The loneliness of an empty carboy

I bottled the Pumpkin porter last night.  It was the smoothest bottling session I’ve ever had.  Two nights ago I spent a good amount of time cleaning my bottles, and ended up putting the newly cleaned bottles into a large cooler (square style) and closing it up.  This was my attempt to keep them clean until I could do the bottling.  So I didn’t have to deal with cleaning and sanitizing bottles all on the same day.  My session was therefore less chaotic than normal.

I spent the time watching the preparations for rescuing the miners from that Chilean mine, so I was distracted by the story.  This made everything less stressful.  Nothing like the real human drama to put the minor glitches in bottling into perspective.

The porter, in its unconditioned state, is pretty good.  This was good.  I look forward to cracking and sharing it at Halloween.

In keeping with Charlie Papazian’s directive of having a homebrew while doing brewing related stuff, I cracked the Imperial Pale Ale I brewed about a month ago.  It’s still very “green,”–grassy, almost urine like (really, let’s be honest, I smelled pee) aromas.  I’m therefore worried that it won’t be as good as I had expected.

I have to cross my fingers and believe.  It’s a recipe from Sam Calagione’s Extreme Brewing, and given that he’s the genius behind Dogfish Head, I have high expectations for it.  I did modify the recipe slightly, adding more and different hops in the dry hopping stage, but that was after extensive consultation with the brain trust at’s homebrewing forum.  I added Citra hops along with the recommended Cascade.  Should be okay, apparently they’re complementary hops.  But we’ll see.  I find strong hoppy beers need at least a month to really fill out and hit their stride.

I also risked trying my raspberry porter, with absolutely no expectations of anything good (It’s only been conditioning for 5 days, so is far from in a completed state).   Fortunately, with so many bottles of the stuff and no confidence that it will be bad, I wasn’t concerned that this would be a waste of a bottle.

Actually, it wasn’t as terrible as I expected. Raspberry in the nose, some interesting flavours.  However, I think the infection that I had in the stout I made a while ago has migrated to this beer, too.  There were some off flavours that do not seem to be a result of the lame-ass recipe I created.

I think I need to do a thorough sterilization of my carboys and bottles, in case this becomes an epidemic (fortunately, the Imperial Pale Ale shows no signs of infection, fingers crossed).   this will require ye olde bleach diluted in water and then white vinegar added (repeat after me: NEVER mix bleach and vinegar directly).

Now, for the first time since I don’t know when, all of my carboys are empty.  This is good, because most of my bottles are full.  (Except for the clear glass bottles I’m saving for the planned cider collaboration.  Hear me, KEL?)

My next beer, I expect, will be a conservative attempt at a Bitter, or Special Bitter or even Extra Special Bitter.  I picked up a good amount of Fuggles and Goldings hops while in North Carolina a while ago, and I want to put them to good use.  This will require me to spend some time reading up on the styles and deciding whether I want to try a half batch to use up my Dry Malt Extract, or take the chance at an all-grain using Brew in a Bag techniques.

Thus the dilemmas of a brewer who spends most of his time making it up as he goes along.


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.
This entry was posted in brewing trouble, fermentation, home brewing, pumpkin porter, raspberry porter and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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