A Month of Failed Firsts

A Month of Failed Firsts

While I haven’t been brewing much lately, I can share a few short updates on what I’ve been up to. In the interest of poking fun at myself, I thought it’d be entertaining to share a few of my lastest failures.

Lager Mash From Hell

Back in August, I decided it was time to make an Octoberfest, realizing of course I was already several months late. I made a 1000mL starter about a week before brewday, I stepped it one more time to give me the needed cell count, and stashed it in the fridge to crash out once it’d fermented out. Brew day arrived, and I made a fatal mistake: I got cocky.

In my defense, I had a pretty good spring and summer of brewing. All of my batches turned out quite well, and there wasn’t really anything I would have been hesitant to share. I had a proper lager starter ready to go, my refrigeration setup had been working like a champ, and I thought I was going to cruise right through my first lager without an issue. I was so sure of myself, I decided to do something I hadn’t done before with my setup. I was going to step-mash this beer.

I watched several videos and did some napkin math, and I figured I could pull it off using just infusions, so I mashed in around 98, and started heating my next infusion. Once that was at temp, I added it to my incredibly thick mash, stirred, and … was grossly under the calculated temp.

It was about here that I commenced a full scale brewday freakout, the likes of which had not been seen since my first all-grain batch. I hastily decided to try a decoction mash (hey, it’s to-style, right?), but was unsuccessful in getting the mash any higher than 145°. In the end, I somehow was close to my target gravity, so I ran off and brewed as usual, and pitched my yeast hoping for the best.

I followed a pretty normal fermentation schedule, and everything basically went as one would expect, though the final gravity was a whopping 1.017. The beer, surprisingly, is actually not bad after carbonating and lagering for a handful of months. Still, there’s something subtly… off about it. I’m not sure if there’s some scorched grain taste coming through, or something else. I think I’ll let it sit a bit longer, but I expect this to be my first and only dumper of the year.

The Driest Red

I’m proud to report my first over-attenuation. My Irish Red fermented from 1.045 down to 1.004 =\

Overattenuated Irish Red

I’m actually not sure what went wrong with this, but I’ll definitely be checking my mash thermometer before brewing again. The beer itself tastes decent, and I think I’ll let it carb and see to what extent the C02 accentuates the dryness.

Brewing. Always something to go wrong.  Prost.