Today I’m going to talk about the beer that I bought the wrong malts for and that I had to postpone (I told you about it in this article). Unlike its replacement beer, however, this one has not had any particular problems apart from the short maturing times since the plan was to to send it to a competition.
I wanted to bring to the Homebrewers Gorizia competition the Goriziana that I had done this year for San Patrizio and that I had done very well (recipe here). However, having brewed it in January to drink it in March, that beer had little more than two months to develop its flavor and its aromas. This time, however, I have already started late and the hitch of missing malts has done nothing but reduce this duration further. In the end I managed to have a full month of post-bottling maturation. Not optimal as planned but acceptable.
After buying the missing malt and a package of dry yeast that I had lost, I took a work day off to brew it as soon as possible for the reasons just explained. I woke up earlier than usual and went to my parents house to get to work, but not before a good coffee. The brew went fast and as planned, I could spend a few words on just one point: I ground up a bit too much the Roasted Barley malt, but since I have a habit of sparge using a kitchen strainer to avoid bringing me too many impurities in the boil pot the problem solved itself (I just had to clean the strainer a little more often).
After the brew it was time to put the fermenter in the fermentation cell: it was the first time that the cell was already occupied by another fermenter, I never made two fermentations at once. Although a little cramped, the two 30 liter flat fermenters stayed inside the cell, thanks to a wooden support that my dad built in 10 minutes at my request.
As there was no more place for the bubblers I used a 90 degree John Guest fittings to fix the tube to a pot with some Starsan sanitizer to allow the CO2 spillage. Even the pipes were actually fixed in a bit uncomfortable way, my cell proved to be perfectly able to accommodate everything.
Those who have read the diary of the Lenzuolo Bianco will know of the problem I had: the fridge that cools the cell is coming to the end of a valiant career, having difficulty holding two fermenters on 16°C (of course, the hottest summer in history certainly did not help him in this task). Luckily, he only had to hold this temperature for the first few days, and then he had to keep it at 19°C.
Another lucky situations was that my parents had an old fridge that they didn’t need anymore. Needless to say, it became mine instantly to allow me to make a good cold crash at the end of fermentation. I made it, it was a little complicated to move the fermenter from the cell to the new fridge (where it fits just right) but with the help of my parents we made it without making any disasters (except the glass density meter that fell to the ground and – needless to say – got broken). Unfortunately I didn’t have the fridge control unit ready, so I made a slow temperature drop using the fridge internal thermostat until I reached the minimum temperature (around 2ºC). For this operation I instructed my mother to check that the fermenter did not suck up the liquid from the bubbling jar and slowly adjust the temperature. When the 2°C were reached, my mom was free to leave the beer alone and take a relaxing day at the river.
After the cold crash it was time to bottle: I decided to make half of the batch in 500ml bottles and the other half in 750ml bottles. The beer had an excellent aroma, a very good balance between toasted and hoppy notes. I tasted some and I must say that the flavor is also very promising. To carbonate the beer I used the classic technique of transferring beer into a bucket adding some 50:50 solution of water and sugar to force a bottle refermentation.
The beer has referemented in the chamber at 19°C and now it is resting in the cellar at cooler temperatures.
The diary, however, does not end here: this batch has partecipated in some homebrewing competitions obtaining excellent results:
- At the 4th Homebrewers Gorizia X The Lure Contest reached the final phase and ranked 7th on a total of 57 beers. An excellent result also since the judges said that the level of beer was very high.
- Goriziana has succeeded where my beers never made it: it won the 2nd Milvus Brewery Homebrewing Contest! A huge satisfaction for me, I followed the live stream of the awards in which the judges commented that they were impressed by the freshness of the aroma and the choice of roasted malts. I couldn’t be happier!