Sunday, March 15, 2015

The final wedding brew - a Woodforde's Nog

Given I'm pretty unhappy with the Stout I brewed (Im sure this is entirely my fault for putting tooo much sugar in before bottling), I decided I needed another brew for the wedding. I hadn't realised that the Munton's Oaked Ale was so dark at the time, so I went looking for something dark, instead of the stout. I read the description of the Woodforde's Nog as a ruby red, dark, rich tasting ale and it sounded perfect so here we are.

Nothing exciting to report. I soaked the bucket with the stirrer, hydrometer and thermometer in, for about 10 mins.  I poured boiling water over the two tins in the sink near the end of cleaning. Finally I chucked the two tins into the clean bucket added the first of 3 kettles of boiling water, via the empty tins to get the dregs, and stirred like mad. Then I carried it up to the brewing room, and filled up the bucket with cold water from the tap (I have no cold water tank) using a jug, happy to throw the water in from a height to get lots of air in. I pitched the yeast, having forgotten to take a gravity reading again, stirred a little more, and put the top on the bucket and left it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Bottling the Munton's Oaked Ale.

Today with some help from my poor mum, I washed the 45 bottles, and added 75 grams of dissolved demerara sugar into the Munton's Oaked Ale. We then set to work on bottling and capping it. We got 44 bottles, though the last few may have a few of the oak chips in, so they will be reserved for my tasting over the next couple of weeks.

I did have a quick taste yesterday, which to be honest was mainly to confirm that it needed pouring away. It looked so bad only a few days ago and it smelt fairly dodgy I thought too. However, yesterday it tasted OK, very malty you would expect as it's still all churned up, and with some fairly sharp after tastes, but it did seem like it was  on ruined, and with some nice maturing could actually turn out really well. I got a similar opinion after a prebottling taste today, so I have much renewed hope for this brew now.

With various guests descending on us over the next few weeks I will now monitor the 3 beers to check they look OK for the wedding,  and may not brew any more for a little while.

Tasting the Woodefords Wherry

The Woodefords Wherry has had about a week in the bottle. It tastes pretty good. It's subtle, but there is a nice gentle aftertaste. Hopefully this will grow and develop. I'm pretty happy with this brew. No issues from start to finish.

Update on Coopers Stout

It's been a little while since the Coopers stout went into the bottle.  After all those initial issues, it's actually become really quite drinkable. Being a little cooler may have helped calm the fizz but it wasn't as overly fizzy as before,  and there were no hints of the previous salty/fatty flavours. It's a perfectly reasonable,  drinkable stout. Hopefully it will continue to improve in the 2 months to the wedding.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Disaster with the Munton's Oaked Ale

I left the Munton's Oaked Ale for a fair few days before taking a look. I expected it to basically be finished. I was in for a heck of a shock. It looked awful, as you can see from the picture. The bubbles were much brighter and browner than normal, almost yellowy, and still very active clearly, but worse, the discussing looking scum on the top. It was horrid, and surely a sign of infection. I will leave the beer to see what happens but I'm pretty sure it's had it.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Kicking off the Munton's Hand Crafted Oaked Ale

Having just cleaned up the gear after bottling the Woodforde's Wherry, it made sense to kick of the next brew right away. The final kit I got as a present at christmas was the most expensive, and the one I was looking forward to the most - Munton's Hand Crafted Oaked Ale. I'm easily sold...but the box looked smart, and everything gave the impression of quality, so I'm hoping it turns out well.

I ran the hot tap over the two large tins while waiting for the kettle to boil. I poured the hot water over the mixing spoon and the tins, then put the kettle back on while I opened the tins and poured them in. I filed the tins twice each from 2 more boiled  kettles to get the remains out of them, and get the right amount of hot water. this time I went for 3 full kettles up front.

Once it was mixed I took it to the brewing room and chucked in the remaining litres of cold water. Just before it reached the 23 litre level I measured the temperature and found it at about 22. I boiled the kettle to up it a bit, and added the final kettle and some cold. 

I measured the gravity and was surprised to find the gravity up at around 1046, rather than the 1040 of my previous beers. Its hard to imagine I did anything wrong given I added the right amount of water, and there was no need to add sugar, It does suggest the beer might get to 5%, so maybe thats it.

After pouring in the sachet of yeast, time for anotehr first - pouring in the sacket of oak wood chippings. I guess they will just float on the top and hopefully add a little depth to the beer. We shall see.

All done. now I just have to wait and see if the Stout recovers, the Wherry matures well, and if we can get this new beer down to final gravity before the hordes descend on the house at half term.

Bottling the Woodfordes Wherry

I measured the gravity of the Wherry on 2nd Feb, and found it to be around 1015. On the 5th it was probalby around 1014, and didnt show much sign of moving so when I had a few hours on the 7th, I was happy it was likely finished.

Having cleaned the bottles and left them drying (pre-rinse), I went to make up the sugar solution to prime the bucket with, only to find now white sugar in the house. A quick google suggested the demerera sugar could be used instead, in the same quantity as white sugar. Having found 90g way too much in the stout, and the Wherry instructions saying a max of 85 in a pressure key, I opted to use 75g of sugar in the Wherry bucket. We shall see how the quantity, and demerera fair.

I got 44 bottles filled up, and a quick taste didn't show any of the nasty flavours that were in the stout. It was a perfectly acceptable simple brew. Hopefully it will developer a little more interest with time.