Batch # 1 Update – Malty Mississippi Red Ale

Since Brew Day

My first batch of home brew has been fermenting away in the cellar for a full 7 days now. It started bubbling almost as soon as I set it down there. The air lock was clattering away the next morning, and continued like that for about 48 hours. Then it slowed down as fast as it started, and has remained quiet since then. The air temperature stayed at a steady 72 degrees the whole time, but the fermenting wort got a little hot. The thermometer on the fermenter rose to over 80 degrees at one point on day 3, but then went down to ambient temps after that. I think the high temps might affect the taste of the final product, but only time will tell.

I peeled back the cover and took a peek on day two, and saw that the krausen had formed and looked just like the pictures in the books. Why was I surprised at that?

Where It’s At

Today I took the first hydrometer reading since brew day. Specific gravity is now 1.022, down from 1.066 on brew day. That means an ABV of 5.75% as it is right now. American Amber Ales are supposed to have a FG of 1.010 to 1.015. It looks like this batch is on target for that, however, the higher than spec OG might mean an ABV over 6.0%, which is the high end for this style. In retrospect, I probably should have added more water to the fermenter in order to get the OG down a little more. Something to remember for batch #2.

The sample was a nice amber red color, which is exactly what I was looking for. It smelled like alcohol, also exactly what I was looking for :-).

Yes, I tasted it.

It’s hard to describe what it tasted like. There was no carbonation, of course, so it was flat. It had a beer sort of taste, but the alcohol was really the dominant flavor. It gave a nice warm sensation on the way down. It was not malty or sweet, nor was it hoppy or bitter. The flavors were really very light and non-descript. I’m hoping that’s a good sign, and that the malt and hop flavors develop as it continues to ferment and condition.

What Now?

Now for a decision. Do I rack to a secondary fermenter, or do I let it sit in the primary for the next couple of weeks? The problem is, I only have a two bucket set-up, and the second bucket is the bottling bucket. That means I’d have to either rack it twice (once into the bottling bucket, clean out the primary, then rack back into the primary), or buy another container for the secondary fermenter. I suppose I could just use the bottling bucket as the secondary, but then what do I do on bottling day? I’ll have to think on that one. I still have some time.

Now that I think of it, I probably should have used the bottling bucket for the primary. Then I could have racked to the other bucket, and the bottling bucket would then be free for bottling day.

Well that’s where the beer’s at. No home brew for another few weeks, at least. For now, I’ll have to settle for a Sammy Adams Summer Ale. I’m on bottle #2 as I write this.


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1 Response to Batch # 1 Update – Malty Mississippi Red Ale

  1. Terry says:

    Hey, Don –

    Feel free to use the bottling bucket for the secondary fermenter. I assume that your bottling bucket has a spout at the bottom on one side. If you look, it should be an inch or so above the actual bottom of the bucket. This means that when all the crap settles to the bottom of the bucket, it will be BELOW the spout, and won’t get into your bottles. It’s also a good idea to move the bottling bucket as little as possible.

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