Wednesday, 20 October 2010
All That Glitters....
There have been times over the last few weeks when I've questioned if I made the right decision in buying the new brewery equipment.
I was happy enough with the old set-up. It produced beer, on occasions very nice beer. I was so familiar with it that brewdays were a pleasure. No dramas, and I could generally hit my target gravity within a point or so each and every time.
The new gear has been plagued by a problem with the mash tun. Grain has been escaping past the false bottom, clogging up the pump and heat exchanger, producing mediocre beer in the process. In all, it's been a bit of a nightmare. The clear-up took as long as the brewday. Always a chore, never a pleasure.
Hopefully, though, the tide is about to turn. I have at last identified the problem and am pretty sure I can now get around it for future brews. I've simulated two small mashes and both have produced clear wort.
To date I've produced four brews with the new kit;
1. Moondance - the inaugural brew. This turned out not too bad. It cleared down okay but was a tad bitter - my fault for messing with the recipe.
2. Pale Ale - This tasted fantastic in the fermenter but has subsequently lost some of its zing. In fact, the kegged brew is very bland and hasn't cleared well. Disappointing. I bottled about twenty pints - I've sampled one and there's definitely more flavour than the kegged version - and it's clearer, so there's some promise to be had.
3. A brew with 'Brown Malt' - not my favourite malt it has to be said. I've probably underdone it though, as early samples tasted okay :) This is currently in a secondary fermenter, hoping a bit more yeast will drop out prior to bottling at the weekend.
4. Winter Ale - Not sure what happened to this one. I ended up down on gravity and down on volume. It's a recipe I've done on my old equipment a few times before, and this one even looks a different colour. It's currently fermenting, so I'll reserve judgement for now.
Next week I'll try again. My first attempt at something with the equipment working correctly. I'm hoping this one may convince me it was money well spent...