The good, the bad and the pumpkin-y

Haven’t done an update recently, which is a good thing because it means that I haven’t been losing my mind canning lately.  I have decided I need a pressure canner so I can put up stuff like potatoes, but that’s for another day.

I am reporting on the beer.  Last night, before taking a trip out of town for the weekend, I bottled my IPA, which is probably sitting at about, oh, I don’t know, 6.5%.  I racked the pumpkin ale into a secondary fermenter.  It’s clocked in at a whopping 10% ABV.  I tried it and it’s good, so far, but it may be more bitter or hoppy than I wanted.  This could be because I’m using the yeast cake from an IPA.  We’ll see when I finally taste a finished bottle, which should be ready by Hallowe’en.

I also inspected the bottles of my stout I made a few months ago.  It appears that the beer has a little infection.  this means that my sanitation wasn’t as good as it should be at some step in the process, and therefore another bacteria has infected the beer.  This is not in any way toxic, but it may cause off flavours (it may cause good flavours, but not expected flavours).

Now, since this was a small batch and actually I’m not all that fond of the stout that resulted, it’s not in itself a huge tragedy.  But, since I made that stout as a way of “stepping up” a pack of yeast to use in my raspberry porter, if the infection was in the first batch (not, for example, in the bottles or the apparatus used to bottle it) then that could mean the yeast itself is infected, and subsequent batches used from that same yeast will have this infection.

This is my first infection in 10 months of brewing, so i guess it’s pretty good.  However, it has made me rethink and research my sanitation and sterilization processes.  One thing I learned is that chlorine alone is not always good for total sanitation.  You need to add equal amounts of vinegar after you’ve mixed the cholorine and the water.  Note: it is crucial that you add the vinegar to the diluted solution.  Never add it directly to chlorine, since this creates some kind of noxious gas.

I will try that in subsequent brews.  This is the problem with complacency.  You get sloppy.  I could, however, blame the heat of the summer.


About danmalleck

Medical historian and jack-of-all-trades curmudgeon. I tend to ramble about politics, social incivility, and our self-centred culture more interested in buying the next cool ringtone or LED TV than actively engaging in the sorts of discussions and issues that matter. The more opportunity we have to buy more stuff, the less concern there is, it seems, in politics, social justice and let's face it, basic human decency, unless those things actually can save us money or get us more things to show how awesome we are through displaying our material wealth. And I like to brew beer, make cheese, and put food in jars.
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