Ingredients

  • Black Rock Pale Ale
  • 1kg No. 15 Brew Booster
    (500g Dextrose, 250g Maltodextrin, 250g Malt Extract)
  • Kit yeast
  • Tap water
    (2l filtered and boiled, ~20l straight from the tap)

Method

  • Ferment in bin for first week
  • Racked to second bin for second week, added finings (5g, Mangrove Jack's)
  • Bottled (19th May)
  • Leave for 3 weeks
  • Put a couple in the fridge
  • Drink when well chilled

First Fermentation

Specific Gravity: 1040 - 1010 (alcohol content ~4%)

Okay, so it's only brew # 2, but this beer has smelt delicious from the start. Can't wait until this is drinkable.

Racking

This time I transferred the brew into a second bin for the second week - this is called "Racking". I used a (well sanitised) length of 16mm clear vinyl hose from Bunnings ($5), which fitted perfectly to the bin tap. I lost about 2 litres in the process, which is sad, but I'm hoping the result will be more drinkable beer for the rest.

There is some debate about whether this actually helps, and I've nothing to compare it to. But it makes sense to get the beer off the stuff at the bottom sooner rather than later. I think I'll run a side-by-side test at some point to see if it makes any difference. I doubt I'd get consistent enough results right now!

Also, I added gelatin (porcine) finings when I transferred between bins to help with clarity - another first. Brew # 1 was actually pretty clear - the second fermentation in the bottle generated most of the sediment for that - so I'm not sure this is necessary, either.

Bottling

Transferred to the bottles after one week (19th May). Added two of the kit sugar tabs to each bottle, as recommended. But this time I tried to give each bottle a bit of a swirl to ensure they didn't stick to the bottom and give me the same syrupy result as brew # 1.

Second Fermentation

The temperature is dropping where I am (NSW, Australia), and I was curious to know what the temperature was in the brewery (the laundry). I found an inside/outside thermometer from Jaycar (~$20) that allows me to measure the temperature in two different places at once, and includes a max/min memory so I can check the temperature isn't dropping too low overnight.

Jumbo In/Out Thermometer from Jaycar (~$20)

Ambient temperature in the brewery is around 18C, so pretty good for bin fermenting, but too low for second ferment in the bottle, apparently. That needs to be closer to 20C.

So, for this brew, I've knocked up a makeshift incubator with an old shoe rack, a dog's sleeping bag (who has these?!), and a low-power heating bar I found by complete chance under the stairs. So far it's maintaining the temperature around 20.5C, but I may need to buy a thermostatic switch if it gets too warm in there.

Keeping my babies warm

I've thrown a couple of brew # 1 lagers in there, too, to see if it makes any difference.

Update: I transferred the babies to a new incubator with temperature controller after one week for a final week of finishing.

Results

TBA (First tasting ~6th June)