Thursday, January 16, 2014

Lessons learned

The book betrayed me. Knowledge is power, it seems... like shaking up a pop can.

As has been confirmed both by my internet beer friend and the lady at The Cork and Cap here in Jackson, the first couple of days in the fermenter require a different kind of airlock. You run a rubber tube into a glass of water and let the gases bubble out into that. Apparently, that handles the pressure better than the "bubbler" airlock I had on there.

The book describes these two pieces in unmistakably interchangeable terms, which I double-checked last night to make sure. I thought I would be cool with the bubbler, and then I got bubbled.

In addition, it turns out that the beer probably wasn't spoiled after all. The positive pressure from the gases coming off the yeast, in addition to the hostile environment for invading bacteria, probably prevented any contamination of the beer itself, and I could have saved it.

More guilt! Shame! Why did I pour that beer down the drain?

All right, so I'm reading up some more, and I'm trying to decide what I'm going to do next. I can't start another batch this weekend, because I've got a lot going on. In the meantime, I think, I'm going to come up with a beer to try next. Maybe I'll stick with the brown ale, maybe not. I dunno yet. If you have any suggestions, feel free to comment. Thanks!


  1. It's cold out, so I'd lean towards a darker ale. But, then again, I always lean towards a darker ale, so I'm not much help anyway.

    Sorry this first batch has been so difficult. It does get easier, I promise!

    1. Good to hear from you, Luc! I'm sure the next batch will be better.

      My wife was curious as to whether you've tried/heard of anyone trying to bottle beer in mason jars. As long as there's enough head space, I don't see any issue with it... but I've obviously been wrong before. Your thoughts?

  2. Sorry for the delayed response. Started a new job, so things are a bit nuts.

    Mason jars are great for canning, and can be used for growlers, but I'd strongly recommend against using them for bottling. The problem is the shape and the lid. I would expect that you'd see the flat bottom blow out, or the top bowed out and leak as the pressures build. A small bottlecap is one thing, but a jar lid can't handle that many PSI.

    Swing top bottles are my fave. I got some from Rogue that are stoneware. Fantastic for bottling.