Here are some questions pitched straight to you homebrewers out there.
* Was is wrong to use tap water to dilute the boiled wort? Naturally my genius brain forgot that the Giant Eagle one block away has gallons of spring water for 79 cents. I guessed that municipal water is fairly clean, but maybe I was wrong about that.
* Priming yeast – overrated? Answer – no. I “primed” the dry yeast by soaking it in room temperature water for ~20 minutes. Apparently that wasn’t enough, or I didn’t check to see whether I temperature-shocked it, because the tepid fermentation tapered off after less than 48 hours.
* I couldn’t find a wort chiller at the nearest homebrew supplier’s website so I made my own with 3/8 OD copper pipe, some plastic tubing and a tap adapter. I hope this is ok.
* For the purists out there, is plug hops an acceptable alternative to loose leaf? I have a feeling that this by itself could spawn a thread-devouring flamewar, but in the long run that’s probably healthy.
* There has to be some way to tell whether your batch has gone bad before you go through the trouble of bottling it. Any advice about that would be much appreciated.
* Bonus question for the science-minded brewers out there (that’s you, Demi): neighboring labs work primarily on S. cerevisiae, the same species that bakers and brewers use. Logically I could use their stuff and never buy a yeast packet again. Right? This matters because a friend plans to graduate soon and I though it would be particularly cool to brew a batch using one of the strains that she based her work on.
Somebody pointed out on the last thread that brewing is an addiction more than a hobby. That is so not true. I know because I spent at least 80% of my day not thinking about how I am going to do better with batch 2 (an extra-hopped porter, syrup again).
As for the commercial stuff, the bottles that batch 1 eventually goes in will be a mix of Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, a basic (for them) workman’s beer priced to compete with Sierra Nevada but much richer, and the surprisingly big Commodore Perry IPA from Great Lakes. In the likely event that you can’t get Commodore Perry where you are, mix a Lagunitas hop bomb with a 60 Minute from Dogfish Head and you’ll have the basic idea.