Tonight we will be bottling our 4th and 5th batches of beer! We have been experimenting with the different options available out there. Wert, concentrated juice, and malt are the three we have been able to play with so far. On deck is a red all-grain (23 L of juice!) and another malt extract – but this time we bought additional hops.
Our first batch of beer was made with a Wert by Brew House – Oktoberfest. Our silly little cat decided he wanted to play with the box it was in and scratched open the bag – so we took it as a sign and began the brew that night. We carefully followed the directions for sanitizing and two-step fermenting, and what resulted was an incredibly tasty reddish, not too heavy, tangy brew that I would have paid $9 a pint for at a pub!
Next up was the concentrate, a Pilsner. We definitely noticed the scent of this one – sweet, almost like apple juice! We’ve been anticipating trying this one, as the process for both that and the previous wert was drawn out almost to the length of brewing wine.
Shortly after starting the Pilsner, we began our first malt as well, an Australian Draught. Once again we followed the directions as closely as possible – boil water, dissolve sugar and malt, and pour into sanitized carboy. Where the heck do you get a funnel big/safe enough for hot liquid like that? Well, our old BEER BONG sure came in handy! We took it apart and voila!
This brew was so active the airlock bubbled over. The specific gravity dropped as expected and we were able to bottle it – the next day, when we bought a capper that actually “worked”. Capping the old moosehead bottles, we questioned the integrity of the seal. Seems to be sealed fine thus far, but apparently twist-off bottles aren’t the best way to age your beer.
We immediately started two more batches, a dark and a wheat. It will be our first recipe – simply adding raspberry extract to the wheat before bottling. The dark ended up with a tad too much water, so we tried adding just a little more sugar to it so fermentation would still happen correctly. At this point both of the batches have sat almost twice as long as recommended because the specific gravity doesn’t seem to want to drop. Our inital thought was the temperature we are keeping it at is too low (the wheat measured at 22C) but after doing a little research we discovered that some malts might not drop as far as the instructions say. Still not sure how that is going to affect the brew’s final alcohol content though. Once again we had the airlock bubble over but we got great advice from another brewing buddy – find a plastic tube that just fits in the top of the carboy and run it into a bucket of water – that way it can burp without being contaminated. Funny, our dismantled beer bong came in handy once again…!!
Sunday we’ll be tasting the Pilsner and Tuesday we’ll be tasting the Draught. Highly anticipating this moment, as from here on in we may not have to supplement our beer supply with expensive, store-bought beers anymore!