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Matt

A New One For Me...

I put this one on last night:

 

2014-06-27202721_zps3d662494.jpg

 

It's a new one on me, and at just £12, it's not expensive either.

 

I've done a few of these Brewmaker kits now, and they've all turned out OK.

 

The only difference this time is that I've used granulated sugar rather than Brewers Dextrose.

 

Don't get me wrong; I love the dextrose, it's easy to use and dissolves the instant it hits warm water, but at over £2 per kilo, and granulated available for just 69p from Lidl, I just can't afford it at the moment.

 

I had a quick couple of pints of mild out of the Rotokeg after I'd finished. It's still not holding gas as it should be, so I suspect I'm going to have to do some serious headscratching at some point.

 

The bottle situation looks good at present; I've got enough bottles cleaned and ready for another 3 brews, but I really do need to sort out the barrel problem. There seems to be no point in keeping an expensive keg and not using it.

 

One last thing; the mild I've got on the go at the moment is a Youngs Harvest Mild (link) which although very nice, with it's distinctive 'nutty' flavour, seems to be having a disastrous effect on my bowels the following morning! I'll go no further on that one! Except to say that anyone who has ever had a good session on Wadworth 6X will know exactly what I mean!!

 

Anyway, currently residing in the budget barrel is a Youngs Harvest Bitter (link), which is nearly ready to drink, so I'm looking forward to that one!

 

More soon.

Matt

As I posted the other night, I'm having a devil of a problem with gas at the moment....

 

Before any wit suggests it, my rear is producing it's normal quantity of methane; the problem is carbon dioxide in my beer....

 

The bottled brew (of unknown origin) is so lively it's undrinkable, so in an attempt to rescue what should be a decent brew, I've had to bring the bottles indoors and try and gently release the excess gas.

 

This is a slow and frustrating process.

 

You have to carefully release the crown cap enough to let the gas escape and then re-cap each bottle.

 

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Meanwhile, the gas problems continue with the Rotokeg.

 

Now for a bit of history.....

 

Years ago, I did homebrew. I didn't use bottles, I just barrelled all my beer and had lovely, drought beer whenever I wanted it.

 

In those days, I used two or three 'Kingkeg' (Link) which was fantastic and totally reliable.

 

When I started brewing again about 9 months ago, I bought a start-up kit from the lovely Jeff at North Devon Homebrew, which included a 'Budget Barrel' (Link), which in itself was fine.

 

First problem was that I wanted to 'gas' my barrels with the small 10g CO2 capsules. Jeff advised me against it, but being the stubborn bugger I am, I went ahead with the small capsules.

 

After the first brew, I started having problems holding the gas. Being an idiot, I overtightened the valve and knackered the seal on it.

 

Off back to Jeff, who kindly replaced it for me with no question of me paying for it, so I tried again.

 

Another failure, and I realised that what I'd actually done was to bend the lid of the barrel which made it impossible to seal up even with a new seal.

 

Only one thing for it; a new lid was needed, and while I was about it I got a decent S30 gas bottle.

 

Now this brings me to the latest problems.....

 

The budget barrel seems to be holding it's gas well at present; I've got a brew in there that's clearing nicely, and it seems well gassed. From memory (and you know how bad that is!) currently residing in that barrel is a Youngs Harvest Bitter. Another week or two and I'll be into that, so I'll report back accordingly.

 

Anyway, I managed to get hold of a 'Rotokeg' (which has an outstanding reputation) and actually costs more new than a Kingkeg. Mine is second hand, and seemed in good order, so I cleaned it out, sterilised it, and installed a Youngs Harvest Mild into it some five weeks ago.

 

Obviously, it's now more than fit to drink, and the first pint out was very nice, although much more 'nutty' than the Geordie Mild I'd previously tried.

 

As I say, first pint was fine.

 

Second pint, and yes, you've guessed it; as flat as the proverbial you know what.....

 

So today, I've been to North Devon Homebrew and got a replacement seal (50p).

 

Seal (sort of) fitted, and the problems continue.....

 

Now I need to take the damn thing apart again, and try and work out what is going wrong; but I've got a horrible feeling it's the same problem as before, which is a heavy handed molecatcher with a habit of over tightening things....

 

Anyway, one (of probably many) morals of this seemingly endless tale of woe, is to remind everyone that Vaseline is the brewers best friend when it comes to seals.

 

More soon.

Matt

Gas, Gas, Gas.....

Here we go then......

 

The blog of a slightly eccentric molecatcher who enjoys making his own grog......

 

Now, I've thought long and hard about where to start off, and at the request of Hampshire Wasp, I was going to post a whole heap of information about barrels, but fate stepped forward this evening, and I thought we'd just mention gas for a minute.....

 

Now gas, the production and retention of, has caused me some trouble of late.

 

Just take a look at this:

 

2014-06-24203633_zps68df03a9.jpg

 

What should be a perfectly good, clear pint of best bitter is utterly knackered because it's just too lively.

 

What's the cause?

 

Well, it could be any number of things.

 

Did I add too much sugar at the bottling stage (more of that another time)?

 

Is it the weather?

 

Or is it just a peculiarity of this brew?

 

Truth be told (I'm sounding like Mal now, lol), I can't remember what brew it is, which is something of a problem.....

 

If I knew, I could adjust things accordingly when I next do this brew, but sadly, old age, a fractured skull and other things mean I have the memory of a goldfish.

 

I know it's not a Hambledon Bard brew, but that's about as far as it goes!!!

 

Anyway, what to do if you find yourself in this situation:

 

The obvious, and sensible course of action is to carefully loosen the crown cap of each bottle to release the pressure, and then re-cap it.

 

Will I do that? I'm not sure at this stage. I'll try a few more and then decide.

 

I'll keep you updated on that brew, and my next post will be all about pressure barrels.

 

Thanks for reading!

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