Getting confidence can lead to the purchase of the slightly "higher end" homebrew ingredients. Specifically, the Muntons range, and the wheat yeast. At a cost $15 higher than the cheapest on the shelf, the process started out as per normal - sterilisation, mixing, stirring, adding yeast. No real dramas.
Through the first night, however, the barrel started leaking. Maybe one drip every 15 seconds, which isn't much, but was determined to be between one litre and three litres of lost beer over a two week period.
This, in addition to the fact that the brew hadn't started bubbling, led to large amounts of concern and worry.
The solution? Seal the bugger good and proper with Selly's Aquaclear. Which, as it is able to adhere and perform its leak-filling functions under wet conditions, seemed like the best option. After 12 hours, the leak finally subsided, leaving only the inactivity of the yeast to deal with.
It turns out that the no-bubbling problem is easily fixed by time. One afternoon, four days after the batch was started, it sprang to life with a vengeance. Froth was discovered throughout the airlock and on top of the lid, filling the air with the sweet aroma of German beer. This aroma remained sweet for about a day, and then moved to a more "rank beer mat" bouquet and continued its descent into dank staleness.
At the bottling phase, there really didn't seem to be anything wrong with the beer. Fifty-two bottles were filled, labelled and stored, and, as per usual, forgotten about until the four-week ripening time had elapsed.
This is when the horrifying discovery was made.
It seems that fixing a leak with a hardware product that has poison warnings is a big mistake. It leeched into the beer and made it smell and taste like a combination of beer and super glue. Each bottle tested (about six) from different ends yielded the same horrible result.
This much all-consuming disappointment has not been experienced since hearing Death Angel's song "Mistress of Pain," and, thinking it wasn't bad, downloaded an entire album without knowing how much goddamn hair metal was choking the hard drive.
Bitter tears were wept as the entire batch was opened into the sink and washed away with all the hopes and dreams of homemade German beer.
Let this serve as a lesson to everyone who springs a leak. Just ride out the storm if the leak isn't too bad. It's far better to lose one litre than twenty.
Published on Sunday, 5 November 2006
By Jimmy Weasel
Making meals for the world to enjoy.