Monday, October 05, 2015

Home brew - official tasting

Back at the end of August I did some experimentation with an "all grain" brewing kit and made some of my own beer. Ever since then my brew has been conditioning in bottles in a nice cool dark place and this weekend (since it was my birthday!) I thought I'd be brave and risk cracking one open. As you can see in the picture above, it certainly looked the part! A nice foamy head, good carbonation and perfect colour for the kind of beer that it was, i.e. American style IPA (India Pale Ale). I was expecting a cloudy beer but it turned out reasonably clear with very little bottle sediment although it was very lively, i.e. once opened the beer did it's best to exit the bottle!

The key question of course was how did it taste? I'm happy to report that it tasted great (verified by 3 impartial judges) the aroma was authentic, and the taste malty, rich and full of hops which gave it a nice citrus and (subtle) mango character, it also held it's 5% alcohol well too. If I had any criticism at all it would be that there was a tiny bit too much yeast flavour appearing on the finish and perhaps it could have been a little sweeter but no one else noticed. I think next time I'll allow it to ferment a little longer (it was possibly a little too cold where I stored it during that stage) and I also need to improve the way I do the sparging step (which is where the mashed grains are washed) as I didn't have a suitably large strainer, this was perhaps to blame for a slight reduction in sugars ending up in the wort and available for the yeast to work their magic on.

Overall I'm really pleased (and surprised!) with how this turned out; the only downside is that my kit is a small one (1 US Gallon ~ 6 UK pints) and so between a couple of friends a batch gets consumed pretty quickly! Since doing this initial experiment I've done 2 more brews, another IPA (with different hops) and a Summer wheat beer based on Kent Goldings hops, both need a few more weeks of maturation before they're ready but now I can't wait to try them!

If you're interested in the hops for this recipe then they comprised a fiendish mix of Ahtanum, Chinook, Simcoe and Nelson Sauvin.

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