Some brewing karma restored?

After the utter disaster that was the (supposed) smoked porter – still flat as a pancake but now developing the flavours it was meant to have! – the next brew was approached with trepidation to say the least. A lot of lessons had been learnt however, and changes put into place. Two weeks ago the brewday took place and having just kegged the results I finally feel able to write about it without tempting fate too much.  As a reminder the catalogue of disasters can be found here.

On the day things started out well with the ingredients all accounted for in advance, the HLT in the right place (which was in itself a revised location from original plans) and the newly rewired pump was in and tested. A good early start meant the water heated up in good time for a mash-in before breakfast. Minor failure at this point meant no bacon sandwiches but we can overlook that.

Hoses recirculating hot water all stayed where they were put, the OG pre-boil was in the right ball-park and post-boild was pretty much spot on. So far so good. A minor hiccup with the counterflow chiller meant a slightly warmer transfer than intended but it quickly cooled to an acceptable level ands the yeast was pitched. A good starter saw it off to a flying start.

After a few days it was ready for dry-hopping. Final gravity was a bit high, but OK, and the taste was good.

Another week on and clearly the transfer to secondary for dry-hopping had roused the yeast and the gravity was now exactly where it was supposed to be (minor lesson – need to rouse this yeast! Would have preferred to ferment lower before the dry hops went in). It is tasting good too, and a bit of time in the keg now before serving should complete things nicely.

So, it feels like I’ve had some brewing karma restored. The new bag of grain has performed fine which only reinforces that the previous one was a significant part of the problem. And the biggest lesson of all from the previous brewday was always learn from what went wrong – it may not have produced the beer that was intended but it has certainly helped this latest batch go absolutely swimmingly.

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