Blog 6 – It’s Alive !!!

Brew day was Saturday; it is now Wednesday (yes I’m late again with the Blog).

It took nearly 24 hours; but it happened, there was a bubble, then another and another – we have the start of the conversion of sugar to alcohol and CO2 – we’ve successfully entered the final stage of the manufacture process – the fermentation.  From there its just condition / carbonation and DRINK !!!

The idea now is to control the temperature, maintain the state of sterility and hope that the full conversion of sugars occur from SG 0f 10.42 (10.43) to 10.10 – this will afford a final gravity of 4.2 – 4.3%. Of course even with a successful full conversion there is still the wait to see if there is a presence of contamination or off flavours – its all very exciting.  I am reliably informed that 2 weeks in the fermentation vessel is usually best, even if the fermentation completes after a few days, give the yeast time to clean up – so that is what I am planning on doing; there are some very experienced brewers out there and I intend to listen 🙂

My thoughts and feelings around potential failures at this point are with stuck / halted conversion (fermentation) – which can be remedied with more yeast – as long as the sugar present in the wort was indeed fermentable but I am sure the temperature of the mash was spot on there. Or worse, that the beer turns bad, but again I was excessive on the clean so am confident there too.  My only other worry was that I pro-longed the boil to obtain a better (closer to planned) SG and though I removed the hop spider, I just worry that the bittering hops still present might have increased in IBU’s to a point of being unpalatable – Christ this process is stressful !!!

For those that know me, know that I am data driven; the process of making beer contains many, many data points so I have enjoyed at least documenting the data of this journey so far.  Part of my entering the world of home brewing was to learn and understand the science of the craft and in doing so set about working to optimise and improve the process, my process and maybe beyond.  There are many tools to use for this, some maybe familiar with Lean and Six Sigma toolsets.  Without going into a long winded spiel of what is what – Lean is basically about the identification and removal of waste from a process; where waste can be applied to anything – such as process time, efficiency gains, production set-up etc.  And Six Sigma is about Quality Control and process variation (or indeed the control of it).  Now this might not be everyone’s “bag” but it is mine and I am really looking forward to it.  Once I have decided on the who, what, where, how and when – I shall include it in my blog for reference.

For now I wait.  The brew kit is all cleaned and sparkly, I am considering my next brew (over the Christmas period) and I am developing a model for optimising my process.  Where it is true that you cannot gain the experience of someone that has 500 brews under their belt without brewing the same, you can achieve the same quality in much less brews with a controlled process – this is what I want to achieve.  This is what I am hoping to share and offer something back.

Until next time.


Stewart (aka Drunk Delilah Brewery)


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