Homebrew for all
So early in my professional, err, personal brewing career. Huge difference ehh? When I went sans brew partner, I went partial mash. When I went partial mash the brew went high ABV. Some by choice, one by mistake. Or rather honestly, hind sight, by miscalculation. More on that later. So my first three partial mash brews were happening rather quickly of one another. In one way it was good, now that I see there is a such of a thing as a ‘brew season’ in the south. Try keeping a primary fermenter at 68F when it’s mid 80’s outside. I keep the house comfortable, but not frigid. Winter, well, it’s a meat locker. Both HVAC units are struggling today. It was 102F at 5:00p.m. when I got home. Trying to cool a house to 74F at that temperature outside seemed a challenge. Thankfully the previous owners had all the windows tinted. In a bad way, I was rushing my learning curve. I think of myself as a quick learner – slow thinker. Hand me some tools, equipment and such, I’ll figure it out soon. Throw me a problem, and just give me a few minutes to think about it. I rush into nothing. My wife will second that. Let’s look at ’em!
Strawberry ale – ale brewed with fresh cut strawberries in the last 15 minutes of boil. Three pounds of fresh cut strawberries added to secondary fermentation. Tasted and smelled great start to bottling. Came out of bottling oxidized. Not sure what happened here. Rushed on getting them bottled. I can’t remember if I used the hot wash cycle or not on the dishwasher. When I pour some of them out I see strawberry seeds. Some are great, which leads me to believe I didn’t clean the bottles effectively enough. As soon as I pour a bad one I can smell it. A simple sip confirms. They are still drinkable, just not as enjoyable. I poured one tonight, and it poured with perfect clarity. I didn’t even have to smell it. So that there confirms it’s a combination of bottle and seed contamination. In my honest opinion anyways. At 7% ABV and 11 IBU this is an easy drinking beer. Feels light, tastes light, looks light, and will kick you in the rear. C-
Sarah’s Imperial Peach Dunkelweizen – Dunkel is German for dark, similar to a hefeweizen. Often brown and murky due to the yeast, with low bitterness. Well this fits perfect. Minus the fact that it’s 8.3% ABV. The average alcohol for the group is 4.0%-7.0%. I totally miscalculated on the percentages here. Wheat should make up so much of the mash, and it did. However I didn’t take into account that I was ‘over adding’ six pounds of wheat extract. Three pounds is was I based the recipe on. I intentionally bottled all of them in 22 ounce bomber bottles. These are the bottles you find in bottle shops with imperials in them. The size of the bottle reminds me I need to share it with Sarah. Another batch I missed the mark on but rather enjoyable. If you were drinking it out of a bottle you would love it. But the color distracts the common beer consumer. B-
Lemon Wheat Ale – A wheat ale brewed with lemon zest from four lemons add to the 15 minutes left in boil mark. I was originally planning on adding more to secondary. However I was smart enough to taste a sip during racking to realize it was well ‘lemonated’. We call it Summertime Fun Ale around the house. It’s based loosely on Sam Adams Summer Ale. Using the same malts and adding lemon and Seeds of Paradise. It ended up kind of sweet, I think mostly due to poor or low attenuation. Attenuation is the process of the yeast turning the sweet wort sugars into alcohol. Good attenuation will produce a nice dry beer. Much like the common consumer, well, consumes. Low attenuation will produce a sweet beer, which I have here. So there are more sugars left in the beer, instead of converted. It’s 6.3% alcohol by volume, ABV. Not bad. A better attenuation might have produced a 6.5% ABV and a nice dry beer. Sarah says it’s the best beer I’ve made yet. A neighbor sampled one and has since asked for four more to share after bragging about them. He says I can sell it. I don’t think so, but thanks for boasting my confidence. After a few days in the fridge and an easy pour they will finish completely clear with a nice head. I agree, it’s the best yet, why not many of them are left. I wish I had more to share. Sorry I don’t. B+
I can say that the next homebrew is tasting quite nice in early priming days. I sampled two over the weekend after just a short week of priming. The Slow Rye Pale Ale already has a nice head. Nice retention. A nice spicy taste on the tip of the tongue with a bitter after taste. Officially, it’ll be ready July 3. I will sample a couple more next weekend, just to realize how the taste changes during priming.
Until next time, maybe before Dominican, maybe after, remember beer is about quality, not quantity.