I think my yeast starter experiment worked. In fact, it worked so well that I was awakened this morning by my fiance’s screams coming from the laundry room as she stood in a large puddle of Oatmeal Stout krausen spewing out of the fermentor. We spent the better part of the morning cleaning up the mess, which also unfortunately got all over our new luggage. That was some serious CO2.

Interestingly, my fermenting IPA also had a bit of a blow-off issue, but not nearly as bad as the stout. Either I’m getting better at preparing my yeast, or there’s more fermentable sugars than I thought in those batches.

Now that things are under control, it’s hopefully smooth sailing for another week or so before I rack to the secondary. I’m a fan of cold conditioning…it seems to help the beer clarity and, from my experience, translates to better beer flavor with less trub floating around. It’s amazing to see the difference in coloring after a couple weeks in the refrigerator. Cold conditioning also means I can enjoy my beer more quickly once I keg it, as the beer is already at the desired temperature to absorb higher volumes of CO2.

So I got a little sidetracked. I’d planned on brewing the Oatmeal Stout today, but when I got to the brewery supply store, I changed my mind and went with a nice hoppy IPA. I did get ingredients for the stout, however, and will brew that later this week.

I tried something slightly different today as well. My last beer, an abbey ale, didn’t ferment very well using Wyeast 3787. I’ve never had problems before with the liquid strains, but this one proved difficult. It could have been an issue with my aeration, but I can’t be certain. I ended up pitching some dry Munton’s after nothing happened for five days, and that did the trick. But the flavor profile was certainly affected. The beer turned out pretty well, but I’m sure it could have been better.

That said, today I set up a yeast starter for the Oatmeal Stout using the Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale strain. Since the stout is a slightly higher original gravity than my IPA (about 1.065), I’m sure the starter will help get things going in the right direction. For the IPA which I brewed today, I simply pitched the Wyeast 1098 British Ale from the smack pack, as I usually do. Hopefully it works OK.