Taking the plunge

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StoutSteve
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Taking the plunge

Post by StoutSteve » Tue Jan 07, 2020 10:14 pm

During the winter I like drinking dark beer (in the summer it's golden, but let's return to that later). Think Harvey's Old (or Bonfire Boy if you can get it on draught), Adnams Old (or Broadside), Long Man's Old Man or Shepherd Neame Bishop's Finger. From which you might deduce I'm a southerner and not averse to rubys either.

I've read the Ditch's Stout thread, which looks like a good place to start. Though if forced to choose I'd probably lean more towards porter than stout. I know the accepted wisdom is to do a kit first but a tweaked one appealed to me. So:

One can of Coopers Dark. One 750g jar of blackstrap molasses. 250g of dark muscavado sugar. Boiling water to rinse out the can and jar. Gently boil it for a few minutes in a large stock pot (this might not be essential but I couldn't see that a quick boil would do any harm). Into the brewing bin it goes.

500g of mixed dried fruit, 250g of crushed chocolate malt and more boiling water (the can and jar take a lot of rinsing out) into the stock pot. Boiled a bit harder and longer.
I fancy something with chocolate hints. I've seen a thread on here about using nibs sterilised in vodka in the secondary. But that seems like too much faff. So I added 100g (a pure guess) of cacao powder to the boil.

25g of Fuggles hops (working on 1g of hops per litre) in a bag steeped in hot water. Then the liquid is added to the boil.

Decision time. Do I strain the second boil or just chuck everything into the brewing bin. Rightly or wrongly (thoughts?) I opted for the latter.

Just waiting for everything too cool down so I can measure the SG and pitch the yeast along with some nutrient.

I know that's a lot of variables to start. But I got the feeling just using a kit won't be enough. Notes are being kept (I'm a former scientist, so I'm aware of the fact that after the first batch I'll only want to alter one or two things at a time).
So the next batch will probably follow the same recipe but use a Brupaks' Scammonden Dark as the base.

The plan at the moment is to bottle it (with carbonation drops) rather than put it into a keg. Unless there are good reasons to the contrary.

Wish me luck

guypettigrew
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Re: Taking the plunge

Post by guypettigrew » Tue Jan 07, 2020 10:40 pm

Blimey, SS, nothing like jumping in at the deep end!

Welcome to the forum.

No advice possible, you're on your way to creating a beer no one else has ever tasted!

Why the carbonation drops, and why bottle? If you keg it at about 1/4 of the starting gravity the continuing fermentation will gas it up well enough. Plus, if it's horrible, it's easier to empty a keg than 40 bottles!

Let us know how it goes.

Guy

StoutSteve
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Re: Taking the plunge

Post by StoutSteve » Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:11 pm

Guy

A good question.

When I started researching this I was leaning towards kegging it. But the shop I bought some of the supplies from advised against it and I couldn't quite work out why.

The cost of a basic keg and a lot of bottles is broadly the same.

Possibly a function of how quickly you drink it?

guypettigrew
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Re: Taking the plunge

Post by guypettigrew » Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:13 am

Cleaning and sanitising a single keg with a 4" cap is loads easier than doing the same to 40 bottles! You do need to sort out a S30 valve and gas cylinder, but once that's done it's a doddle.

Guy

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Jim
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Re: Taking the plunge

Post by Jim » Wed Jan 08, 2020 9:25 pm

Welcome StoutSteve! :)

Looking forward to seeing your tasting notes for that brew!
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StoutSteve
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Re: Taking the plunge

Post by StoutSteve » Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:56 pm

So the first batch has been in the keg for a few days along with 5g of sugar a litre for priming.

The cap allows you to inject CO2 and also includes a pressure relief valve.

One last question if I may, as my late dad used to bottle his so I'm in uncharted territory.

I'm assuming that the CO2 produced by the secondary will keep everything good to start with.

But once I give in to temptation and start drinking it...

Air is going to get into the keg. So do I need to add more CO2 to protect the remaining beer. Since CO2 is heavier than air it should sit on the surface of the beer to keep the worst of the air at bay.

If so how much and when? The gas is in 8g capsules. Add one when the keg is, say, half empty? Or....

Thanks to all for your advice. Tasting notes will be along in a week or two.

Steve

guypettigrew
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Re: Taking the plunge

Post by guypettigrew » Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:10 pm

So, you went for the keg option--very wise!

The keg should be gas tight, which is why it has the pressure relief valve. This lets the excess pressure out which is created as the beer continues to ferment in the keg.

The gas pressure in the keg will force the beer out. Quickly at first, more slowly as you drink the beer. You'll know when to add gas from the bulb because the beer will start to trickle out. If you don't push some gas in at this point you're in danger of air bubbling back through the tap. Not a good idea!

Enjoy!

Guy

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Re: Taking the plunge

Post by IPA » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:02 pm

5 gr a litre is twice as much as is needed. Beware when pouring.
When the beer coming out of the tap slows down to a dribble and before air is sucked back in that is the time to add gas.
But with 5 gr priming you will have gas leaking out of the cap and or beer leaking out of the tap.
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