Friday, April 28, 2006

The Gusher Commeth!!

It finally happened, as they all said it would. Infection. It happens to all brewers sooner or later (if you say it never happened to you, then it will happen later!) I had brewed a Special Bitter and it came in really low on gravity. For you non-brewers, that means there were much fewer fermentable sugars than there should have been and so the yeast didn't have much to work with. The beer was thin and flavorless. Instead of chucking 5gal of beer though I decided to try and save it. I made another beer, higher in gravity and then once it fermented out I blended the two and had two batches of beer. I also dry-hopped both batches, which in this case meant adding fresh hops to the keg. I consumed the first batch a while ago and it wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either.
The second batch sat in the keg for a while. I finally got to it this week when my Poor Ricky expired (rest in peace friend) and I had an opening. Lisa, in her infinite wisdom, suggested I tap the SSB (Schmoopy's Special Bitter) and get it over with. Of course I did, because she does indeed know best about these things. To my surprise the first glass was all foam. So was the second. And the third... "What is going on here...." I relieved the pressure in the keg, and still foam..... "Gusher", I thought. I had seen this once before, though it was one bottle and it was not my beer (dirty brewer... I've NEVER had an infection!)
I brought the keg up to the kitchen and put it in the sink. I relieved the pressure AGAIN and then popped the top. The foam just started coming out like a child's Volcano experiment for the science fair! It just kept foaming and foaming....
In the end I emptied the keg and cleaned it out real good. The culprit, I believe, was the hop bag I used. Probably not sanitized enough, which is a hazard with dry-hopping unless you throw them into the keg, in which case they get in the beer glass. Anyway, I'm just glad it was a marginal beer...

UPDATE:
On Tap:
1 - Schmoopy Dark - Amber Lager - m..m.. good!
2 - Nothing (waiting on the Wit)

On Deck - Kegs:
Garden 'Ho - Witbier
Fat Tyre - Belgian Pale Ale
Schmoopy's Nutty Brown Ale

In Bottles:
Schmoopy's Oatmeal Stout - Yummy!
Schmoopy's Funky Monk - Belgian Dubbel aging nicely
Garden 'Ho - Witbier
Schmoopy's Nutty Brown Ale

In Secondary Fermenters:
Schmoopyfest Oktoberfest - yes, still.
Schmoopy's Patriot Pale Ale - American Pale Ale

We're still on schedule and this weekend I'll be brewing up 10 more gallons of Phat Tyre!