This week on Brew Disasters: Bottling Batch #2 of Laurel IPA

Hop cone in the Hallertau, Germany, hop yard

Hop cone in the Hallertau, Germany, hop yard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A two and a half weeks ago on Brew Disasters we had checked the specific gravity of our Laurel India pale ale using a wine thief.

It tasted fine. There were hints of buttery diacetyl, but not overwhelmingly so. The specific gravity was 1.026. The original gravity was 1.068, which would give the beer an ABV of 5.6%.

But when we checked it again after a week it had dropped to 1.020. But when we checked it again a few days later it was still 1.020.  We had really muffed the mashing temperature.  Apparently there had been some fermentable sugars produced during the mash, but not enough for this batch to drop to 1.012 (7.8% ABV) as had December’s batch.

This batch of Laurel IPA had started with an original gravity of 1.068. Its final gravity was 1.020. That calculates to an average alcohol by volume (ABV) of 6.4%.

Batch two tasted great. The diacetyl taste had departed and the dry hopping with an ounce of whole-leaf centennial hops, and one-half ounce each of zythos and simcoe hops really made the aroma and flavor pop. It was time to bottle.

While the use of the whole hops made the beer taste great, the leaves got stuck in the mouth of the auto-siphon making the transfer to the priming bucket exceedingly slow. And, the further down the level of beer in the carboy dropped, the more frequently the siphon needed to be unclogged.

We are not putting whole hops in primary or secondary fermenters again. Once was enough.

All grain brewing pictorial

BiaB sparging technique

BiaB sparging technique (Photo credit: bizzlenj)

Not here, mind you, but over at BeerGeeks.com  BrewGeeks.com* there are lots of pictures of all-grain brewing in a bag (BIAB).

* My apologies to BrewGeeks.com for misreading (and thus misposting) their web address.

Intermediate Follow-up on “This week on Brew Disasters: Laurel IPA”

A hydrometer showing the hydrometry principle....

Image via Wikipedia

I took a sample yesterday of the Laurel India pale ale brewed on Friday using a wine thief.  It tasted fine. There were hints of buttery diacetyl, but not overwhelmingly so. The specific gravity was 1.026. The original gravity was 1.068, which would give the beer an ABV of 5.6%.

So, despite muffing the mash’s temperature, it seems some fermentable sugars were produced during the mash. Whether this batch will drop to 1.012 (7.8% ABV) as December’s batch did remains to be seen. The airlock has stopped percolating every minute, so the ‘rapid’ fermentation has ceased.

Ungrateful yeast

Sacharomyces cerevisiae cells in DIC microscop...

Yeast cells reproducing. Note the buds forming on two of the cells. (Image via Wikipedia)

It’s been more than 37 hours since we pitched with Wyeast 2007 (Pilsner Lager) yeast into the cooled wort of the house pale ale and there is still no indication of fermentation. Wyeast 2007 comes in a “smack-pack.” The package had expanded, so the yeast were active at 6pm on Sunday when they were pitched into the 62F wort.

At a specific gravity of 1.050, this beer isn’t a high gravity beer (1.060 and above), so a lack of aeration should not be an issue. Could it?

Kräusen on top of wort pitched with pilsner lager yeast.

Update: A foamy head of Kräusen has appeared on the top of the wort some 42 hours after the yeast pitch.