Stonehead's ale goes on and on and on and...

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Nepenthe
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Stonehead's ale goes on and on and on and...

Post: #265047 Nepenthe
Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:59 pm

Hello everyone

Up until now I have been finding answers to all my questions on this site (thank you :), but have some nettle ale that is stumping me.

I made Stonehead's nettle ale 2, (> ucp.php?mode=activate&u=27461&k=32RWJGI8K)
As the recipe suggested (I think, ish, see below!) - but after 6 days, it was still bubbling away ferociously, so I hydrometerized it (1.040) and gave it a little longer. It has now been verging on two weeks, and it is at 1.024ish, so going down, but my fiance and I are now having a debate over whether we should bottle it now (so it can get bubbles) or leave it til 1.010ish, hoping it gets that far...

The only things I can think it might be are that I put a tiny pinch of yeast nutrient in at the start (for luck), and I wonder if I accidentally put in kilos of sugar instead of pounds? :oops:

It tastes very strong, and quite sweet, so this is possible! If it did have double sugar, would it render it undrinkable? Or as long as it is still fermenting, will it be OK in the end? Maybe I could water it down..?! It also tastes quite sharp/acidic (not in a horrible way, but slightly unbalanced), but I definitely put the same amount of lemons as the recipe. I wonder if that taste is the alive yeast?

I am very new to homebrewing, this being my first ale (and, well, first potentially drinkable brew if I'm honest) so would like some advice if anyone has any ideas?

Thank you
Hannah

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Re: Stonehead's ale goes on and on and on and...

Post: #265052 MKG
Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:23 pm

Hi Hannah :wave:

I'm not a beer maker and I don't know Stoney's recipe - but he does still come here occasionally, so hopefully you'll get an answer from the man himself. However, I think that I'd go along with your guess - you've added kilos instead of pounds. That means that the final result will be 2.2 times as strong as it's designed to be. Watering it down would address the alcohol strength, but you'd also be diluting the flavour.

Whatever's happened, it's not going to be undrinkable in terms of doing you harm. In terms of falling down, though, - well, that's another matter.

There are other beer makers on here - hang on .....


BEER MAKER NEEDED!!!!!!!!!!!!

That might do it.

Mike
The secret of life is to aim below the head (With thanks to MMM)

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Re: Stonehead's ale goes on and on and on and...

Post: #265064 Nepenthe
Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:07 pm

Haha thank you Mike :)

Yes, beer makers most definitely needed - everywhere and always (especially a few months before a party! :)

2.2 times as alcoholic.. Oh Dear. :lol:

I shall hope that the nutrient keeps the yeast eating the sugar, and cross my fingers for now, but if anyone has any other thoughts on when to bottle, or how to make it taste nicer, I would be MOST grateful. I have the feeling it could almost be great...

Hannah x

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Re: Stonehead's ale goes on and on and on and...

Post: #265068 Davie Crockett
Tue Aug 07, 2012 7:20 am

Hi Hannah and welcome to the forum! :wave:

As Mike has said, It sounds like you have used kilo's instead of lbs.

As it's probably not a closed fermentation at this stage, I would be tempted to add more nettles, lemon and water, otherwise you're going to end up with a beer that is strong and sweet with not enough nettle flavour to balance the sweetness. As long as it's still bubbling, the yeast will process the ingredients. Just remember not to "Shock" the yeast by adding stuff at different temperatures to your base brew.

I assume it's this recipe:
http://www.selfsufficientish.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=1783&p=17783&hilit=stonehead+Nettle+Beer+#p17783

Your problem will be that in prolonging the brewing time, you may allow other organisms to enter the brew and spoil it. (Acetification, Ropey beer infection etc) google these processes to learn how to avoid them.

If it doesn't work out, don't be disheartened. Chalk it up to experience and start again.

The other alternative is to allow acetification and stock up on vinegar!
Time flies like an arrow; vinegar flies like an uncovered wine must.

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Re: Stonehead's ale goes on and on and on and...

Post: #265076 Zech
Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:32 am

Davie Crockett wrote:Your problem will be that in prolonging the brewing time, you may allow other organisms to enter the brew and spoil it.


Would that risk be reduced if the nettles and lemons were boiled before adding?
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Re: Stonehead's ale goes on and on and on and...

Post: #265079 Davie Crockett
Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:39 am

Zech wrote:
Would that risk be reduced if the nettles and lemons were boiled before adding?


It would reduce the risk, but time vs passing organisms is the real enemy. Excessive boiling also increases the risk of adding unwanted pectins as the cells break down. Pectins make your brew hazy and difficult to clear

A few tips to reduce unwanted infection of your brew...
Wash your hands.
1) Be scrupulously clean. Use Milton or Camden solution to sterilise your vessel and equipment prior to using it. Rinse thoroughly before adding yeast. (If you're asthmatic or even if you're not!, use Camden solution with caution in a well ventilated area). The active ingredient in Camden solution will evaporate out over 24 hours or so, which is why it can be added to raw brewing materials to kill off passive yeasts before adding the desired yeast culture. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campden_tablets

2) Wash stirring instruments and anything being dipped into your brew before and after use.

3) Cover your brew with linen/muslin until bottling. Remember to leave a reasonable air space above the brew to allow for foaming. If the foam contacts the cloth, organisms can be transmitted through it.

4) Beware the Vinegar fly http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drosophila_melanogaster the main reason steeping brews should be covered. They carry the bacteria which is responsible for converting your precious alcohol into acetic acid and can also introduce other pathogens.
Time flies like an arrow; vinegar flies like an uncovered wine must.

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Re: Stonehead's ale goes on and on and on and...

Post: #265080 Carltonian Man
Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:42 pm

Hi Hannah

Maybe some nettle beer recipes are intended to be drank whilst still fermenting so are low alcohol, frothy and sweet.

Anyway, I made 25 gallons of the stuff a couple of years ago which was put into 2 litre PET bottles. The first five gallon batch was bottled at the recommended time but within days the bottles were looking decidedly pregnant and I’m sure would have exploded had the tops not been released. On this batch the contents were easily lost in fizz and froth unless the top was opened really slowly.
On subsequent batches I unscrewed the tops daily until the sparkle was under control.
Regarding taste, NB did improve if allowed to mature. When drank young it needed a splash of lemonade to make it palatable (even for me and I’ll drink virtually anything :drunken: ) but after 12 months it was ok on its own.

The stuff I made was about 6% and generally no one drank it in great quantity but I suspect there is some ingredient in the nettles that you should be aware of. Nettle beer drank on its own is fine but combined with red wine it creates the mother of all hangovers. OK, so I know someone’s going to say “you shouldn’t mix drinks” but I’m talking 230ml of NB (less than half a pint) as an aperitif before dinner and a couple of normal strength glasses of red with the meal. I don’t normally get hangovers but I was caught out by this one.
Overall I’d say keep going with the fermentation and maybe add a splash of lemonade to taste.
Good luck with it..

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Re: Stonehead's ale goes on and on and on and...

Post: #265233 Nepenthe
Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:55 pm

Wow thanks everyone! :) :) That certainly gave me a huge amount to think about...

Yes, it was the recipe above. On the back of what I understand from your advice, coupled with what seemed to be happening in the bucket - I have taken the following action:

1. Tasted and hydrometerized it again - tastes kind of OK, still too sweet but almost in the yellow section. The sweetness would be palatable, but for this strong acidic taste, my friend said it was a bit like the acidicness of cheap cider (thanks.. huh). Any ideas what this could be, and how to get RID of it? Watered down it is a little better, but still predominantly this strange sharp flavour. The nettle taste is gorgeous underneath it, but you really have to concentrate - something I would get worse at the more I tried to drink! I may consider re-nettling and diluting if all else fails, but it currently doesnt taste too alcoholic, maybe 7-8% sure, but that would be quite nice if it wasnt for the sharp cidery taste. :?

2. I put a little bit of TronOzymol in it - it says it can help stuck ferments so I thought I would pre-empt that possibility so maybe the sugar will still keep going down.

3. Put a little in a plastic bottle, to see if it will get bubbles and taste nicer that way, and the rest of it under an airlock. I am releasing the air 3 times a day from the bottle as I'm scared it;ll explode.. but the liquid seems no more bubbly. Should I leave it for longer between releases so it can push the bubbles into the liquid? (is that a laughable naivety? not sure how this bubble thing works, actually!)

4. Fashioned elasticated muslin hats for my airlocks after finding a naughty little vinegar fly trying to get in (though I'm sure many of you have much stronger words for them by now!)

So.. I'm hopeful! But could still do with any wisdom you might have. Could you also tell me - are there any adverse effects to drinking wine yeast that hasnt stopped fermenting? Should I campden it before drinking if it's still sweet and bubbling?

Thank you in advance, I hope not to be imposing but it's so helpful to pick your much more expereinced brains (at least things going wrong increase the learning curve!!) Xx

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Re: Stonehead's ale goes on and on and on and...

Post: #265236 MKG
Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:52 pm

I can do the drinking of yeast one. It isn't harmful in any way. In fact, it's an ideal source of the vitamin B complex (apart from B12 - it has none).

I can probably do the bubbly/not bubbly one, too. When you pour off a fermenting liquid into another container, you introduce oxygen. In the presence of oxygen, yeast goes into its "reproduce like there's no tomorrow" phase (a bit like a Jeremy Kyle guest) and does not produce alcohol or carbon dioxide (the bubbly stuff). After a few days - when the oxygen is used up - it should revert to its frothy activities.

Mike
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Re: Stonehead's ale goes on and on and on and...

Post: #265250 Davie Crockett
Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:36 pm

If you Camden it, it will kill everything in it and it won't be fizzy. It's tricky to obtain the right amount of fizz. Generally when your brew has stopped frothing and it takes on an almost oily look to the surface, it's time to bottle. (This assumes that the yeast you have used hasn't been killed off by it's own alcohol content). I add about a level spoonful of sugar to each pint bottle and crown cork it. (As you rightly say this traps and compresses the carbon dioxide so that it goes into solution).

As for the strong acidic taste, I can only guess that this is an off flavour from excess yeast produced from the excess sugar, unless there's something else got into the mix. This taste might mellow a bit once it's bottled.
Time flies like an arrow; vinegar flies like an uncovered wine must.

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Re: Stonehead's ale goes on and on and on and...

Post: #265294 Nepenthe
Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:57 pm

yeast goes into its "reproduce like there's no tomorrow" phase (a bit like a Jeremy Kyle guest)

Mike[/quote]


Brilliant Mike :lol: That one will stay with me.

Thank you both, once again. I will update once it has reached the *hopefully* drinkable stage :)

Just as a side note, I have just this very day opened the red clover and rose champagne that I started 3 weeks ago... DELICIOUS. I am much encouraged :cheers: xx


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