Batch 2: Nut Brown Ale

Short story, I was able to get the wort down to ~120 after stirring and a few minutes in an ice bath in the sink. I then aerated it by pouring back and forth 5 times between the brew kettle and a sterilized bucket (used for bottling the previous day, soaked overnight in StarSan solution). I added it to the carboy then topped off with distilled water, and this brought the temp down to ~80 degrees. I pitched the yeast and put it into the garage, but it got down in the 40s last night, so that may have put the yeast to sleep. If it isn’t gurgling away tomorrow, I’ll bring it inside and give it a day or two to wake up. If it isn’t fermenting after a few more days, I’ll pitch some more yeast.

I tried to measure the OG before pitching the yeast, but I believe the reading I got (1.09) was waaay off, since the kit was supposed to brew to 1.05-1.055 OG. I used whirlfloc as directed by the directions, and this led to a lot of precipitate in the wort. I believe the precipitate may have skewed the  OG reading. Either that, or the temperature upon reading (which was ~80 degrees). I let a good half-pint of wort cool and settle in the kitchen, and poured off the top half into the beer thief for measurement later that night. It still read around 1.09 OG, but I realize this may also be due to the fact that there was more liquid left in the glass (liquid mixed with precipitate), so considering there was all of that missing matter, cutting 1.09 in half to get the expected OG wasn’t too much of a stretch. I really don’t know. I’ll measure gravity over the next few days to try to get a handle on it.

UPDATE: After a few days, I moved the carboy inside, and it did not begin fermenting. I visited the nice folks at the Original HomeBrew Outlet in Sacramento to get some new yeast for re-pitching, and the nice gentleman there suggested that I ‘rouse the yeast’ (stir the yeast up from the bottom of the carboy). Turns out, that worked. I stirred the carboy at 8pm on Thursday night, and when I awoke on Friday morning, I saw the beginnings of Krausen. Woohoo!!! Now I have some WLP005  (British Ale Yeast) from White Labs in the fridge, waiting for the next batch 🙂 Let’s see how this nut brown ale ferments.

UPDATE (3/24): after two days, that ‘beginnings of Krausen’ was all that we got in terms of visual activity. I measured the gravity and got a reading of 1.048. The yeast may be doing something, but it feels terribly slow. The liquid still tastes like fresh wort, which I think is good, but that is telling me that the yeast aren’t working that hard, so I pitched the WLP005. Lets see if that gets us anywhere 🙂

OG: 1.48 ?

UPDATE (3/25): HEALTHY KRAUSEN!! I hope the week of not really fermenting didn’t kill the beer. Since bringing the beer inside, it’s been between 67 and 68 degrees in the house, and we’ll keep it there for the duration of the fermentation.

UPDATE 4/8/12 (Sunday): I moved the carboy into the garage today, a good week after the krausen fell. I am going to let it ‘cold condition’ (kinda) for another week before bottling.

UPDATE 4/15/12 (Sunday): I bottled at FG 1.014. The beer did not taste right, and I think it may have tasted like cardboard, which is a sign of oxidation (sigh). This may have been due to the fact that I aerated the wort when it was still ~hot (120-130 F), and John Palmer says not to aerate wort that is hotter than 80. Doh! We’ll see what happens with a few weeks of bottle conditioning.

UPDATE 10/08/12: I dumped this batch a number of months ago, b/c on tasting, the cardboard flavor was obnoxious. I did keep a 6-pack, however, and I tasted a bottle a month ago, a month before, and today. The cardboard flavor, though still present, has quite precipitously dropped in prominence, and I am tasting a lot more of the malty, biscuity and nutty brown ale that I am sure was being out-shined by the off-flavors. Still not regretting the dump, as it was nigh undrinkable, and still is not entirely quaffable, but I’m pleased to note that the cardboard has abated.