With two days off and a few empty fermentation vessels, we decided to go back-to-back on the brew days with two very different versions. On Monday, April 6th we brewed what will become a (still unamed) peach blonde ale. It will become peach flavored just after fermentation as the peach extract flavoring will be added to fermented brew before racking into bottles. Everything on this brew day went just swimingly with no issues that would be expected to cause contamination. The only possible issue was with a discrepency involving less dry malt extract being inserted into this batch. The kit that we ordered from MoreBeer.com said that it included 7 lbs. of extra light DME along with the other necessary ingredients. The contents of the package, however, were mostly included except for 1.5 lbs. of DME. We called the company and asked if there was a mistake or typo of some sort, but they assured me that they replaced the 7 lbs. of liquid extract with 5.5 lbs. of dry which imparts a higher gravity pound for pound than liquid. We went along with the recipe as planned and the batch came in about 0.010 under the recommended O.G. Oh well, this will just have to be a weak version, as long as the taste is there. After contamination issues, it would be good to have at least one batch turn out.
Speaking of contamination issues.
So we brewed the unamed choco-orango-cayenne stout using an offshoot of the Muckalee Irish Stout recipe. As planned we brewed 3 gallons of the chocolate stout with 1 gallon containing orange peel, and another gallon containing orange peel and cayenne pepper. After brewing and pitching, we set the airlocks up and let the yeasties do their thing. Well, the yeasties did their thing a little too well with some krausen creeping up into the airlocks. We scrambled to set up three blow off tubes with relative success. Later in the day, the CO2 release was slowing enought to allow the airlocks to be reinserted. During the re-airlocking, we pushed a little to hard which pushed one of the rubber stoppers completely into the version that contained the orange and cayenne adjuncts. We remained calm and just taped a different airlock over top of the vessel... hopefully this works. If not, we will be dealing with more contamination but only with a one gallon batch.
Maybe we are just a little unlucky, maybe we need to be more careful, or maybe we are getting to learn all of these lessons early in the process. Only time will tell.