On The Road Again

When I was younger we had this family friend, a polite way of saying an adult that hung around whether I wanted him to or not, named Mike. Now, I didn’t particularly enjoy his company, but one thing he said once has stuck with me for decades. We were working on the deck at my parents house; I was being regularly chastized for the work ethic I was exhibiting. To be clear, this is the same work ethic exhibited by most teenagers when pushed to complete tasks in which they have no interest. There was a mistake in the plans and things had gone awry. Mike told me that the mark of a master is not in his ability to create excellent work, but in his ability to overcome mistakes and continue on to create excellent work. I’ll be honest, the deck ended “comme çi, comme ça”, but the lesson remained.

So, this past week I took the lesson learned and went to consult with the masters at the local homebrew shop. They presented a few solutions. Turns out I used all three. It was likely akin to killing a fly with a sledgehammer, but I think it’ll get it done.

Step 1, toss in another 1.5 tsp of nutrient. It’ll help get the existing yeast going.

Step 2, toss in 1.5 tsp of yeast energizer, it’ll make the yeast feel alive and get them back to work.

Step 3, add more aggressive yeast. Now, this one was interesting to me because, as we discussed, I didn’t really want to go for turbo yeast. I opted for vodka yeast because it should keep a relatively low flavor profile and it’ll keep kicking until about 18% ABV (which will yield an additional 5% to the batch).

I tossed all of these into the fermenter and gave it a stir. The results were immediate and very interesting. The bubbles started firing through the airlock. I assume a lot of this was shaking loose the light carbonation I had noted previously, but it never stopped bubbling (though it has gone down in frequency from the initial push).

I am also throttling up the heat. The lalvin d-47 is happiest in the low 70s. The range on the vodka yeast is between 68 and 90F. I have decided to shoot for the mid 70s to keep it in it’s optimal window.

Not that it really has any bearing on fermentation, but I also swapped out the stainless steel top for a clear plastic piece so that I can observe the inside of the fermenter. For the purists out there concerned that light will inhibit the process, I will add that I’m keeping it gangsta as summer turns into fall up here. The fermenter is being kept warm by a low heating pad bungie strapped to it with blankets over it. No additional light will hit the batch unless I’m peeking.

No plastic top yet, but here’s the gist of the setup.
Freshly sanitized.

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