Yes, I realise it has been some time since the last post. Indeed, I have been a bit pre-occupied, but that does not mean that brewing has stopped.
First, the Ginger Tom. Well, what can I say....erm, well, bottling seems to be successful...that's kind of it. It's drinkable, but the lack of hops just does nothing for the character of the drink, and lemon juice just tastes odd. That's strange, because the old home recipe from a ginger plant has loads of lemon juice in it....but then the sugar never quite ferments out, so it sweetness counteracts it. Having the occasional one, but I suspect the rest of it will get chucked as a failed experiment.
Recently, however, I have been working on another brew, but a Birthday Special. I had designed it to come in at 5.0%, but I just cannot get this starting gravity thing to work....so it's more like 4.0%. The recipe is here, and, tasting it from the fermenter, it tastes great...proper beer.
I upped the technique count too. I warm steeped the crystal as before, but tried to do that in a pan, which I insulated, rather than leave to the vagaries of the boiler. Think I'll go back to the boiler! I suspect this is one reason why I did not get great efficiency, the crystal did not steep as well in the cooling water. But my new technique was a 24 hour cold steep of the chocolate malt. It certainly gave a nice smooth, coffee-ish wort.
That brew has fermented now, and has been in bottles a week. One week for a test, and then the ceremonious handing over to the birthday boy. I am hoping that a few labels might get printed to, just to finish the bottle off.
In the meantime, I have been going back to the recipe, and tweaking it for a new technique, where I move onto something akin to a full mash - boil in a bag. The yeast starter is on, so I'll report back later!