Monday, March 23, 2009
"Learning" from my mistakes
So I have been brewing beer lately. Anyone who knows me will find that completely within reason for who I am. The first batch was a India Pale Ale. It was made entirely from a kit following the instructions precisely. It came out ok, which is to say very good by commercial standards but with some off tastes. My friend who brews really incredible beers told me how to make it better. He told me to rehydrate my yeast before pitching them. Unfortunately, I didn't hear that from him until after my second batch started fermenting. It's a nut brown. Evidently, nut brown means chocolate flavored roasted barley and brown sugar. I'm guessing it will still have the same off flavors. Maybe the stronger brown flavors will mask that though. After brewing and bottling the brown, I asked around and was directed to a book to read as I prepared for my third batch. It's simply titled, "How to Brew Beer". It's a pretty good guide book. I learned a lot from it. For one, I won't boil a wort (that's what beer is before it is fermented) for less than an hour any more. There's a lot more to learn from it but that's for later. I have the word learning in quotes in my title. The reason is that I am not sure how well I learn from reading. My third batch is a chocolate porter. I brewed it today. The book made very clear I should get the wort down in temperature quickly before pitching the yeast (adding the yeast). I was impatient, however, and now I am a little worried. You see, the wort and yeast started at a temperature that was a bit high. Now the fermentor is bubbling like I've not yet seen. I've read this can cause off tastes. I'm just thinking out loud here but it has become apparent to me that I emotionally can't learn so well from reading. I just hope the yeast remains healthy and converts the sugars I want it to convert rather than wasting itself creating undesired alcohols that taste bad. I guess I'll learn very quickly to change my pattern otherwise.