I checked again tonight. No more fermentation, gravity settled around 1.009, taste is dry and nice. So much for my imagined diacetyl and a warning: Last night I was sure the beer was history. So I found something. It has a bit of an estery character, not much at all and possibly the result of a few days fermenting at 76 degrees – my basement’s ambient temperature this time of year here. But in my certainty that the beer was going bad, I found what I expected. This is a lesson to me and to all brewers: Appearance matters. If your beer is clear and bright and nicely colored, a judge or consumer is going to expect it to taste good. As will you. So a key to brewing is to get the appearance right.
The beer is back in my lagering fridge for a quick crash of the yeast, then bottling in time for serving at the Oktoberfest party on October 3rd.