Monday night Angelos and I brewed up a couple batches of beer. We both went on the cheap, which isn’t so cheap anymore… He brewed up a maple amber, and I an English bitter. Each of our batches ran about $30-$35, which for 2 cases worth of beer each isn’t bad, but isn’t quite the $20-$25 it would have cost before the hop shortage and gas increases.
Here’s the very basic ingredient list I whipped together for the English Bitter:
6 lbs Munton’s Extra Light dry malt extract
2 oz. Fuggles hops
1 packet dry ale yeast
Yep, that’s it. $30. Still cheaper than 2 cases of Sam Adams, but not the bargain it once was.
As for the brew schedule, once the brew pot was up to a boil I added the dry malt extract and brought that back to a boil. Then I added 1 oz of the Fuggles hops and started the boil countdown at 60 minutes. Then at the 30 minute mark I added the other ounce of Fuggles. normally I’d save some for the 10 or 2 minute mark for aroma but I wanted most of the hops to go to bittering and to flavor.
One hiccup in the process. At about 15 minutes remaining I noticed my propane burner was burning low, and suddenly it went out! Ah well, now I know a tank of propane will last about a year at our current brewing frequency. I had to switch over to the tank Angelos had used (fortunately he’d finished his boil and was on to chilling) and set my clock for about 20 minutes to make up for lost boil time while on a lower flame. We’ll see what this did for the flavor.
The rest of the brewing went fine, and after chilling down to 70 degrees my wort weighed in at 1.057, which is right where it should be for a nice session ale. Should it finish at or below 1.017 I should have a nice 5 to 5.5% ABV beer.
While brewing we sampled many a tasty beer:
Péché Mortel – One of our favorites. An amazing Imperial coffee stout. Cold, lightly carbonated espresso with a kick to the liver.
Lagunitas Olde GnarlyWine – This was a bit of a disappointment. Though it had potential, it was too extreme on both the malt and the hop side. Now, I love me a malt monster and a hop bomb, but this one was just odd. First, it’d hit you with more sweetness than I’d expect even for a barleywine, and then the flavor would flip to a drying hop wallop. I couldn’t see drinking more than one in a sitting. it was that overpowering.
Mac Queen’s Nessie – Another malt bomb, but light enough that it wasn’t overpowering. It had more of a deep blond color than it’s supposed red ale style, and definitely had more scotch ale character than any other style.
Trappistes Rochefort 10 – This is one of the classic great examples of Trappist ales. Nice balance of malt and hops, and man does it have a kick!
Westmalle Trappist Tripel – One step above Rochefort 10 in overall experience though not as high in alcohol. This is pretty much a perfect beer, and one of my favorites.