Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The beer is finally flowing.

Well I finally did it. I've been lazy and I'm a bit late, but I've got the Brown Ale in a keg, after 28 days in “secondary”.

Two nights ago, on Sunday, I moved the fermenter into my kegerator and set the temperature to 40 degrees. This “cold-crash” should have helped to drop an remaining sediment out of suspension further clarifying the brew. By all counts, it did this, as this is easily the clearest beer I've made yet, both during the transfer and in the glass. I managed to get the beer into the keg without stirring up any sediment too, which helped.

I'm shooting for the low 2s in carbonation levels, on the low end of the American Ale category. I've got the kegerator set at about 36 degrees and about 8 psi on the regulator. This is about as close to perfect as I'm going to get, as I'm limited a bit by the length of my tap line. You see, getting a keg system to balance perfectly where the CO2 from the regulator supplies the carbonation for the beer and also gives just the exact amount of pressure to push the beer out of the tap, can be tricky. The objective is to have the right amount of pressure on from the keg to end up with exactly 1 psi at the tap to push the beer with, this will result in good flow with minimal foaming. So there's this nice formula that can be used to determine exactly how long you need your tap line to be to get the perfect pressure (which can be found here, credit to Steve Jones). Except the problem is that I have a set length of tap line in this case, just a little over two feet! Thankfully I paid attention in Algebra class and had no trouble re-writing the equation in terms of pressure rather than length. When I calculated it out, I needed to end up somewhere around 7.4 psi to get my magical 1 psi at the tap with my two foot tap line. Cool, so I glanced at the carbonation level chart (also found on the above referenced page) and saw that if I set my regulator to just under 8 psi at 36 degrees, I would get a little under 2.3 volumes of CO2, perfect!

As far as the beer goes... well I like it! Slightly sweet malt up front is joined by a toasty and a roasty malt just strong enough to satisfy. The strongly toasty lingering aftertaste is a bit more subdued now, but still present. Hops are perfectly in line, simply balancing the beer and not adding too much of anything. Body is thin, overall the beer is dry. I'm a very happy brewer right now, this is by FAR the best beer I've ever brewed.

Now I think I'll put the Rye Pale ale on tap here this weekend.

And to top it off, getting drunk on my own alcohol rocks. =)