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September 2009 Archives

September 7, 2009

Batch 16 - Write-up, Batch 17 (Updated)

Batch 16 ended up being better than "Meh" as I originally rated it, but it still had a bitter taste to it. I did end up taking it to work and it disappeared pretty quickly. When I first took it in and hooked everything up, it was _REALLY_ bitter; the sludge had gone back into suspension from the drive and hadn't had a chance to settle out again. But after a few days, it started drinking really well. Still more bitter than I would like, but not as bad as before.

I'm having a hard time figuring out what to do with it from here. There are two things I really want to address:

  1. The bitterness. I think I over brewed the last batch, though my instructions say I only brewed for 10 minutes, which doesn't seem like very long. I'm going to try only 5 minutes this time.
  2. Something is coating my tongue. I _THINK_ it's the wintergreen extract, which I think is oil based, meaning it doesn't really dissolve in the root beer like I'd like it to. This has been in most if not all of my batches, I just haven't talked about it. I'm considering leaving it out of this batch to see what difference it makes.

Oh! Add on top of that, I'm making a 5 gal batch today in the bigger keg to take to work. So I'm scaling up everything.

So, here's my plan for today (I'll come back and update the post with any variations):

  • 5c*5/3 ~= 8.5c 9c honey (4.5c5c buckwheat, 4c mesquite from Trader Joe's)
  • 6oz*5/3 ~= 10oz 9.5oz Sassafras
  • 1tsp*5/3 ~= 1.5tsp Anise (down from 2tsp in a 3 gal batch)
  • 2*5/3 ~= 4 Vanilla beans (The new beans I have are _WAY_ more potent than last batch)
  • 0 wintergreen (leaving it out this batch to see if the tongue feel goes away)
  • Water to make 5 gal

Steep time will be about 5 minutes, and I'm going to see if I can keep it just below a rolling boil.

UPDATED: 10:32pm
I did the batch about as listed above. Might have been closer to 9c of honey; I wasn't really all that precise. I do know that I only had 9.5oz of Sassafras; that's all that was left in the container, and I didn't want to open the next 2lb bag for just another .5oz. Eh, close enough. I did leave out the wintergreen.

As for procedure... I ended up steeping for about 7 minutes; 5 minutes just felt too short. And, I managed to keep it below a rolling boil, which will hopefully prevent it from pulling out some of the nastier bits.

Otherwise, pretty standard procedure.

As for hardware, my filter bags molded from not being tried out well enough last time I used them, so I sacrificed another clean tea towel to the cause (one that was already stained from use as a root beer filter) and sewed together another filter bag. This time, I just hose clamped it directly to the hose rather than using the wire mesh filter and the canning funnel, which were great when ladling, but kinda useless when siphoning. This way, the hose just empties directly into the filter bag, which is inside the keg. Works well.

This keg is heading to the office keggerator. Now the hard part: Keeping my office mates from drinking it before its ready. :-)

About September 2009

This page contains all entries posted to Mark's Blog in September 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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