Thursday, March 29, 2012

Fermentation Chamber Complete / Dregs #2 Bottled






Fermentation Chamber

After some thought and experimentation, the fermentation chamber is pretty much finished and functional.  All I have left to do is remount the front light cover.  The shelves that came with it ended up working out nicely for storing bottles and one gallon dregs fermenters.  The bottom of the chamber is plenty large for all of the homebrew that I might need to keep temperature controlled.  Beyond cleaning it, painting it, repositioning shelves and connecting a temperature controller, the only major process was deciding how to black out the glass doors.  Thanks to everyone at the NB Forum for their input and to friends and local brewers for their ideas as well.  Ultimately, I decided to use chalkboard paint after seeing a similar set up at Hess Brewing here in San Diego.  Having the glass tinted would probably have worked, but all of the tinting businesses I talked with said that there could be a problem with flat glass tinting on a fridge with any exposure to heat.  Apparently, the tint you use for cars is not necessarily appropriate for any other glass.  Chalkboard paint served the dual purpose of excluding all light and adding functionality to the chamber by allowing me to write on the outside.  I just had to make peace with the fact that there was no turning back after the paint was applied.  The letters and numbers on the front correspond to kegs and fermentation vessels, respectively.  You can also see some of the beer I have fermenting inside as well as dregs batches and bottles stored for aging.

Dregs #2: Oud Beersel Oude Gueze Vieille

While finishing the fermentation chamber I went ahead and bottled Dregs Beer #2.  This one gallon beer was made with the Farmer's Daughter Flanders Red base that I made last November with Lewy from Lewy Brewing.  Oud Beersel Oude Gueze Vieille was pitched to initiate fermentation.  I was wary of bottling this beer because the final gravity halted at 1.008 and I didn't want bottle bombs.  After 2 months of checking gravity and being happy with the taste, I went ahead and bottled it.  You can see it sitting next to the Dregs #1 batch in the image to the left.

6 comments:

  1. That looks great, I really like the way you organized it.

    I am a little surprised at how quickly you are bottling your dreg beers. I guess with a lower gravity beer you should be fine if you noticed the same gravity over 2 months, but I would be careful. One gravity point drop is about 1 Volume of CO2.

    For bottle conditioning, are you adding additional yeast?

    And how many volumes of carbonation are you shooting for?

    I guess you could always let it condition for a few weeks and then refrigerate to ensure the bottles don't overcarb.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've been shooting for mid to low carbonation for a Belgian style beer (2-3 volumes) when bottling. Since I'm new to this, there's been some trial and error (perhaps more of the latter than the former). When I bottled Dregs #1 it was almost completely dry (.26P) in a very short time. It tasted right and appeared completely inactive. I added a small amount of table sugar to each bottle and re-yeasted with champagne yeast (coincidentally, I tasted one for the first time last night and it was just lightly carbonated and delicious). Dregs 2 had the same base beer but Oude Gueze Vieille yeast instead of the Biere de Mars. When I bottled it last week it had been stuck at 2P for two solid months. I tasted it and decided to go for it. I added champagne yeast but no sugar-figuring that the remaining gravity was ample to carbonate it. I may very well have been too hasty. I'll likely take your advice and open a bottle in about 3 weeks to check the carbonation level and decide if it's time to refrigerate.

    ReplyDelete
  3. So you gave me a bottle bomb? Thanks man, I knew you were looking at my brewing equipment with an evil eye. That's a low blow.... ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not a bottle bomb until it blows up...

      Delete
  4. The fermentation chamber looks awesome! I think the chalkboard doors are a great idea.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! The chalkboards turned out to be pretty essential when trying to maintain organization of all of the different things fermenting, conditioning, serving, etc. It really does keep the light out, too.

      Delete

Have something to say?