Friday, February 24, 2012

Here's To Hoping It's Gone

Over the 3 day weekend I took the time to thoroughly clean and sanitize some of my equipment. As I was able to deduce that the infection spread through 1 yeast into 2 fermenters, I knew what I needed to care for. I started by giving all 3 fermenters a 17 hour soak in hot PBW over night. I gave it the recommended ½ cup dosage for the 15-25 minutes, and left it for 17 hours. I came to find out that I actually didn’t need to use that much if I was doing an elongated soaking, but at least this way I know they are clean. After this I filled a bucket with the PBW solution from one of the Better Bottles, removed the brass ball valve from my conical (it smelled like mushrooms – not cool), and placed the conical into the bucket so that the threads could get a good soak. At this point I filled the Better Bottles with cold water and 3 cap fulls of bleach. After a few hours I removed the bleach water and refilled the Better Bottles with PBW solution to help clean out any bleach. I then rinsed each one 5 times with hot water, and had my wife smell test them for any bleach. I also added the bleach to the bucket that previously contained the PBW and soaked the bottom and threads of the conical overnight. The next morning I put my bottling bucket spigot on the conical (same size threading) and filled it up with the bleach water as well (topped off with more cold water and extra bleach), and that has been soaking for 5 days. Tonight I will give it a thorough rinse with PBW and hot water and then let it dry out.

Next week I have an extra day off after taking the youth group to the coast for a weekend retreat, and I am going to brew up a batch of beer to test the Better Bottle and Conical. After talking to Michael Tonsmeire (Mad Fermentationist), I decided to do an American Blonde Ale since this style will show any signs of infection, and will probably still taste good if it does get infected. I worked up a recipe for it and will finally get to use the Amarillo hops I have in the freezer. Typically an American Blonde only has about 0.5oz flavor and 0.5oz aroma hops, but I am brewing an 8 gallon batch as opposed to 5, and I am going to (if it stays clean) enter it in a Club Only Competition in May and still want the hops to be around for it, so I am going to use 1oz each for flavor and aroma. I am putting this against a malt back drop of Pale Malt, Carafoam, and Honey Malt so it will have a nice honey sweet flavor, body, and retain a light, smooth, dry finish. I am choosing to use the WY 1469 West Yorkshire strain that I used to brew my ESB since I really liked the stone fruit aroma, and think it would compliment this beer well. Only issue with this yeast is that it doesn’t flocc out well, so it will get a little longer in the fridge before I transfer and bottle. For bottling, I am going to use a brand new bottling rig for the Better Bottle version, and will bottle straight from the conical for the other to keep them as separate as possible and to isolate any possible place that an infection may still be harbored. I am going to purposefully divert a few gallons of this brew to my gallon jugs where I will intentionally sour, wild, and oak it just because I can, and I don’t want to actually bottle another 8 gallons of the same beer like I did on the ESBs, and of course, I like souring stuff (intentionally). I will of course keep the blog up to date as that brew progresses.

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