Day 157

In the Teaching Brewery today for the first time in three weeks. Four of us using two of the 50L pilot systems brewed up a double batch of “Nude Brewing Brunette”, a sweet brown ale made with Maris Otter, Carafoam 60, Brown and Midnight Wheat malts, with a very modest addition of Pilgrim hops.

Boiling wort

Nude Brewing Brunette on the boil

Things went okay–we had to deal with a shortage of hot water in the brewery, as well as some of the other unexpected problems that crop up during a brew day–but the biggest problem was that the original gravity of both batches was a lot higher than expected–1.056 rather than the expected 1.032. However, since this happened to both brews, the problem probably has to do with the recipe rather than us making the same mistake with both batches. Probably.

[Digression for non-brewers: specific gravity measures the density of the water. The more sugar dissolved into the water, the higher the density of the water. Yeast converts sugar into alcohol, so the higher the starting specific gravity, the more sugar there is for the yeast to eat, and therefore the stronger the final beer. Brewers measure the specific gravity of their beer at the start of fermentation (the “original” gravity) and at the end of fermentation (the lower “final” gravity.) The difference between these two numbers represents how much sugar the yeast ate–the brewer can then calculate how much alcohol is in the beer.]

Since we weren’t planning to brew a high-octane barleywine, we creatively solved the problem by diluting the wort with a few litres of water in order to bring the original gravity down to its intended level.

And then we went for a beer.

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One Comment on “Day 157”

  1. Canageek Says:

    There is a chemistry trick for heating water very quickly. Now, it isn’t one I’ve used, but one that I was told about at one of my jobs:

    Take equal moles of a strong acid and a strong base, mix. They will make a salt and a lot of heat. So HCl + NaOH = H2O + NaCl + H2O. Not sure if you could find a similar trick that would work for you, but something to keep in mind, say if there is a salt you are going to have to add anyway.

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