Unscrewed the top off the barrel of the latest brew to be greeted with a good 'Pssshhhhh...' followed by a slight waft of sour beer. Pouring in the finings and giving the beer a little stir, the smell was reminiscent of lambic beer, or Gales Old Ale, or even a porter I once had - that had been made in the now seemingly forgotten tradition of mixing green and stale beer to give a slight sour aftertaste
Now I'm partial to all of those beers, but I was a little worried. Firstly, I had 9 litres of the stuff to drink, and I bet that even Stuart Heron (one of many erstwhile GBBF co-visitors, with a passion for seeking out the weird and wonderful) couldn't manage that shift! Secondly, I was a tad concerned as it wasn't SUPPOSED to smell like that, and the stuff had only been in the barrel for 3 days!
Then, I found the issue...the top of the barrel had cracked. Clearly a little air had got in and oxidised the beer (not strictly what tends to happen in sour beer like lambics). Fortunately, the pressure seal must have been doing some good, as the release of gas from priming had given it that 'Pshht' upon opening.
So, what to do??? Well cue a trip to the Hop and Grape webpage. Even if I had to fret for three days, that's better than nothing! Bits ordered, I wandered around the corner to Holland & Barrett, just in case! Weirdly, this place on Shirley Road still stocks home brew stuff. Even more weirdly, it was open on a Bank Holiday Monday. But uber-weirdness of all, it had a spare pressure barrel lid.
The moral of this tale is, as I have suggested before, even a health food shop can provide a better service on the brewing front than somewhere local designed to fit the bill!
Fingers crossed no more leakage, and a decent beer to sample. It had better be, it is due to be tapped on my birthday!!