Pondering the brewing plans

I go nuts with research before I start anything. One boss I had used to say I overthought things. On the other hand once I moved it got done right the first time. Go figure.

Anyway, I’ve been pondering my brewing plans. See, I know that I’m not going to drink every batch right away. I wanted to lay aside some of the beverages for some time to see how they tasted after they matured a bit. And it turns out there’s a problem, of course.

Beer, like wine and other alcohol, matures best when the temperature doesn’t get above 25C or so (77 or so F). If you used a top-brewing yeast it likes it between 68 and 77F, and if it was a lager yeast 50 to 60F is a lot better. If your beer gets hotter than its temperature it ages faster and a lot less gracefully – as in it skunks a lot faster and…

There’s a reason British soldiers regularly imported their beer when stationed in India. In a nutshell it’s too hot to brew and hot enough it doesn’t store well either.

I live in Georgia – near Chattanooga TN, but still Georgia. We top 90 degrees regularly in the summer. Now in most homes that’s not a big deal, but I’m sorta energy/cost conscious. Our thermostat is set at 82F.

So brewing and storing will be fine from mid-late September (highs right now are around 80F) to late April will be fine. Outside that range I’m looking at either finding an alternate solution, not storing over the summer, or degrading the beer. Decisions, decisions.

There’s an interesting possibility. Get a mini-fridge (one of the 4.2 cubes) and make a temperature modification. Specifically, run a thermostat through the insulation and tie it to the power. Instead of the normal 30-40F range, set it to something appropriate for the yeast I choose.

Oh – I do plan to try three yeasts at this point in time. I’m looking at trying a lager, trying a top-brew (ale), and trying a ‘champagne’ yeast. In all three cases, at least initially I’ll use a clean yeast to minimize that part of the taste – I think I might like the yeast undertaste but know that’s an added complexity.

My gut feeling is that I’m going to end up with the ale yeast, basically because of what I’m brewing — no hops, alternative preservation herbs. Champagne is tempting but… it also tends to produce ABVs above 10%. That might be a bit much.

Still, an interesting issue has been identified, and solutions are wide open for now. Nothing is actually going to be produced till I’ve a regular income that can afford tossing money on this AFTER other more pressing needs and toys are resolved.

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