Saturday, February 14, 2009

third brew (african amber ale), part 2

Today I racked the Mac & Jack's African Amber clone to a glass carboy and dry-hopped. The hops were 2/3 ounce Cascade at 6.3% alpha acid (the same as in the boil) for 4.2 AAU. I tied up the pellets in sanitized cheesecloth. I'm expecting them to disintegrate and collect at the bottom, though. And the neck of the 5 gallon carboy was awfully tight; I should research some techniques.

Filled the carboy all the way and had more than two quarts left over. Taking the primary up to 5.5 gallons and beyond wasn't necessary; there was no appreciable loss. I wonder why the recipe called for so much extra. I guess that means that if I'd topped it off at just 5 gallons the original gravity would have been a little higher: 1 + 0.062 * 5.5 / 5 = 1.068. If I weren't so far removed from undergrad physics I'd try to figure out what my error ranges are, but given the equipment I think they are significant. As I contemplate the points/pounds/gallon (PPG) numbers of the LME, DME, and my measured gravity after steeping, I'm now a little suspicious of that original gravity measurement. I think it's feasible only if the DME and LME both had PPGs at the very top end of what Palmer cites (p. 35). I haven't been able to find official figures for these products. I'm wondering whether I had a lot of hot and/or cold break in the hydrometer and that inflated the reading. Would it?

Gravity is now 1.016 at 70 degrees, so plus 0.0011 for 1.0171. That's below the 1.018 target already. Clarity is good. There's lots of suspended yeast still, but it's looking nice.

Well, it's just excellent! It's perfectly drinkable right now after only a week and without carbonation. It's very similar to the African Amber, all right. A bit of sweetness on the aftertaste. Very smooth, caramel-like maltiness. Pleasant bitterness with no bite. Not much hop aroma, but perhaps the dry hopping will do something there. I am very pleased at this point.

1 comment:

joe said...

A lot of recipes today are sized for 6 or 6.5 gallon carboys. I wonder if this is true for this one.

Try adding sanitized glass marbles or stainless steel balls to the dry hop bag to prevent it form floating up into the neck of the carboy.