Is this getting easier? Â Am I hitting my stride?
Or am I running out of ideas and conversations to have with myself?
I feel the pull of a linked post. Â Lots of pictures, lots of links, lots of formatting and indentation calling me.
There was a post recently on the Watcher’s blog where there was a discussion of yeast.
One of my last beers I did a yeast experimentation. Â I brewed a Saison and bottle conditioned half the batch on the standard primary fermentation yeast strain. Â The other half I inoculated with a “wild” yeast called brettanomyces.
It is a comman wild yeast in a lot of belgian beers and many american beer which try to create these beers.
I grew the brett from a bottle of Orval as they also bottle condition with this variety.
It is interesting as a yeast, since it is highly alcohol tolerant, which allows it to ferment to a lower final gravity. Â Ok, I just lost all my non-brewing audience with that one, so, how about a primer?
Brewers will often talk about gravities. Â You will hear phrases like “high gravity beers” as well as the measurements of OG, SG and FG.
So what does this all mean?
SG: Specific Gravity
Specific Gravity is also Relative Density, or how dense a liquid is compared to water.
OG: Original Gravity
This is the SG of the wort (pre-beer liquid) before yeast is added and fermentation begins. Â It, in combination with the yeast selected (more on this another day) define how strong the beer can become.
FG: Final Gravity
This is the SG of the beer when fermentation is ended or stopped by the brewer.
Basically, to get from these measurements to something most consumers care about (and perhaps shed a little light on weird Utah liquor laws):
(OG-FG) * 105 = Alcohol By Weight or ABW
ABW * 1.25 = Alcohol By Volume or ABV
What does that have to do with Utah? Â Well, most of the beer drinking world knows %alcohol in terms of ABV. Â But Utah regulates it’s over the counter and draft beer by ABW.
So while it is not “full strength” beer, it isn’t terribly weak either.
Standard “6.4” beer is 6.4% ABV. Â But that is only 5.1% ABW.
Draft beer in Utah is 4% ABV or 3.2% ABW.
Is it weaker than elsewhere? Â Sure, but not a huge amount. Â And the reality is, unless you are dealing with mostly macro-beers, alcohol content is all over the map and varies with both brewer and style. Â And even the style guidelines that beers are judged under can have a range of target alcohol that can be several percentage points.
So, what does that have to do with the wild brett and the saison? Â Well I ran down the rabbit hole and think that will have to wait for another day, but at least you know that I will be here writing tomorrow, so won’t be long…..