and chiles are the future of beer, count me the hell out!

Seriously. Beer is meant to counteract spicy flavors. I have spoken.

This months begins my birthday  month; accordingly I will be more self indulgent during my Monday posts than I usually am. Don’t worry, come April, all will be well and I won’t be getting all up in my headspace during the other days when I post, I just want to give people a little lead in: I may get a little weird. Or more intense, anyway, than usual. As a bonus, next week Fuz will join me, so that’s pretty much a guarantee of good times on my end.

I’ll do my best to make it good times for you, too.

Continuing Education

Her lips twisted to the left in disapproval.

“It’s good, but it has that iodine aftertaste,” she said.

I’m pretty certain that my internal sigh was matched by a slight droop of my shoulders. This has been a common complaint from my girlfriend about beers I’ve made and have been trying to correct for a couple years now. It’s not always there and she seems to detect it more often than I do but I have gotten this flavor off and on. My belief was that the sanitizer I was using, iodophor, was causing this after taste; the flavor was uncommonly similar to the smell of iodine. I checked the amount I was using and according to the directions, I was using the right amount, which is good but this slightly metallic note has continued to occasionally appear, to my dismay.

I just kept forgetting to ask people about it. Thankfully, the OBC has a forum section now and I could just ask the question and come back to reference it later! I got some really good advice, including a link to an article written by a San Francisco homebrewer, which has me tweaking how I use my sanitizer.

Plus, I had enough people saying I should use StarSan instead of Iodophor, so I probably will switch when I’ve used all this up–assuming I can get a handle on the problem. I certainly hope so, because I don’t want to get rid of $32 worth of sanitizer. My money > less of my money, you know?