This week on Brew Disasters: “Oh Well, What the Hell?” Pale Ale

It looks okay...

No doubt you’re not wondering what we here at Flog This Dead (Mule) Brewery decided to do with the “Oh Well, What The Hell?pale ale after detecting  soapy and buttery tastes. The soapy flavor could be the result of the breakdown of the fatty acids that in the trub at the bottom of the fermenter (though ten days hardly seems too long to leave trub in the bottom) or a by-product of some yeasts. Butter flavors can result from diacetyl.

Given these imperfections, would we bottle or would we throw the whole batch down the drain?

Well, we here out Flog This Dead (Mule) Brewery looked at our flavor profiles and realized we have no flavor profiles. We wondered if our degrees Plato were met, and we had no idea what that meant. Finally, we checked our standards, and realized we had none, well, maybe not none, but extremely low.

So, since we have incredibly low standards (after all, we answer to no one but ourselves) we went ahead and bottled, and hoping to mask the dish soap flavor, we used honey for the bottle conditioning fermentation.

Once again we used the Beer Recipator’s Carbonation site to come up with the proper amount of sugar for the style of beer brewed. The style was  American pale ale.  American pale ales should have a volume of CO2 of 2.2-2.8. We split the middle and  went with 2.5. They recommended 4.53 ounces (128 g) of honey. We found a website that would convert weight of honey to volume of honey and the amount  calculated out to 3 fluid ounces. We siphoned the carboy into a priming bucket, added the 3 oz of honey, and bottled the stuff.

It has 5.5% ABV and and calculates out to 43 IBU.

Now, with only moments to go before we have to serve this beer–which we have renamed after some dead guy and claimed that it’s based on a 1200 year-old recipe–at the [insert big time beer event here], we hope the honey will fool people into thinking the stuff tastes okay.

[Smiles and opens doors while carrying boxes filled with bottles of beer named after some dead guy and claiming that it’s based on a 1200 year-old recipe]


Bottling the Laurel IPA

I bottled up the collaborative Laurel India Pale Ale. You may recall that I subbed Cascade hops for Centennial since the local homebrew supply store was out of Centennial. (Laurel IPA’s recipe here). Here is the bottle count:

  • 18 – 22 ounce bottles (396 oz)
  • 11 – 12 ounce bottles (132 oz)
  • 1 – 32 ounce bottle    (32 oz)
  • Total  4.375 gallons (560 oz)
  • Cost of beer – $1.03 per 12 oz

It tastes spectacular. Very piney with hints of citrus. And, even though it’s running around 8% ABV, it doesn’t have heat in the finish. According to a Triple Rock brewer I spoke with on the telephone today about their December 22 collaboration party, they would like those who brewed the Laurel IPA to bring “one or two” bottles depending on the size of the bottle. He said he expected it to start around 3pm, but added that their website would have more specific information eventually.

Here are this batch’s numbers:
Target Pre-Boil Specific Gravity: 1.045 SG
Actual Pre-Boil Specific Gravity: 1.050 SG

Target Original Gravity: 1.065 SG
Actual Original Gravity: 1.071 SG

Target Final Gravity: 1.015 SG
Actual Final Gravity: 1.012 SG

Target Apparent Attenuation: 76.5 %
Actual Apparent Attenuation: 81.9 %

Target Alcohol by Volume: 6.7 % ABV
Actual Alcohol by Volume: 7.8 % ABV

Target IBU (using Tinseth): 86.5 IBU
Calculated IBU (using Tinseth): 86.6 IBU

Target Color (using Morey): 5.9 SRM
Actual Color: 5.3 SRM

Target Mash Efficiency: 65.0 %
Actual Mash Efficiency: 72.5 %

Target Fermentation Temp: 64 degF
Actual Fermentation Temp: 60-66 degF

Update: I neglected to say how the ale will be conditioning in the bottles. I mixed 2.6 oz of corn sugar into the 4.4 gallons. That mix should yield a 2.05 CO2 volume according the Beer Recipator. India Pale Ales have CO2 volumes ranging from 1.5-2.3.