Thursday, January 4, 2007

What's wrong with my Fat Tire Clone?

I recently attempted to clone Fat Tire. If you aren't familiar, Fat Tire is brewed by the New Belgium Brewery. It is widely available in places where I DON'T live. In other words, it is very hard to find in southern Minnesota. So, my solution: clone it.

I followed a recipe in Scott R. Russell's book "North American Clone Brews" (I love this book). I followed the partial mash recipe and used Wyeast 1214. Things went as advertised, but when I first tasted it, I was disappointed. I can't describe what is wrong. I need to train my palate to ID off flavors and the underlying chemical cause. It smells like baking yeast. I don't know if this is a result of preparation or contamination, but I intend to find out. I can still drink it. It is NOT dump worthy. I'm drinking one right now as I write this.

My first attempt to ID the offending volatile chemicals will be to do solid phase microextraction (SPME).I just got some SPME equipment and am itching to try it out. Basically, SPME involves the adsorption of analytes onto a "wick" followed by desorption in the inlet port of a GC/MS (or HPLC). It is obviously more involved then that and the good folks at Supelco will gladly give you more info. As you may find out during the next few weeks, I will be on an SPME kick for a while. I already analyzed the volatile compounds of some hops and pine needles. Stay tuned....

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