I have finally finished my temperature monitor and logging module, originally designed to monitor beer temperature as it is fermenting (beer, fridge and ambient temperatures). It is an Arduino-based device which measures and displays temperatures from multiple attached temperature probes and logs them to an SD card . This is an old project from last year sometime which has been sitting 95% complete, just waiting on an enclosure and some finishing touches to the code. I posted a separate post about the enclosure design and 3D print, read it here.
Having had a few weeks in the bucket to ferment, my dearly beloved hard as fuck IPA was ready for a few more weeks without the copious hop dregs sitting at the bottom. All looked well, with a delicious hoppy aroma when I cracked the top of the fermenter. All that remained was to move said IPA to the glass demijohns where my sour had been quietly turning delicious. This proved to be an opportunity for both the bottling of the Sour, and the second stage of fermentation for the IPA. All of this reminded me that I hadn’t provided a post for our successful souring, so I’ll go over that first.
Gypsum, for those who are not in the know, is CaSO4 – calcium sulfate (we can thank dear Lavoisier for his nice nomenclature). It’s in your water, to varying degrees, depending on where you live. Locations with ‘hard water’ typically have much higher concentrations of it that Sydney, which has quite soft water.
Why the interest in the chemical composition? Well, it all starts with a beer called pacific ale. Or more specifically, various attempts to replicate it. From dry hopping, to last minute of the boil and rapid chilling, to proposing various bits of complex machinery, no one that I know has yet managed to replicate the delicious Galaxy (passionfruit) hop aroma of Pacific ale. So how do they do it?
Having caught the Brewing bug, I decided that the sour simply wasn’t enough brewing for this month, and figured I’d add another beer to ferment. An added bonus was the potential for there being even more deliciousness to drink. Of course, this left a pressing question – what should I brew? Not one to be restricted by my own lack of experience, I decided it, like the sour beer, had to be a little strange.
Feeling a little sorry for our demijohns, now empty of their meady goodness, we decided we should fill them with something else. Naturally, it couldn’t be anything normal, but rather something novel and untried. We ended up settling on favourite of ours – sour beer! For those who don’t know, sour beer is a style of beer that is (as the name suggests) sour. Some examples of this are Lambics, Gueze, and what the Yanks call ‘Wild Ales’. For an added bit of funkiness, we decided that we’d also use a Saison-ish yeast, which should add some additional funky flavours.
Having endured the long, difficult, indeed tormenting wait we finally reached the stage where our mead could be released from its glassy confines… and placed in new glassy confines. That’s right – its bottling day. Of course, no bottling would be complete without a surreptitious tasting of the wares. Or for that matter, without delicious food, good company, and a new beer to fill up the glassware that the mead was liberated from. So we set aside a Saturday of the long weekend, I brought the mead out of storage, and we went through the slow process of bottling.
After several months of planning and a trip to Cape York and the US getting in the way, we finally got around to making our first mead.
The process seems simple enough, mix honey and water, add yeast (and nutrient) and let it do it’s thing for a year or so.
However, the aim was to have something which will be drinkable next winter (about 8 months away) we we ended up deciding on doing 2 meads, a slightly weaker, drier one which should be ready by winter, and a stronger, sweeter one which might have to wait until next year.