Friday, July 1, 2011

Blending Beer

I really hate it when my lovingly brewed beer doesn't fully attenuate. Especially after doing my brewing best. But these things happen and there will be plenty of opportunities to brew another batch, but what does one do with that seemingly 'bad' batch that sits lonely in a quite fermentor staring back pitifully from its cool dark corner of the room? My recent Cascadian dark ale had that expression. It didn't fully attenuate like I wanted. Starting at 1.060 and completely stopping at 1.020, a mere 66.6% attenuation, or as I saw it, the sign of the devil.

I felt a little disappointed, o.k. very disappointed and frankly a little angry on top of that. I looked back at my notes trying to figure out what caused the stalled ferment. Granted, I did mash high at 154f. but that's not unusual as I try to keep the workhorse yeast US05 from drying out the beer, but it's possible this was cause for part of the problem. Everything else I did during brew day was pretty typical. I did pitch a  yeast cake from a previous batch of amber ale, maybe the yeast was stressed out? I don't know but I've got ten gallons of beer that it too sweet for my tastes.

My solution? No, I didn't reach for the Beano, but instead decided to brew an identical batch, making sure it ferments very dry and then blend with the first batch to balance them both. This I did by mashing at a low temperature of 149f. for 90 minutes and fermenting with three fresh packages of US05 yeast. The second beer also began at 1.060 but finished at 1.012. The next step was to blend them together at a 50/50 mix, ending up with twenty gallons of Cascadian dark ale at a final gravity of 1.016 in all four corney kegs. This brings me to an attenuation of 75%. I can drink that.

I've included a short and slightly boring video with this post, showing how I transferred half of the beer from the original batch of kegged and uncarbonated beer into two empty kegs and then racked the second batch from the fermentor, filling all four kegs.
If you watched this video you can see how easy it would be to insert a filter in-line with the jumper line to not only transfer but filter the beer at the same time. This is a link showing how I did that in the past.

Do you ever blend your beer? I will sometimes at the tap, but this is the first time I've done it to correct a problem from fermentation. How do you do it?

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