Sunday 15 January 2012

Rye Hard: With a Vengeance

Our preoccupation with seminal action hero John McClane continues. While somewhat (completely?) irrelevant to the topic at hand, we've come this far with the 'rye rhymes with die' thing, might as well keep it going.

Our two experimental batches of 'Darkside Ryesing' rye IPA have been fermenting over the past week, bringing us that much closer to bottling, tasting, and more Die Hard references. When we left off last week, we had configured a blow-off tube setup to provide an escape route for gases during fermentation. This turned out to be a good choice, as things got pretty crazy in the 1-gallon jugs, even with all of the headspace we had left. Bubbles were travelling from the jugs, through the tubing, and into the pitcher of water at the other end, creating a veritable microbial paradise. (Upon writing this, I cannot shake the Coolio song, 'Gangster's Paradise,' from my head... maybe 'Microbial Paradise' could be featured on the soundtrack to a Dangerous Minds sequel, in which one of the troubled inner-city kids from the original goes on to get a Ph.D. in microbiology.) This taught us a very important lesson about the need for sanitizer solution in the liquid at the end of this type of blow-off configuration.

As for the beer itself, things seem to be progressing well; fermentation has slowed and things are starting to settle out. We'll bottle next week... we're kind of afraid of this, as poor carbonation in bottles for some of our earlier attempts motivated us toward our current forced carbon dioxide/keg setup, but we're also eager to exorcise the demons of previous home brewing inadequacy. We'll keep you posted.

One of our rye IPA batches after a week of fermentation. Note the bubble-residue carnage at the top of the bottle. Wait, is that an orchid in the background? Manliness potentially compromised...

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