The Thing About Spices

Witty Kitty Witbier is now finished and here’s the deal.  The prior batch was dumped because of astringency and I had attributed it to leaving the 1oz of coriander in the wort while it fermented.  So this time I separated the wort from the coriander/orange peel when transferring it to the fermentor.  This yielded an improvement but there is still a slight astringency which is now showing itself more plainly as a spicy/peppery coriander overkill.  It’s drinkable but could be better.  So how could this be?  Well to backtrack a little, when I made this beer the first two times, it was on a 2.5 gallon scale and I used 0.5 oz of coriander.  Both batches came out beautifully.  So just like I do with all the other ingredients when I scale a recipe up (grain, hops), I scaled up the coriander linearly.  My batch was twice the size this time, so I added twice the amount of coriander.  Well, apparently it doesn’t work like that, for spices anyway.  Not knowing previously that this was an issue, but now seeing that it is, I googled the idea of scaling spices in homebrew linearly.  Lo and behold, I got a handful of hits containing the information that spices in general do not scale linearly.  So yet another lesson learned in this great hobby.  So next time I’m going to play it safe by going with 0.5 oz of lightly crushed coriander and 0.75 oz of bitter orange peel.

Below is a pic of the latest witbier from my Tap-a-draft.  The aroma had a mild yeasty/sulfur like smell which indicated that the 6L keg needed 3 weeks instead of 2 to condition, probably due to the higher volume compared to a bottle.  I had this aroma issue in my last “good” witbier batch, and it resolved itself nicely with additional room temperature conditioning.  Aside from that and the coriander issue, it looked and tasted good.  I won’t have an issue drinking this batch, though it is not up to par to share with a group of people.  But if someone happens to stop over, I’ll gladly pour them a glass, but with a disclaimer up front.

Big Mane IPA was bottled a week ago and will be ready for tasting next Sunday.

My next brew day is a saison for my upcoming wedding in September.  But with the hectic schedule I have going on this summer, I’m struggling to fit it in.  I’m hoping to get it going in the next two weeks so that, if there is a problem with the batch, I’ll have time to re-brew it if necessary.  This beer will be bottled into bombers and given as parting gifts to the wedding guests.

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2 comments on “The Thing About Spices

  1. BB says:

    Love the idea of giving home brew to guests! We got married last Sept and had our beer themed reception in our local pub. A big cheers for you and your big day!

  2. That looks super tasty! Oh, and pretty sure you need to find time to brew a beer for your wedding. This is a once in a lifetime deal. Short story for you about brewing for special occasions. I work with a guy who is way into home brewing with his wife. When they were going to have their first kid, they brewed up a 10 gallon batch of barley wine. He bottled up half the batch and has them labeled out through 21. He and his wife share one bottle for every birthday (at 6 now) with the intent of sharing those last few with their son when he gets old enough.

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