Monday, May 14, 2007

The last four

All of the last four beers have been pretty good beers. Unfortunately they have all been a bit too dry. I blame this on the two thermometers I use, one digital and one alcohol thermometer. The alcohol thermometer did measure two degrees Celsius lower than the digital. I did trust the digital one, but it does seem like the analog one is the more accurate one.

Two new high quality thermometers have been ordered, so I hope to have better results in the future.

Because I have used the digital thermometer all since I started brewing all-grain all of my beers have been fairly dry even though I have tried to make more sweeter beers. The attempts haven't been wholehearted, but I would think that a saccharisation rest at 69C should end up with a predominantly sweet beer.

#44 India Pale Ale, 7.6%: Light copper colour. The beer lacked the same roasted and nutty complexity that the previous IPA had. It was pretty good, but it was lighter in colour and ended up with much more alcohol than the previous one. I wasn't particularly satisifed with the hops. The Columbus provided as harsh bitterness and the Amarillo a pungent grassy flavour. Not what I find appropriate in an IPA.

#45 Altbier, 5.1%: Dark copper colour. In my opinon the best one of the four. Drying hop flavour from the Spalt hops. I had expected it to be more bitter, but the hops did lend more flavour than bitterness. Spalter Select is a nice hop which I'll use in other beers. The flavour also had quite a bit of caramel and chocolate.

#46 Weissbier, 6.4%: Cloudy pale golden colour. This one ended up way too dry and subsequently with a way too high alcohol content for the style. The alcohol level was not obvious in any way, but the dryness and the light body did not fit the style well. There was quite a bit of clove character in the beer, which I also tried to enhance by doing an acid rest. Unfortunately it is pretty obvious that the problems I had trying to raise the temperature to the saccharification rest did have an effect on the fermentability. There was next to no banana flavour in the beer even though the fermentation was very vigorous and the ambient temperature passed 22C at one time, but at an average the temperature was 19C.

#47 Imperial Porter, 6.8%: Pitch black. The soft water in Oslo has been playing tricks with me before and even this beer had some astringent characters from dark malts, but far from as strong as the previous porter I made. This time I used 500 grams of dark malts, chocolate malt and black malt, both debittered varieties. The beer has a distinct and somewhat sharp roastedness. The hops where pretty subdued, but balanced the malts nicely. This was a pretty clean and dry beer with the distinct character of darker malts. Would have been better with some more malt complexity.


chris said...

Are you fairly certain that your equipment is not contaminated with a high attenuation yeast?

grove said...

Hi chris,

Hmm. I don't think that is very likely as the fermentation was very effective and was over in just a couple of days. Of course, it could be the case, but I don't think that it is likely. The mash temperature is a much more likely candidate IMHO, especially since I know that there is a deviation between the two thermometers I have.

The fermenters, hoses and thermometers have all been replaced, so the future brews should hopefully not end up this dry. Though I'm not sure if I'll figure out if the problem really was a high attenuating yeast strain or the thermometer.