Monday, March 15, 2010

Brew Moon: March 2010

Happy Brew Moon! Today is a new moon and the debut of the monthly "Brew Moon" post. One post a month dedicated to home brewing. I rarely drink alcoholic beverages but I do enjoy making beer, wine and mead; plus my friends are more than happy to help me dispose of the product.

What's in the carboy? Well, right now I have a stout that needs to be bottled and a Riesling ice wine that needs to be racked. There's 3 gallons of mead at my friends' house that I need to check on. I've got grain for another stout, I want to do a recipe comparison, and some soda extract for DBF.

Rule #1 of brewing is sanitation. Cross contamination is bad in cooking and it's equally bad in brewing. Rogue microbes can lead to skunking and unwanted growth. I remember the first time that my former brewing partner tried making beer, he got one of those beer kits from know the ones with the plastic carboy and the screw on cap? They don't make a very good seal and something got into the wort that created white tendrils. It was gross, I teased him about having a yeast infection.

However, primary fermentation is often done in a plastic bucket and the home brewer needs to be aware that plastic is a porous material. If you have scratches inside the bucket then you might want to consider replacing it, the same goes for hose; I replace my hose every year. Soda extract can be very potent and can permeate a plastic bucket so it might be a good idea to have a dedicated bucket if you want to make soda. How do I know this? The #1 comment about my latest batch of beer is that it "smells and faintly tastes of root beer." The batch was a crap shoot anyway, I bought the wrong ingredients, so it might still taste like root beer if I tried to replicate the batch. Either way, I can smell the root beer extract even when the cap is on the bottle so I'm going to have a dedicated soda bucket.

"Relax. Don't worry. Have a home-brew." -Charlie Papazian

- KP

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