I brewed a stout a few weeks ago and planned basically on cleaning up some random specialty malt I had lying around and…I just wanted a
stout! I am a big coffee drinker and I love the coffee like roastyness of a stout. I had a slurry of White Labs – Burton ale yeast from a previous batch of pale ale sitting in my fridge. It was sitting for a few weeks no more than 2-3 and I have never had trouble with getting a slurry back to life to start a new batch. The problem being, ( and those of you who have kids, a job, a house….blah,blah) ….well stuff got in the way of making a starter for the spent yeast. BIG MISTAKE.
So I made the stout, put it into the fermenter and swirled and pitched the yeast slurry. I waited 48 hrs and saw no activity. In my haste, I had an old packet of Nottingham yeast, (past its date by 9 months) and re-hydrated it and poured it into the fermenter. If you could see the old fridge I’m now using for ale fermentations, you’d pitch something soon too if you didn’t see activity! After all its just holding a couple of glass carboys. The problem is I had it sitting in out in building without running it for MANY months. It still works great but its got a mold problem on the inside…to say the least. I certainly did not want to chance it.
- Burton ale yeast and the primary
Long story short (too late), I checked the gravity the other day and its only a 1.024-1.026 !!! This was after it was at 68 +/- for 9 days. It should have been a hell of a lot lower in gravity than that! WTF. 1). I either mashed WAY too high 2). or the yeast that I pitched wasn’t up to par. I tend to believe the latter. Let that be a lesson: Don’t be lazy and pitch a slurry that has not been fed with fresh wort in a while. Some yeast can take more abuse and are more resilient than others. Others need nursing and hugs and kisses! And I’ll be completely honest with you I’m not entirely crazy about the Burton Ale yeast strain anyway. It reads “provides delicious subtle fruity flavors like apple, clover honey and pear. Excellent in porters and stouts.” It threw a high amount of diacetyl, which is somewhat expected in a British strain, but that I used it in a pale beer which had essentially 2 malts and 1 hop in the recipe, the diacetyl showed up big time. That is probably why it says ” Excellent in porters and stouts“. A little diacetyl is perfectly acceptable and melds well in a stout in my opinion. None of the apple, pear of clover honey showed up in this one at all however. This strengthens my point that if you really want to know how a new ingredient will taste, try a SMaSH (single malt single hop) recipe of your choice. That’s what I tried with this one. Not terribly impressive for pales or maybe I just missed something.
So I have a beer that is under-attenuated and I was getting a fusel type flavor going on as well. I can only assume that this was a result of using old Nottingham yeast, as it was past the freshness date. The temp did not get above 68, so that’s not the problem and I can only assume the yeast was the culprit.
- Bugs like dextrine
I bought a bottle of Oro de Calabaza from Jolly Pumpkin. I liked the beer but the heavy oak profile in some way reminded me of Tennessee whiskey. Still not a bad beer as far as Artisan Beers go. It had a pleasant tartness to it and you can get a hint of Brett in the nose as well. (see here: http://www.jollypumpkin.com/artisanales/orodecalabaza.htm) Jolly Pumpkin also makes a “Belgian Inspired” stout. So I think a little sourness to this stout will be great. I saved the dregs, flamed the lip of the bottle, and cap the bottle with some foil. I understand this is really (obviously) not a long storage solution using tin foil, but I plan on pitching the dregs this weekend. Should be interesting to see what happens to the stout especially with all that maltose still left in the beer. I speculate that the sour with wont be too strong but the other “wild” yeast should take hold and add addition flavor. I think the sourness and roastyness of the stout will meld quite well. The only downside I see is it will have to age a while before it will actually have its peak flavor. But, the bugs have plenty to eat at least which will mean more flavor. Indeed!