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Zymatic Brew 2. I clean, I checked, and I almost brewed the house down. But dammit I missed something.

In this case what I missed was taking out and cleaning 4 rubber stoppers that I thought were quite happy where they were, not bothering anyone. But attention seekers that they are, they went on a huffy fit and overflowed.

I learnt/realised three things about the Zymatic today.

Firstly, it’s a finicky little bugger. The slightest micromillinanometer gap in a rubber stopper can cause trouble way above its’ pay grade. There needs to be a routine before every brew where you open every nook and close every crevice and smack every cliche. Get a piece of grain stuck in a non-Zymatic system and you slow things down. Get a piece of grain stuck in the Zymatic and you screw a brew.

Secondly, it’s back end heavy. When (if) it works as planned, it’ll do the mash and boil – but whirlpooling, cooling, transferring (I would never brew in the keg used for a Zymatic brew, it has so much crusty gunk), cleaning – that all remains, and it’s still a lot of work. Still, better than the pre-Z time.

Thirdly, I’m on learning curve of a whole new process here. It still needs to be made efficient.

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In this brew, I decided to keg whirlpool. I’ve read that the Z isn’t great at hoppy beers, and whether true or not, I didn’t want this beer coming out “meh”. This will be my first real Z beer and it better be good.

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The way to get hop aroma, I’ve read, is to whirlpool. In a non-Z brew, the hop additions keep contact with the wort even after flameout. But in the Z they don’t – because the Z no longer passes wort through them. Hence the way to get hop aroma is to whirlpool in the keg – either when cooling or to cool to a specific temp, then whirlpool

So into the keg went this ebay contraption. For double safety – not wanting to clog anything as the gaps at the top are quite large – leap hops went in hop socks before being placed inside.

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Hi-tech cooling  followed.

I wanted to ferment this with US05.  However I stupidly repurposed the fermentation chamber as a hop freezer to free the family freezer and now I’m not allowed to reverse the decision. And it’s getting too hot to ferment without temperature control.

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So I decided to embark on a first. I decided to ferment in a keg, in the keezer. To do so I’ve upped the temp to “UK levels” of luke-warm 12-15 decrees.

I don’t particularly like fermenting in the keg – I’ve absolutely no idea how much I collected; getting sample is a pain; and at this temp it’ll be longer before I fermentation completes and I get to taste my first Z beer. I need to get my fermentation chamber back.

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