Pints for Prostates

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bottling the Acoustic Cream Ale

Yesterday (2012-03-18) I bottled the Acoustic Cream Ale (B5). It was unseasonably sunny and warm here in Central New York State. It was easy to get moving on the days' brewing project. I carried the fermenter from the closet and brought equipment up from the basement. I started boiling my priming solution, poured another cup of coffee, and put on some tunes!

I was eager to see the beer and taste it. During the first week of vigorous fermentation the air lock got clogged with krausen. I emptied the airlock three times. Each time, I was careful to clean and sanitize everything. However, creating even a minute chance of contamination is enough to cause some anxiety. As you can see in the image below, the top of the beer was not entirely cleared up. Most of it did clear after the lid was open for awhile. I took a sample and checked the gravity. The target final gravity, according the recipe, is 1.009, and mine was 1.010. 

Final Gravity: 1.010
A 2 liter yeast starter can make a mess!
The beer sample tasted good. It definitely did taste like a Genesee Cream Ale, with a hint of noble hop character (from the Liberty hops). The beer was still a bit cloudy.
Preparing my equipment
Much of the bottling activities occurred without incident. I did want to cool my priming solution a bit more before dumping it in the bottom of the bottling bucket, but I'm sure all that beer cooled it down. I had an extra gallon of beer, so it took a little longer to siphon out. After filling the two cases, I also filled 2 bombers, 2 12 ounce bottles, and my 32 oz growler! I figured I would drink some un-carbonated; the sample tasted alright. You can see a glass of it in the image below. I managed to get a couple glasses down before wincing and calling it quits. With the sugar-water priming solution, it tasted a little sweet. You can also see how cloudy to is. 
Cloudy, sweet, un-carbonated Cream Ale
The cloudy beer caused me to do a little research. Was the beer going to clear up during bottle conditioning?  I think the answer is yes, it will clear. The yeast will go back to work on the sugar I added, add CO2, then flocculate. And if that is not enough, a week or so in the fridge will clear the beer and firm up the yeast cake on the bottom of the bottle. Had the gravity not been so low, I would have let the beer sit in a secondary for another week. But I think it's fine. The yeast just needs more time to clear up the beer. As far as I can tell, this beer is doing fine.

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