Monday, September 17, 2012

Marley's Ghost: A Minor Set-Back at Eight Months

Eight months in.

Eight long months.

Yes, it got a bit warmer in the basement than I was expecting—into the high 70ºs, maybe the highest around 80º. Everything was fine, until that day. That day when I strolled down the cellar stair with a load of laundry. That day when I was stopped in my tracks by the sight of the carboy's rubber bung lying helplessly on the concrete floor. That day which every bit of dust, every microscopic bug, every errant hair or spec of dander was now ready, willing and able to infect my precious brown bounty.

Had it been minutes? An hour? Hours? Days? The last time I had paid any mind to it had been a week earlier—all quite on the western front then. I told myself that everything would be fine—and I kept telling myself that—until today. Again, loaded with laundry, I trekked into the basement. It's cooler now, just above 70º. I filled the machine and turned my attention to the beer. Moving aside the light blocking, black t-shirt covering the jug, I inspected my experiment. The pellicle looked as if it had thinned, and stringy bits of it dangled like stalactites into the inky liquid. I know pellicles drop, so I wasn't too alarmed. Over the last few months I also noticed the chalky layer of pellicle had changed color, going from white to buff, and now to a British khaki. But there was something else, something insidious,


But all is not lost. Apparently, it's not all that uncommon for Brett-ed beers, stored for a length of time, to develop a little mold—think of air cured salami, or cheese rinds. The stringy bits is also a sign that the pellicle is beginning to end its run of course. So, it looks like I'll be bottling Mr. Marley sooner than my expected December 1st deadline. The next challenge will be racking off the beer without disturbing the thinning pellicle. I don't think the mold is harmful, but I'd still rather it not be in the beer.

Do me a favor and let's collectively cross our fingers for no more little set-backs.

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