Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Not Quite As Planned - Again!

Yesterday was brew day. The plan was to brew the imperial stout I am calling Machair Mor, whilst being open to the possibility of another wort not being what it should according to both Beertools and the Beer Recipator, and even my own slight confusion after taking a sample of the boil's specific gravity.

The recipe ended up as follows:
  • 1.75kg Muntons Light DME
  • 900g dark brown sugar
  • 250g American chocolate malt
  • 100g roasted barley
  • 100g flaked oats
  • 30g Galena @ 60
  • 10g Fuggles @ 45
  • 10g EKG @ 15
  • 5g EKG @ 5
The brown sugar was thrown in to the original recipe as a backup to the lack of OG in previous beers, a fact which has been bothering me somewhat. The extra addition of Fuggles was just to use up the remnants of a packet I had after making the Gael 60/- ale.

When I took a sample of the boil, the gravity was 1.150, I had to use my longer hydrometer as the one I usually use just didn't have the scale to deal with such a big wort. When I added the wort to the rest of the water, the OG came down to 1.050 - it has however been suggested to me that the density of the wort caused the boil to sink to the bottom of the carboy and was insufficiently mixed up before taking the OG reading. Something to bear in mind for my next beer.

Since I have started using pre-purified drinking water from the shop, I am getting the wort down to pitching temperature in about 15 minutes, which is brilliant - I chill the bottles of water not being used in the boil, pour 1 gallon into my carboy, put the carboy in an ice bath, pour in the wort - through a re-useable coffee filter for removing the hops sludge and other sundried gunk, top up to about 8 litres and then pitch my yeast. It is easy, cheap and it works! The last couple of beers I have made started fermenting within 3 hours, using the Wyeast Activator - this time I am using the Irish Ale Yeast, and currently have the biggest krausen I have had so far, as you can see below.

Whether it is just plain Machair, or the Machair Mor, I have another nicely fermenting batch of beer to sit in the storage room for a couple of weeks before bottling, and that is the important thing as far as I am concerned.


  1. i have made the mistake of carelessly taking hydrometer readings while the wort was hotter than the 68°F it is calibrated for. this has caused me to dump DME into the pre-boiled wort in a blind panic to compensate for the resulting low reading. if the wort is above 68°F when you take the reading, it will read low and a conversion chart is needed. may not be the cause of your problem, just thought i'd bring it up in the off chance...


  2. do things ever go according to plan on brew day? :)

    Here's a program that works well for me in regards to getting my OG right. It's really customizable too.

  3. Hooray for mystery stout. I've one fermenting at the moment too.

  4. The Galena is my nod to Wrasslers - here's hoping for something fun.


The Genius of Marketing

There was a fairly simple plan, recreate the glassware experiment that I did a decade ago, but this time with Guinness rather than Victory ...