December 27, 2011
Admittedly, not much has gone on with my homebrewing for a while. I had that spurt of brewing in November and early December, but 4 kegs still have beer, 2 cases of bottles are full, there’s a batch ready to be bottled, and another batch ready to go into a keg once I have an empty one. Yeah, I can’t really justify brewing right now, though I’m contemplating making something that will take a long time to ferment, like a barleywine or something.
Anyway, after tasting the beers that I’ve made since moving to this apartment, I’m seeing that my hop utilization is markedly increased over what it had been back in Rochester. The stove I used in my previous apartment was a crappy electric stove where I could fit two burners under my kettle, but in the new place I can comfortably get three of the gas burners under it. That’s a significant upgrade in energy transfer, so my boils are more vigorous and are making my hop additions give me more bitterness and less flavor/aroma.
The big problem, of course, is that I’ve got all my volume and gravity calculations down perfectly for this system, so changing the way I boil is going to force some more trial and error to get dialed in again. If I were to try adjusting my hop additions to account for the extra boil vigor, that would also require trial and error, barring access to an HPLC analysis to tell me exactly how many mg/L my system is producing of hop acids. I’ll probably just wind up adjusting the hop additions, as that lets me use less hops overall, so it’s a big win.
The only real piece of news to talk about with my homebrew setup is that I got a digital pH meter for Christmas. I’ve been wanting to track my mash and wort pH for a while, so now I can add that bit of quality control to my home setup. The main issue I’m concerned with is that, outside of my dark mild, my dark beers have been coming out a bit astringent lately. Their mashes are likely too acidic, which is what I can now test for. Of course the increased hop utilization will also be a factor, but it’s fun to have a new gadget to play with.