First off: I’ve finally caught up on posting about prior brews, so every post from now on will be written when the brews are occurring. Apologies for any changes of tense, or confusing formatting. Older brews tend to have the full idea-brew-ferment-bottle-taste story on one post, and current brews may be explained over several posts.
Next: All the beers I have going right now are taking forever and hogging up all my equipment.
I can’t believe this beer is still fermenting. It’s on week five and there is still a gentle release of bubbles at the surface. I finally got some PH strips, so I’m looking forward to seeing where this beer acidified to. I’m hoping it’ll finish bubbling this weekend, at which point I’ll give it a few days to clean up and then will bottle.
I was trying to figure out what to name it. Given everything going on politically, and the beer’s German origin, I was considering something like a German translated version of “Help me, Angela Merkel, you’re our only hope.” But less long and more subtle. I was rather amused by alt-right poster boy Richard Spencer getting punched in the face, so I decided to name this beer “Schlag-Faschisten,” punch fascists. I’d really enjoyed making labels so far and was getting into digital art, so for Christmas I asked my parents for a digital drawing pad and asked my brother for some digital painting software. I found a photo of Spencer getting socked, cleaned it up and painted it down, and came up with the label.
This beer is hanging out, doing what it’s supposed to. Around week three of being introduced to the Brettanomyces, the beer is forming a pellicle. While brett doesn’t need a pellicle to be working and, in fact, too thick a pellicle can indicate oxygen is getting to your beer, a thin one is pretty normal. I take it as a good reassurance that the brett cultured from a bottle is alive and kicking.
This beer wasn’t chugging through the airlock like I’d expect it to, so I gave in to curiosity and opened the lid to see if perhaps my plan of chucking in some harvested yeast had failed. When I opened it, the bucket had a thick, full, gurgling krausen. I realized this meant I had a leak. I put the lid back on and inspected it, and sure enough, there was a corner that made a slight click-click as I pressed it and didn’t seem to be sealed all the way. This was super annoying since I’d wanted a bucket for a long time, finally got one, and was now learning that it leaks. At least it’s an issue on the lid seal, easily fixable by weighing down the lid. I put a few bottles on top, and the fermentor resumed bubbling out of the airlock. Hopefully I didn’t pick up any contaminants or oxygenation from this annoyance. The beer is still putting out a bubble now and then, which is to be expected given its huge OG. I anticipate another week at least before this one can cold crash and get bottled.
As expected, this beer did well for a while then seems to have stopped a bit early. When the temperature drops, it starts to clear up on the top, and when the temperature rises, it gets cloudy again. This goes along with my theories about the flocculation rate of Windsor yeast. I’ll give it a rock every few days, and may move it to a warmer part of my home to try to get it to finish, before bottling. I probably won’t cold crash so that enough yeast is suspended to carb the beer, and will make up for it with cold conditioning in the fridge once the beer is done.