I racked the beer into my glass carboy this morning. Specific gravity was an amazingly low 1.025 (give or take a few thousandths), indicating that the beer is already almost finished fermenting. That was really fast, and it also may account for the lack of activity I noted in my post a couple days ago. However, I’m still not convinced that my bucket lid is airtight. I’m much more confident in the carboy, and the carboy is occasionally bubbling, but there’s definitely not much activity. At any rate, it looks like the beer will be ready to bottle before too long. My first good bottling opportunity is coming up in two weeks, on the weekend of the 22nd-23rd, when (by some miracle) we don’t seem to have anything else going on. Barring that, we’ll try to get it done the week after Christmas. With any luck, it’ll be carbonated and ready to drink around my birthday.
Taste-wise.. the sample was nice and smooth with the spices (orange, cloves and cinnamon) dominating the flavor. Strong but not overpowering alcohol taste, with just enough hop flavor to balance things out. Definitely tastes like it’s almost done.
Really happy with these results so far. I’m sure the starter culture contributed to the fast fermentation, so I’m going to try to do one for all of our future batches.