Barley Mowat 

No, YOU Drink It

with 2 comments

One of the scarier aspects of homebrewing is that eventually you have to drink the damned stuff. Even worse, there’s often so much of it that you must force it upon your friends, who will either claim its great while silently judging you with their eyes, or immediately keel over dead, depending on how thouroughly you cleaned the equipment.

A quick rinse and we’re good to go! What do you mean, no?

You see, not everyone is an award-winning homebrewer like Rick August or Dave Shea, whose beers are only distinguishable from professional brews by the very real chance that they are actually better. The vast majority of homebrewers are incompetent fuck-ups who are either too cheap to buy real beer, or who think that cramming perfectly drinkable beer into tiny oak barrels for a month is a grand idea.

That leads us to me, to today. My beer has now been out of the oak barrels for about two weeks. It’s mellowing in a number of sanitised and repurposed Howe Sound Brewing bottles, being kept cosy by a strong helping hand of champagne yeast and raw dextrose sugar. The yeast and sugar was added during bottling for two very distinct purposes.

First, the champagne yeast will ferment the sugar in the bottle, and produce carbon dioxide, which will then carbonate the beer because the bottles are capped and the C02 cannot escape. Second, it lets me say that my beer is “finished with champagne yeast” with elegant airs–a phrase that pleases me as much in the saying as it makes those around me want to punch me in the face.

Or, at least that’s the hope. My champagne+dextrose combination was bubbling away merrily when I put it in the bottles, but since then the results have varied by the beer it was paired with. The Whitebark continues to carb up, while the Pothole Filler just kinda… went flat.

However, all that is solidly in the past now, and there ain’t a damned thing I can do about it. Two weeks should be sufficient time for champagne yeast to at least begin doing its thing to make with the bubbly bubbly, and thus I’m now stuck with the task of busting this stuff out and seeing exactly how blind I go.

I’m guessing pretty blind.

To aid in this procedure I have stowed away bottles of the original, unaltered beers for comparison, and to also make me very sad when I realize exactly the level of crime I have commited here. I’ll sample this weekend and report back next week, assuming I manage to stay out of the hospital.

For the record, here are my tasting notes just prior to bottling:

HS Pothole Filler + Bourbon Oak: Tasty, but sure needs some carbonation… any carbonation

Whitebark + Grapes + Brett + Lacto: Whoa. This went from awful to decent to great. A nice sour beer with all sorts of wine and oak characteristics. Very amateur and thin, though, but better than I’d expected for my first try.

HS 4-Way Fruit + Nothing: Decent, but the oak is a bit strong for this brew. Also detected traces of oxidation, which is odd considering the extreme lengths I went to keep deadly oxygen away from this beer. Time in the bottle should mellow the oak.

Written by chuck

June 22nd, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Posted in Beer and You

2 Responses to 'No, YOU Drink It'

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  1. Very interesting. May consider trying this with one of my homebrew’s.


    22 Jun 12 at 14:38

  2. I currently have nine litres of spare barrel capacity… The tiny barrels mean you can age it for weeks or months instead of years due to a might higher surface area/volume ratio.


    22 Jun 12 at 14:51

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