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Dr Jekyll’s Nasty Side

You may recall that I gave my most recent batch of homebrew the moniker Dr Jekyll. Maybe I should have picked a nicer character to name it after? I finally got round to setting up to bottle this afternoon but discovered that it had turned nasty. A pellicle (a thin floating film) had formed on the surface and, although the gravity had got down to 1.011, the taste was more like a cup of vinegar than a glass of young beer.

I’m afraid this one went on the compost heap. The previous brew, Septale, also formed a (lesser) pellicle and was a bit sour but that has settled down in the bottle and is quite palatable. However, there I was aiming for a fairly sour taste; this one should have been quite sweet and malty and I didn’t think it was worth the bottling time to find out.

What went wrong? The two main contenders are either that I didn’t properly sanitise the equipment after the last brew or, more likely, I left it too long. Although I minimise the flow of air to the brew, there is a small gap to put my temperature probe in and, brewing in the same pot I use to boil up the wort, means there is a large surface area. Next time I’ll have to go to town on sterilising everything that might come into contact with the brew and, probably more importantly, make sure I’ve got time to bottle in good time. My most successful brews tend to have about a week between the yeast going in and the beer going into bottles and I think that’s what I’ll aim for next time.

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