June 12, 2009
Slacking on the brewing updates…
On Monday I brewed a basic golden ale. Nothing fancy. In fact, downright simple.
6.6 lbs golden LME
1.5 oz Fuggles hops
1 packet dry English ale yeast
Boil time: 60 minutes
Boiled LME with 1 oz hops for the full 60 minutes, adding the other 0.5 oz hops during the final 10 minutes. Chilled to 70 degrees, aerated, pitched yeast dry, and sealed the fermenter.
May 29, 2009
About a month ago I brewed my imperial honey amber, and bottled it this past Wednesday (a month to the very day, how ’bout them apples!). The short impression: Jeeeebus!!!!
Upon opening the fermenter, the boozy honey smell even overpowered the carbon dioxide! A beautiful amber color, this beer siphoned clean into the bottling bucket. Gravity reading came in at 1.014 down from 1.086, yielding a whopping 9.6% ABV!
I stole a taste before adding priming sugar. Wow! Just, wow! This truly is closer to wine than beer. Even the 11.1% Imperial IPA I brewed a long while back wasn’t this wine-like! Must have been the 5 pounds of clover honey. Man, it was just sweet enough to play well with the alcohol. Very floral, very delicious! I can’t wait to see how this one matures!
Note to self: Hide a 6-pack somewhere you won’t think to look for at least a year.
April 28, 2009
A quick post to capture the brewing…
6.6 lbs amber LME
5 lbs clover honey
3 oz Hallertauer hops
1 packet dry ale yeast
Boiled about 3 gallons of water, added LME and honey, and wait-wait-waited for that dense mess of goop to return to boil. It took about 20 mintues or so for it to go from a mass of hot steaming goop to a sudden exposion of boiling. There was no middle ground, which was odd… no indication that it was about to boil. Bus FOOM!!! Anyway, I’d added 2 oz Hallertauer along the way to help prevent boil-over. Once it broke boil I boiled for 35 minutes, then added the last 1 oz of Hallertauer for 35 minutes. Removed from heat, transferred to fermenting bucket, added cold filtered water to 5 US gallons. Chilled to 70 degrees, took a gravity reading: 1.086, which was less than I’d expected (was hoping for low 1.09s). Aerated, pitched yeast, and closed the fermenter.
Got a note from Angelos this morning. His is bubbling away again and mine’s not. I’m not sure what is going on, but for about the last year this has been the case. We both go through the same motions, and gravity seems to have nothing to do with it. His beer takes off overnight, and mine slowly pokes along. Ah well.
March 18, 2009
I Should know by now that my batches will be fine, but I still can’t ignore an opportunity to try a young bottle a week or so after bottling it.
I’m trying the blackberry ale I bottled last Monday. Carbonation? Yep. Well, can’t let it go to waste!
It’s still too young to take any real tasting notes, but it’s a nice golden color (still hazy) and has a great blackberry nose to it. There’s still some priming sugar left to be eaten by the yeasties, but I’m getting some nice 2-row malt coming through in the nose as well.
This is a lighter-bodied beer, and the hops are predominantly bittering and ring through nicely. Some nice subdued blackberry in the flavor as well (I used a little less than 2 oz of blackberry extract for my entire 2-case yield).
This will be a good session ale, especially with the warmer weather coming back.
March 10, 2009
Back on, wow, February 5th I brewed a random batch of generic beer. Since then it’s been sitting in the fermenter, racked down once to a secondary. Last night it made its way into bottles.
Original gravity was an average 1.054, and the final reading was 1.012, putting this beer at about 5.7% ABV. Average through and through.
I decided to use the remaining 2 oz. of my blackberry extract as I racked into the bottling bucket. This gave it just enough blackberry flavor and aroma to mask this beer’s averageness.
The beer itself is a rather hazy light tan color. Hops and malts are fairly subdued, and now with the blackberry in it I can’t distinguish any real notes of character. I’ll have to wait a couple of weeks before anything is likely to shake out. That won’t stop me from a “test beer” now and then. You know, to check for carbonation, funky flavors, proof of alien life, and the answers to all of my problems.
Of note, we ran out of priming sugar, so we had to supplement the 1/4 cup of corn sugar with a 1/4 cup of table sugar. I’m hoping this will be ok. Angelos and I both Googled for an answer and came up somewhat mixed but leaning toward “it’ll be fine”.
I’m soliciting ideas for what to brew next. If I can get all the ingredients for a sorghum beer I’ll likely try that, though I’d like some backup plans. Ideas?
February 26, 2009
24 days of bottle conditioning later, my ESB is what I would consider done. And man, it’s delicious!
Nice hiss of carbonation release when popping the top, a gentle pour yields two full fingers of slightly golden head. The color is a nice deep copper and is crystal clear. Any haze introduced was from agitated sediment at the bottom of the bottle, and even that fell cleanly to the bottom of the glass quickly. I can see straight through it as if it were clear copper-colored glass.
Aroma is very mild. Mainly bread/biscuit notes with a very faint trace of hops – barely anything to speak of – lending some mild orange notes. Perfect for the style!
Flavor is a full and bready, not sweet at all (priming sugar is finally used up). Nice robust bittering going on in the finish, with that mild orange coming through in the end. Again, exactly what I was going for.
Finish is clean and refreshing. Very thirst-quenching!
Mouthfeel is solid. Not too thick, not too thin. Carbonation is exceptionally light, giving it an almost milky sensation on the tongue.
Overall, I’d take one of these over my staple ESB of choice (Coniston’s Bluebird Bitter). The slightly darker malts give this a far more robust biscuity flavor, though everything else I love in a good bitter is dead-on accurate. This recipe is going into “the vault” to be brewed again!
February 15, 2009
I decided to try my ESB again tonight, to see how the 2nd week’s conditioning went. I’m really liking where this beer is going!
There’s still some priming sugar of note, but it’s very slight. I think one more week should do it. The malts are coming through very nicely, and the bittering is very subtle on the attack, yet rings through strongly on the finish.
Still a slight haze to it, but much less than last week. I think I may have been able to spy straight through it as if it were glass had I not picked up some of the sediment on the pour. I can now see some decent lacing on the glass, though again due to a gentle pour there wasn’t much of a head on this pint. Carbonation is present though almost milky on the tongue.
This is a very mellow, delicious, and highly drinkable brew!