Tag Archives: bottling

Helping the grain, and back

Back in late July last year I went around to Chas’s place and helped with an all Grain pale ale. Chas is now focused of his site Brew In Review and I wanted to do a write up. I’ve finally done it, here we are.

Chas had done a few brews back around middle of 2015. You might remember I mentioned he gave me a bottle of The Friedlieb IV back in June 2015. Review of that is in draft and I’ll get up soon. Then there was an all grain pale ale. That turned out too strong. The next brew day, 25 July 2015, was about redoing the all grain with less fermentables.

The equipment used was from one of Chas’s mates, a big esky/cooler box converted into a mash tun. Nice and easy to use. Didn’t get a photo on the day, but here’s a pic of it from another day after it got cleaned out.

Esky mash tun, clean and dismantled

Esky mash tun, clean and dismantled

16 litre batch
4 kg traditional ale malt + 40 g malted wheat + 40 g dingman’s biscuit malt + 20 g rye.
Mashed at 67.5°C for one hour
16 g chinook + 8 g fuggles for 1 hour.
16 g cascade for 20 minutes
16 g Citra + 8 g Willamette for 2 minutes.
US 05 yeast
OSG 1.045

Mash was an hour, target of 67.5°C and landed pretty much there. That was easy. Next was the sparging. Drain the liquid and some hot water poured over the top of the grain. That took ages, about an hour or more. Finally pressed the grain to get extra liquid out.

Next up, bring to a boil and keep going for an hour. Three hop additions: 60 minutes, 20 mind and 2 mins. Next, the pot moved to ice bath. Then drain and fill bath a few times. Maybe 40 minutes or so to bring down to low 20’s. Finally into the fermenter and dry yeast pitched straight in. Gravity sample came in at 1.045 which was in the range Chas was after.

It was a long day. Chas started the mash about 10:30 before I arrived and we finished up around 3:30. That’s a long brew day and a one of the reasons I still haven’t moved to all grain brewing.

Fast forward two weeks to bottling day. Woo! This was a real easy bottling session. Chas bulk primed the beer in the fermenter before I got there and the whole lot was bottled in about 15 minuets.

2015.08.08 - bottling doneThe final gravity reading came in at 1.006 and will be a 5.5% beer after bottle conditioning. The sample tastes great. Plenty of body and citrus hop flavour.

Chas gave me a four pack to take home. The test batch seamed promising and I was really looking forward to seeing how these turn out.

This beer has been reviewed and I’ll get a post up in the next couple weeks.

Worth noting, this recipe was an early version of what became the Priestly Pale Ale. You can read up all about that recipe on Chas’s site Brew In Review.

-Mikey

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Grains and milk, it’s dark

So good to be brewing again. Finally got around to brewing something I’ve been wanting to get down for a while. Plus, Chas was able to make it for another fun brew day.

Sunday before last, the seventh, was a bottling day for the Lazy House Ale #1 and brew day for a porter I’ve been wanting to make for a while. With the new place there was a bit of getting-use-to the place, but the day ran smoothly.

Milk Porter 1 chilling

Milk Porter #1 chilling in a cold water bath

The porter is an extract brew with steeped grains. Plenty of added bonuses to fill out the flavour and body. Milk Porter #1:

  • 11 litres of water
  • 1 kilogram Briess Golden Light dry malt extract, 60 minute boil
  • 35 grams Willamette hops, @ 60 mins
  • 5 grams Fuggles hops, @ 60 mins
  • Steeped grains (see below), @ 5 mins
  • 300 grams Maltodextrin, @ 5 mins
  • 350 grams Lactose, @ 5 mins
  • 5 grams Willamette hops, @ 60 flame out
  • 15 grams Fuggles hops, @ flame out
  • 1.5 kilograms Briese Dark liquid malt extract, flame out
  • Windsor yeast (nearly a full pack)
  • 400 grams Crystal malt 140 ECB
  • Steeped in 2 litres of water for 40 mins

Getting the 11 litre boil going and grains steeping was priority. Chas got to cracking the grain while I sorted the water. Once all set it was time to bulk prime and bottle the Lazy House Ale.

Lazy House Ale 1 FG

Lazy House Ale #1 Final Gravity

Used 64 grams sugar dissolved in about 200 millilitres of hot water. Put this in the big fermenter and carefully racked the beer into it. Took a gravity reading and was surprised to see it hit 1.012, just as calculated. You might remember I didn’t get a proper original gravity so it might have been higher, or maybe I’ve finally got the hang of this home being thing. On a side note, no temperature control in this and it would have dropped below 10 degrees a few times.

Bottling went without incident. After not too long there were 36 bottles filled and capped.

Lazy House Ale 1 bottles

Lazy House Ale #1 all bottled

Back to the porter, there was a bit of a rush. Lactose, maltodextrin and steeped grains were meant to go in with 10 minutes to go, but distractions meant they went in 5 minutes later. Oh well. I’m sure it shouldn’t make much difference.

Flame out then last hops went in. Rather than start chilling straight away, like last time, the liquid malt went in. Then into the ice bath with an ice and water top up. After a good half an hour or so of cooling we poured into the fermenter and sived out the hops. Realized that not all the liquid malt dissolved. Lesson for next time. Then topped up with cold water to 18 litres.

As the wort wasn’t cool enough yeast didn’t get pitched for a while. Wasn’t until next day that yeast went in. Nearly a whole pack of yeast, maybe half a teaspoon left. Was only a matter of hours before airlock started up. Always a good sign.

Milk Porter 1 OG

Milk Porter #1 Original Gravity

The original gravity came in at a respectful 1.060. This should come down to high 1.020’s giving a solid 6% alcohol and plenty of body backing it up. The sample tasted really good and I’ve got high hopes. If everything goes well I might pitch another dark beer wort onto the yeast. Maybe a coffee porter or stout.

Speaking of dark coffee beers, Chas brought around some bottles of his latest (4th) version of his coffee porter The Friedlieb. At 10.2% alcohol it’s a lot more like a stout. I’ll get a review up in the week or so.

The Lazy House Ale sample tasted great. Not over the top with hops like I feared, which is good. First tasting will be this Thursday. Probably a bit too early. Will wait and see.

Good to be back into brewing. Plenty to be excited about.

-Mikey

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So pale, extra pale 2 bottled

Monday was Australia Day and doubled as bottling day for the Extra Pale Ale #2. It was a very quick session and I knocked it over myself in a bit over half an hour.

Extra Pale Ale 2 bottled

Extra Pale Ale 2 freshly bottled and all cloudy

Skipped the bulk priming and put a tablespoon of white sugar to prime each bottle. Should have done it with the Extra Pale Ale #1 as it was much quicker than the bulk priming for small batches. Ended up with twelve bottles and a gravity sample as well.

Extra Pale Ale 2 FG

Extra Pale Ale 2 final gravity reading

Gravity came in at 1.025 which means the beer will sit at about 8.7% alcohol after bottle conditioning. Was a bit surprised the gravity wasn’t lower, much lower. I realised the Malto Dextrin had a bit of effect, plus it was probably a bit much to ask that kit yeast to chomp through so much sugar. That said, I was hoping to get down to the 1.009 calculated, or at least around 1.015. Not to be.

As usual I tasted the gravity sample. First up it was bad. Lots of apple sweet flavour and not nice yeast. After it sat for about 20 or so minutes the taste was a lot better. Still not great, but I could finish drinking the small sample. This one will take a while to condition properly probably a month or more.

Nothing brewing at the moment. Thinking of doing a couple really small batches. Maybe cider with the brewing caps. Maybe finally getting around to those ‘not beers’. Will keep you posted.

-Mikey

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New year brew, extra pale two

Hello and happy new year. Apologies for the break between posts, nearly four weeks! Back on board and, more importantly, back to brewing. Sunday the 11th was the first brew for the year and Chas came over to lend a hand. Always a fun day when Chas makes it.

Extra Pale Ale 1 bottled

Extra Pale Ale 1 all bottled and capped

There was some tasting of the Pale Trial Zwei beers and bottling of the Extra Pale Ale #1. Although only four litres, we still bulk primed. In hindsight that might have been a bit over the top for 10 bottles.

Gravity reading came in at 1.010 pretty much smack bang on what I was aiming for. Alcohol calculated at exactly 8% after bottle conditioning. Nice and strong.

The flavour was a bit of a mix. There was some some apple aroma and other fruit. Taste was much the same with a slight round, but clear, yeast flavour. Quite possible there’s some acetaldehyde and the yeast was stressed out by being forced to work so hard. Plus it was kit yeast, and that’s not usually good.

Extra Pale Ale 2 OG

Extra Pale Ale 2 original gravity reading

The brew for the day was straight forward. Almost identical to Extra Pale Ale #1. This time added more sugar and some malto dextrin. The sugar should push up the alcohol towards the 10% region, while the malto dextrin should help it hold together.

  • 4 litre boil
  • 300 grams Pilsen Light DME @ 40 mins
  • 200 grams Malto Dextrin @ 5 mins
  • 500 grams raw sugar @ 5 mins
  • 2 grams Warrior hops @ 30 mins
  • 3 grams Amarillo hops @ flame out
Extra Pale Ale 2 ready to go

Extra Pale Ale 2 in the fermenter in the pot and ready to go

Ice was dumped directly into the pot during the ice bath. That helped cool the brew and topped up for water lost in the boil. In the end it was a bit too much liquid and the fermentation vessel was fuller than I would have liked. And, yes, it did cause a blow out in the air lock.

The wort was dumped straight onto the yeast cake of the last brew. There should be plenty of yeast to eat through the large amounts of sugars there. Gave it a very good shake up, going to need all the oxygen it can get.

The gravity reading came in at 1.087 which is exactly what I calculated. Nice to finally hit a target OG for the first time ever, even if there was to much water.

It’s been nearly two weeks already. Bottling will be soon, maybe end of the long weekend. Should get some idea how it will taste. Hoping that the Malto Dextrin gives it some body to help balance out the large amount of sugar added.

For the next brew? Not sure yet, but likely this year will continue the experimentations and small batches. Temperatures are still pretty hot in Melbourne and it’s hard keeping fermentation vessels cool enough.

-Mikey

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Bottling Summer, in the cold

Sunday was bottling day for the Summer Ale. Was a fairly straight forward affair with just me doing everything, and all done in about an hour. The best thing was that I didn’t stuff the beer by acidently oxygenating it, like I did with the Super Stout.

Summer Ale 1 bottled

Summer Ale 1 all bottled

Given there was 14 litres of beer I decided to bulk prime. First time I’ve done it since making the mistake with the Super Stout. I took my time and planned it out better. The only hiccup I had was when the end if the bottling wand feel off into one of the bottles. Learning from that time that happened, I quickly turned off the tap before losing to much. No other problems.

The sample I took had a gravity reading of 1.005 which is lower that I had hoped. But in a good way. After original reading was so low I wanted the final gravity to be under 1.010, and here we are a bit under that. Happy with the outcome.

Summer Ale 1 sample

Summer Ale 1 sample for tasting after gravity reading

There was a nice tropical and earthy flavour to the sample. The colour was a fair bit darker than I thought it would be. Both those have me thinking that I’m sure if I would call it a Summer time beer. After a couple weeks I’ll crack open one and find out.

On a side note, have found that my hydrometer has a very fine crack in it and some liquid has got in. Not sure if that was before the reading of the original gravity, final gravity or just in clean up. Needless to say, I’ll be using the spare one for next brew and buying (another) new one.

– Mikey

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Apples and milk, in bottles

It’s not really milk that went into the apple cider. I simply like the idea that lactose sugar is milk sugar, and therefore milk. The important thing is that the Sneaky Milky Cider has been bottled. Plus the samples tasted pretty good.

Sneaky Milky Cider 1 FG

Sneaky Milky Cider 1 the Final Gravity reading

On Saturday evening I got busy and bottling. There are three batches across three carboys. Each had a splash over two litres in them. These were some very small batches, the smallest I’ve ever done. Used the auto syphon again which works pretty well. Manually priming each bottle wasn’t a huge pain as the batch sizes were small, plus I used a few 500 ml bottles which sped things up.

Sneaky Milky Cider 2 FG

Sneaky Milky Cider 2 the Final Gravity reading

Gravity readings were a bit all over the place. I’m not surprised given the range of ingredients across the batches. The first one dropped from 1.060 to 1.012 which means after bottling will be 6.8% alcohol. The second one was more pronounced falling from 1.055 to 1.004 turning it into 7.2%. Then the third was more reasonable going from 1.055 to 1.011 and hitting 6.3%.

After gravity readings were done it was tasting time. The first batch had a nice sweet and apple flavour. There was also a hint of sour to this, but wasn’t overpowering or distracting. The second batch had similar characteristics but cleaner. That said, the sourness was more pronounced and it wasn’t as sweet as batch one. The last batch was noticeably different. It had a bigger mouth feel and overall rounder flavour. As a result this batch didn’t have the same noticeably sweetness or apple flavour.

Sneaky Milky Cider 1-3

Sneaky Milky Cider 1 to 3 for tasting

These ciders are only going to be bottle conditioned for a week before most of them are consumed. They will be the sweet cider option for those not drinking beer at a party this Saturday. The beer on offer will be the Pale Trial beers, 1 to 5 of both Eine and Zwie. I’m looking forward to hearing feedback on all of them. And I how that there’s enough to go around.

-Mikey

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Yeast adventures, capping it for now

The second round of experiments with yeast are done. Over a couple evenings in the last week I bottled the Pale Trial Zwei.

Pale Trial Zwei - carboy 1-5

Pale Trial Zwei in carboy 1 to 5 (left to right)

From the first impressions it looks like the yeast characteristics from Pale Trial Ein have carried over. There’s a strange tart and dry-sourness, especially from the first carboy. Carboy 2-5 were bottled on a septate day, so I can’t do a five-way comparison.

The good news is that the Galaxy hop flavours have come out well. There hasn’t been the big bitterness that I was getting with the Victoria Secret hops. Nice tropical aroma and flavour at the front. One these condition for a few weeks they should be good for the spring sun.

Pale Trial Zwei - sample 1

Pale Trial Zwei the sample from carboy 1

The one thing I really wasn’t sure about was how healthy the yeast might be. I didn’t know if there would be too much yeast, grown from the last batch. Maybe it wouldn’t be healthy enough, stressed from the last brew. Or maybe it would need more nutrients, which I deliberately didn’t put in. Plus I didn’t keep an eye on the fermentation. That said, it looks like things went smoothly.

Final gravity readings ranged from 1.010 to 1.008 and I’m happy with that. The OG was 1.047 and after bottle conditioning alcohol should be between 5.6% and 5.4%. That’s very respectable for a pale ale. The cause for the range in final gravity may have been due to a few things. Possibly sediments in the sample, possible yeast health, or a number of other things with the yeast.

Pale Trial Zwei - samples 2-5

Pale Trial Zwei samples from carboy 2 to 5

The bottling by myself was a bit of trial and error. The first carboy I used the old hand siphon. That is, two tubes with a pump thing. Have been using it for a while but works as long as you’ve got the flow going and don’t stop-start too much. For the rest (done on another night) I was able to use the Auto Syphon as the other carboys have a bigger opening. Had a bit more trouble with this due to the seal between the top and the tube. After a lot of trial and error I worked out better to pull the end out of each bottle and fill the next without trying to stop the flow. Lost a little, but not as much as stop-start. Something to work on. In an attempt to try and reduce beer loss, I left beer in the Auto Syphon between carboys, so mixing left over from one with the start form the next. Bottles marked, but not expecting anything noticeably different.

Pale Trial Zwei bottled 2-5

Pale Trial Zwei all bottled with bottles from carboy 2 to 5

Looking forward to trying these brews. I’ve had a bottle of each of the Pale Trial Ein bottles. They’ve settled down a fair bit. I didn’t do a side by side comparison, but the differences seam to be there. Will do a proper review in a week or two.

Been a bit slow getting new content up. Few reasons for that. I’m letting my fermentation times run a bit longer, like this one for three and a half weeks. I’m brewing less, next one in a few days. Chas isn’t brewing, he’s got a bit of a stockpile. But might be fixing that this coming weekend. And a few reviews haven’t gone up yet. I’m going to try and get a few of them up over the next couple weeks.

-Mikey

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Gift of the Dad, the bottling

Sunday week ago (31st) was a bottling and brewing day at my place. The five carboys of the Pale Trial Ein were ready for bottling and Pale Trial Zwei needed to be brewed. And Chas was there for it all.

Was great to have Chas back after a bit of a break. Bit of craziness and some well oiled processes made the day run smooth. Or as smooth as possible.

Pale Trial Ein ready to bottle

Pale Trial Ein in the carboys and ready to bottle

Will talk about the brew in another post because there’s a lot to talk about with the Pale Trial Ein. This is the pale ale that I brewed three weeks back. Used some of the equipment and ingredients I got from my Dad.

As there were five carboys of pale ale, and I wanted to keep them separate, we didn’t bother with bulk priming. But we did get to finally use the Easy Siphon I bought a few months back. Once we got it working it worked a treat. The bottling process was slowed down by needing to prime each bottle. That was made harder when I ran out of carbonation drops and had to measure out sugar. Uhg. Needing to take five gravity samples didn’t help.

Comparing the Pale Trial Ein beers was interesting. The first thing is the different colours. Wow. How is that possible? But there you go, same batch in five different carboys with only a couple minor differences in ingredients can make a big change.

Pale Trial Ein samples

The five different samples of Pale Trial Ein (1-5, left to right)

To recap, and make this easier to explain, here are the five types:

  1. Normal yeast nutrient (the one I’ve been using all year)
  2. Normal yeast nutrient plus a Campden tablet
  3. Just newly acquired yeast nutrient (the really old stuff I got from my Dad)
  4. Just a Campden tablet
  5. Newly acquired yeast nutrient and Campden tablet

It was clear that those with the Campden tablets (2, 3 & 5) were darker. But the normal yeast nutrient (1 & 2) was also slightly darker than the newly acquired stuff (4 & 5). And the one with just the tablet (4) is the darkest.

And the flavours, too. Side by side comparison of yeast nutrient was clear. The stuff I normally use (1 & 2) had more smooth full hop flavour up front, but a really bad bitter and metallic taste at the back. The newly acquired (4 & 5) was softer and less hop fruit flavour but rounder and mellow overall with no harsh kick.

When comparing the Campden tablet ones (2, 3 & 5) to non-Campden tablets (1 & 4) it’s clear. The ones with the tablets have a richer hop fruit flavour. And the one with only the Campden tablet (4) is a fair bit dryer from up front to end.

Have to say that the newly acquired nutrient and Campden tablet (5) was the best one. After that, normal yeast nutrient and Campden tablet (2). Then newly acquired yeast nutrient (3). Then just Campden tablet (4). And lastly just the old yeast nutrient (1).

Pale Trial Ein bottled

Pale Trial Ein in bottles, see the numbers on the top

And finally, the gravity readings. They pretty much all came in at 1.014 which isn’t really a surprise. The one with just newly acquired yeast nutrient (3 & 5) came it at 1.015. The beers will end up at 5.8%-5.9% alcohol after conditioning in the bottles. I do hope the bitterness settles down a bit.

To summarise, Campden tablets are awsome. And the really old yeast nutrient is better than the stuff I’ve been using. Go figure. Next post from me will be the write up on the brew.

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Bottling day, plus surprise bottling

Saturday was a bottling day at my place. No brewing, just bottling. Was meant to be a quick one so we could get onto other things for the day.

Home Brewers R+D Vic Secret bottled

Home Brewers R+D Victoria Secret bottled and ready for conditioning

Chas came over and, unlike the last few days at my place, there wasn’t anything major getting in the way of starting. So we quickly got stuck into bottling the 13 odd litres of the Home Brewers R&D Vic Secret. Sannitising bottles is pretty easy with the tub and bottling tree. Went  with a mix of a few bigger 500 ml bottles and a fair few 330 ml bottles.

Bulk primed the beer was a simple affair. Did it in the big stock pot just like the Super Stout. But unlike the Super Stout we didn’t pour the thing into something else to bottle. We simply siphoned the beer into bottles. Done.

Pseudo Lager 1 bottled

Pseudo Lager 1 bottled and ready for conditioning

Before priming and bottling we did a gravity sample. Final gravity came in at 1.010 which means after conditioning it will be 3.4% alcohol. Not surprised as there was such a low original gravity. From tasting the gravity sample it was very hoppy and very bitter. Not sure how it will finish. I’m hoping this becomes a session beer and, if I can keep myself from drinking it all, something for the warmer months later in the year.

Before calling it a day I decided to take a gravity sample of the Pseudo Lager. Was very surprised to see it down to 1.006! I’ve been hoping it would get down to 1.005 but expected it to finish around 1.020-1.010. That’s a good result and means the beer will be 6.0% after bottling. It tasted pretty alright as well, quite dry and not a lot of hops. Should be good once it is carbonated.

Home Brewers R+D Vic Secret and Pseudo Lager 1

Home Brewers R+D Vic Secret and Pseudo Lager 1 samples ready for tasting

Chas wasn’t that excited about bottling another 16 litres of beer. But after a bit of negotiation, and a break for a bit, we got into it. Rather than bulk prime into the pot, we used the recently emptied fermentation vessel with the tap and a brew wand. Saved a lot of time and finished quickly.

A day of bottling. Normally nothing special, but a pleasant surprise with the Pseudo Lager. Looking forward to tasting and letting you know how it all worked out.

-Mikey

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Bottling Super Stout, with a mistake

I finally got around to bottling the Super Stout. I’ve been waiting for some extra fermentation which hasn’t really happened. I was by myself and made a mistake. I knew at the time that maybe it wasn’t a great idea and did it anyway.

Super Stout bulk prime

Bulk priming the Super Stout from fermenter to pot

The gravity reading on the stout hadn’t really dropped from the reading I took three weeks ago. Back then it was 1.031 and it finally ended at 1.028. That’s not a lot of movement over three weeks. The extra temperature may have helped ferment a bit more, but not sure if it was really worth the extra wait.

Bottling 18 litres of beer by myself was never going to be fun. That’s one of the reasons I had put it off for so long. I wanted to put most of the beer in 330 ml bottles as well which was going to drag it out longer. My bottles are washed and clean before I put them in storage. All I needed to do was sanitise them and put them on the bottling tree to dry a bit. Pretty straight forward once I put the rest of the bottling tree together.

I’m use to bulk priming I didn’t want to go back to individual priming. That meant I needed to measure the take sugar and dissolve it in a little bit of water. That was simple. I had the dissolved sugar in my new(ish) 19 L pot and racked off the beer from the fermenter to the pot. That went really well.

Now I had all my beer primed and ready to bottle. And in a huge pot. How to bottle from here? I could syphon it out one bottle at a time. That would take forever and I didn’t have the time. I could transfer to one of the fermenters with a tap and use a bottling wand. Not the big one as I don’t have time to clean. Little one is good to go, but a bit small. Split it into two lots would work. What’s the easiest way to move it from the pot to the small fermenter? A siphon us a smart choice. But what did I choose? Pour it in. What was I thinking?!

Super Stout bad idea

Pouring the pot to fermenter? That’s a bad idea

There was a but of a mess when I poured the beer out if the pot. Most went into the fermenter. Lost about 500 ml to the floor and side of the fermenter. Second lot was less messy. The real problem is that by pouring the beer it got aerated. And according to John Palmer’s book How To Brew that it’s likely going to produce diacetyl flavours. Not good.

The rest of the bottling went pretty well. I did under estimate how many bottles I would need. Total count was 35 stubbies and eleven 500 ml bottles, a total of just over 17 litres.

After bottle conditioning the alcohol should be 5.2% which is below what I would like for something called a Super Stout. Would expect something close to 8%, but I knew from the original gravity that want going to be possible.

I didn’t taste the beer when bottling. I had tried it a few times with the gravity samples over the past few weeks. Quite dark and the liquorice flavour changed enough for me to notice between sample one and the last one. There was a good hint of apple aroma from the beer once primed and in the open pot. I really hope that doesn’t come through in the beer.

I’ve included what temperature settings were used. You can see that I raised the heat a fair bit in a futile attempt to ferment more sugar. I’m fearful that it might have caused a negatively effected the beer.

  • OG 1.064 (3/5/14)
  • ferment at @ 16 C = 1.031 (to 28/5/14)
  • then @20 C = 1.030 (to 1/6/14)
  • then @ 24 C = 1.029 (to 9/6/14)
  • still @ 24 C = 10.28 (to 14/6/14)

If you’ve got any feedback on the above is love to hear it. Both the temperature changes and the pouring/aeration of the beer.

-Mikey

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