Kicking off another Woodeforde’s kit today, using the Fermzilla for the first time. Approximate procedure:
- Wash & sterilise Fermzilla, bucket, spoon, etc while kit tins are warming.
- Empty both tins into bucket, add 3.5 litres boiling water. Mix.
- Add two near-freezing 5 litre bottles of Tesco Ashbeck from garage, one more bottle from the spare bedroom that’s around 12 ℃. Top off with cold tap water to get around 20 ℃.
- Pour everything into the Fermzilla. Not easy, next time use a large funnel.
- Take OG reading, pitch yeast, go clean up.
This kit contained two sachets of “69 Premium” yeast with no weight markings, but my new scales confirmed them to be 7g each, which seems a bit stingy. I thought those small sachets were normally 10g? Also included are two bags of hops; 100g Cascade and 100g Amarillo, which I’m supposed to add on day 4 of fermentation. Again, a bit stingy. I’ve been bitten once or twice before by hopping according to instructions, so I might play it by ear and try to dry-hop slightly later.
Then there’s the issue of pressure fermenting. Lagers and pale ales are said to be OK when fermented under pressure right from the start since pressure prevents the release of esters, but those are more desirable the darker a style gets, so I’m going to just do the last couple of days under pressure. Again, this depends on how quickly the beer ferments and my ability to judge the remaining time, so we’ll just have to see.
When fermentation is done I’m going to take the Fermzilla out to the garage for cold-crashing (it’s 2 ℃ out there right now) and then I’ll make a call as to whether or not I’ll leave the beer in there until serving – in which case I’ll remove the trub via the bottom bottle – or whether I’ll do a sealed transfer into my shiny new Cornelius keg. Either way I’ll have to wait for the sediment and hops to fall to the bottom so that they don’t block up the floating dip tube. One idea might be to employ one of my new straining bags, but that could get stuck in the butterfly valve prior to dumping the trub and might be more trouble than it’s worth. Need to sleep on that one.