The brewery refrigerator is full as I've moved the bottles of #155 in for their final conditioning. The full moon was at perigee, but clouds obscured its rise Thursday night. It glowed brightly Friday morning, though. Saturday brings fresh fall weather: sunny, brisk, colorful. The bottles of Rye P.A. had been in the fermenting room (the hallway closet) since October 14th, my last posting. The temperature stayed between 66 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit (19-20 C). I thought the extra few days might help. The last batch was a bit under-carbonated. I suspect that the Safale-04 settles out so quickly that not enough is left behind to prime the beer. Especially when the beer is racked off the trub and given an extra week in a secondary fermenter. That step might not be needed with this yeast. We'll see in a few weeks--this beer should be perfect for my birthday!
That's Charlie Papazian's motto, and ours as well when we bottle a batch. Bottling is a bit of a pain, but worth it, I think. Kegs are handier and easier over the long haul, but a bottle of your own beer is something special. We bottled up the RYE-P.A. this afternoon, and I think it will be a unique and tasty brew. The final gravity was a tad under 5 degrees Plato (1.018) and the beer will have around a 7% abv. That is a BIG beer for my tastes, and a big beer for FSB. Only had a final yield of 3-1/2 gallons, so a case (12) of 22-oz. bottles and a sixpack of 12-oz. bottles took care of most of it. I used one of my very cool swing-top 2-Liter jugs, one 0.5-L Grolsch bottle, and one clear 12-oz. "Newky Brown" for the rest of it. I like to have a clear bottle to watch the conditioning process. The 2-L jugs are very nice for a dinner party, they have an elegant look. We tasted the dregs as we cleaned up. The pale, light brown ale has an interesting crispness--can't wait to crack the first one!
I siphoned the Rye P.A. into a secondary vessel (another PET carboy). I like to get the beer off the yeast sludge (trub) after a week or so. It seems to give me better luck when I use dry yeast. I normally don't like to mess with the beer until bottling, but I have a smooth, easy system. I figured out to put an in-line valve on the tubing end of my racking assembly, and then add a 4-inch piece of tubing to that. I suck the beer to my mouth (on the small tubing piece), turn off the in-line valve, and remove the piece. Now the part of the racking assembly that touched my mouth is out of the picture: I move the valve to the caboy opening, turn it on, and feed the tubing into the empty carboy. I've got the length right so the stainless steel racking cane sits in the fermenter full of beer, the tubing (and valve) rests on the bottom of the new, empty carboy. The beer siphons quickly, with a minimum of splashing. The kitchen table is just the right height for the fermenter while the secondary sits on the floor. The beer is a light amber color, with a clean, fresh aroma. Looking forward to getting it in the bottle this weekend.
We tapped the keg of SIR Brown today. It was a little under-carbonated, I topped it with 20 PSI after drawing a couple of pints. We'll see how it looks after a few more days in the fridge. The brew is dark, with a color closer to amber than brown, and is a smooth, refreshing autumnal ale. Next on the task list: rack the Rye-PA so I can bottle it next weekend.