A slow burn

So one of the keys to brewing a barleywine, so I read, is to have a colder temperature, creating a slower fermentation.  Since the beer is going to have so much alcohol, this reduces the solventy alcoholic nature of the beer, making it smoother.  Fortunately, this time of the year, the basement is sitting at 64F or so, which lends it self to a much milder fermentation than the warmer temps I’d get in my spare bedroom (where I usually keep my beer).  I keep my house relatively cool, so in the winter the temp is around 69, but in the spare room it’s probably closer to 70 or higher.  Owing to the temperature caused by fermentation, the temp in the carboy is normally higher than outside, by as much as 5 degrees.  This carboy is warm.

Below are three pictures illustrating the slow fermentation.  Normally with the amount of yeast I pitched, the krausen would be very high, and I’d need a blow off tube to deal with the amount of stuff that the CO2 is pushing out the top.  But because of the temperature, it’s slower.

Day 1.  I took this on Monday morning, not one day after pitching the yeast:

Not 24 hours after pitching the yeast.

Second morning, I took this.  Note how much bigger the foam is. What you can’t see is how much movement there is in the beer itself. (The colour difference is caused by the lighting).

Second morning.

Third morning, you can see the krausen has begun to fall.

Let the foam fall...

I took off the blanket which insulated a bit (because I didn’t want it to ferment too warm). (I also use the blanket to block out UV light, which can make skunky flavours when interacting with the hops). So this may be falling because the temp is lower. It also may be wrapping up its work on the sugar. I’ll take a gravity measurement once the bubbling in the CO2 lock has stopped to see how well it fermented. For now, I let the yeast continue to do its job.


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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