Monday, March 29, 2010

Brew: Trouble Shooting the Coffee Porter

Well, it appears as though my beginners luck has run out. There is not much that I have experienced that is as frustrating as waiting two and a half months for something to be ready, only to find that it is unusable. I had an inkling something was fishy about this beer from day one.

When I fermented my first brewing attempt loads of yeasty gunk bubbled out of the bucket that I used to house the beer. For the Coffee Porter I used a glass carboy as the vessel for the beer. The fermentation process for the Coffee Porter lurched along, producing none of the overflow that had occurred during the last beer. I assumed that this was the result of the change in container, as it was the only thing I had changed in the brewing process. The same slow ferment happened when I pitched the yeast into the India Red Ale. Having done a little more reading on the process of making beer by the time I was making the IRA, I now know that a rapid bubbling fermentation is very important in producing a quality beer. Desiring a more rapid fermentation I biked over to Fermentations on Danforth to pick up more yeast, and see if a healthy dose of yeast would force the beer to ferment more vigorously. When I pitched a couple more packs of yeast it was obvious that the original yeast was the problem, as the beer produced a big overflow that made a mess of the broom closet I keep them in. The people from Brampton Home-Brew Supplies had sold me expired yeast. The beer pictured here on the left is how a beer should look during fermentation, the one on the right is the Coffee Porter, and how a beer shouldn't look.

Though I was able to save the IRA, I fear that there may be no hope for the Coffee Porter. When I opened the bottles they didn't produce the deafening pop that my brown-ales had, they simply made a little pffft. We still went ahead and drank some of them, we could all still taste unfermented sugar, and the beer gave us a horrific case of the toots. In an attempt to save the beer, and the sixty dollars it cost me to make, I emptied all the beer back into a carboy and pitched new yeast to see if the remaining sugars would ferment. I am concerned that this may be to little to late and I am now stuck waiting another month and a half before I have any new home-brew to drink.

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