The Mysteries of Brewing

The Cherry Blossoms have just about reached their peak and we celebrated last night by having a barbeque. In Japanese the word is “hanami“. The English translation is the nice, punchy “Cherry Blossom viewing party”. Just proves that some words are better left untranslated, in my opinion. All the while my brew continues to fester….sorry…ferment, though the former description may still prove to be more accurate.

Since Brew Day, I have been looking in more detail into the potential effects of my errors on the day. I have also met two like-minded people who are very keen on setting up a Brew-Pub. It was great, but they were bringers of less than perfect tidings.

Well, it turns out that the errors on the day were this. 1) It looks very much like I probably pitched (threw in) double the amount of yeast that I should have…oops. This may produce some ‘off-flavours’ and make my ale a bit non-descript, as a lot of the sugars would have been turned to alcohol. Therefore it may also be a bit more potent than I thought. But, I am no expert, yet. So there is Mystery Numero Uno.

The next mystery, is a little more positive. It turns out that what I did by leaving the hop bags in after ‘flame-out’ (turning off of the heat) through the cooling phase was rather similar to something called an ‘aroma-steep’ or ‘hop-steep’. This is usually done to ramp up the hop flavour and aroma. So that may not turn out too badly…if the over-present yeast don’t drag all of that down to the bottom of the bucket with themselves as they ‘flocculate’. Love that word, by the way, kind of reminds me of erectile dysfunction…not that the Green Man has any ‘flocculation problems’ you understand. So getting back to my ale, Mystery Numero Dos is ‘will my ale be hopp-ier than I thought, or not?’

As for meeting a like-minded couple, it was a mixed blessing. Of course, it is always great to share information and experiences, but the information they shared with me was that the Japanese Brewing License is an absolute swine to get a hold of. Basically, it is set-up to stop competition with Japan’s massive established breweries. Not a massive surprise, to be honest. However, the Green Man will have to prove that he can produce and shift 60 Kilolitres of ale before he can get a license. To put that into perspective, that’s over 10,000 litres of beer a week! Bit of a jump from 5 litres every month, wouldn’t you say? There is no half-way house. Even worse when you consider that brewing a beer of over 1.5% alcohol at home is illegal! So, although the Beer industry is officially de-regulated, in fact, it is nothing of the sort.

However, The Green Man is not to perturbed by such trifling ‘challenges’. The existence of at least three small-guy breweries in my own Prefecture attests to the fact that it can be done. And the like-minded people I met are going for it anyway. It may take some imaginative problem solving, but I’m not giving up yet. He says, having not tasted even one brew of his own brews yet…

This weekend is bottling time. I will be back to give you the low down and taste notes from that. Until next time.

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