Bottling day: Dark Ale

by EJ

After three weeks or so in the primary fermenter I’ve bottled my Dark Ale, which looked surprisingly light in color. As expected, there is an unwanted tannin taste which I think came about from me steeping the chocolate malt for too long. I’m pretty sure it is easily drinkable though. Below we see the bottle capper, the bottling bucket with the actual beer in it, the bottle tree and 18 or so of the finished product.

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I primed the bottling bucket with a cup or so of dextrose but only then realised that I hadn’t taken a final gravity reading.  I won’t know exactly the final alcohol level as a result.

I mentioned the tannin issue to the dude in the LHBS and he asked what temperature I steeped the grains at. I told him 67c and he said that’s too low. That’s mashing temperature, not steeping temperature. He reckoned I should be up in the eighties for steeping. I guess I got my steep and my mash mixed up. I’ll go back to some old reading material and reboot. Here’s exactly what I’m after from BYO magazine website. Very good.

On another note, whilst in the LHBS I picked up some Saaz hops, Mangrove Jack’s workhorse yeast, 500g of light DME and a can of Cooper’s draught from the supermarket. I’m going to have a crack at a light colored, crisp and dry Pilsner. I understand that the key is the right dose of sugar. I’ve got an article on Saison which goes into some detail about the use of sugar for dryness in that style. How about half a kilo of Pilsner malt as well to kick up the flavor? Probably worth a shot.

“Pilsner Malt:
This is the base for most of the light German styles. This malt has the lightest color and flavor. Pilsner malt usually needs a protein rest during mashing. Some varieties have low enzyme levels which require careful mashing.”

Here’s another good one from BYO on the different grain types and their characteristics.

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