Saturday, March 29, 2014

Like spaghetti

Some things are just better the second time.

I put all my hazelnut brown ale in the fridge the other day, hoping that the cold would cut the taste a little bit, or it might help dissolve the CO2 a little better (longshot). I cracked one open last night, and I have to tell you:

It was delicious.

Why? Were the flavors too green when I tried it first, even after a week and a half? Did it just take more time to prime with honey? Who can say? But it's dark as a nightmare and rich as a turtle cake. Carrie tried it, and she said it felt like "it hits your tongue, then drops right down, you know? Like it's heavy, but not in a bad way, and definitely not sticky."

We're going to call it Trapdoor. Because every beer needs a name, right?

I wanted to enter this beer into Untappd as a homebrew, but it tells me I should have a brewery name if I want to log my homebrews. I have no idea what to call my brewery. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Diagnosis Beer, and other plots

I think I know what went wrong with the last batch.

I used honey as a priming sugar. For anyone who's tried to mix honey into anything, much less a not-hot thing, you know what I mean when I say that it probably all sunk to the bottom. Where all the trub is. So it probably didn't all get poured into the bottles, explaining the flatness. Womp womp. Lesson learned.

Lesson so learned, in fact. I'm trying to use my spanking new installation of Ubuntu to its full potential, and got an app called Symphytum. Seriously simplified my recipe-keeping and note-taking. As Palmer says in How To Brew:

The difference between a good brewer and a lucky brewer is documentation.

In the mean time, I have the green light to upgrade to a five-gallon bucket. Looking into a citrusy, back-porchy pale ale for the coming Spring. I can taste it already.

If you're reading this, you're probably thinking about similar thoughts (I hope, because fear not, Spring will be here soon enough). What kind of beer do you think of when the flowers bloom? What does it taste like? Yardwork? Lemonade? The first bonfire since October? I'm honestly curious: leave a comment.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Cappening

At long last, the beer meets my lips. And since I'm drinking it while I type this, it has not caused me to die. So, by any tolerable measures of success in a first-batch, I think we passed.

It has been a very long time since my last post-- I am well aware. Work has been nuts, Magoo has been needier than usual (we're sure he's growing teeth... somewhere), and in the pauses, I am just not up for posting. So, to catch y'all up:

We bottled last Tuesday, on Feb 26. We got seven bottles out of a gallon fermenter, short of the 10 bottles I was counting on. We ended up having to pour the beer into the bottles through a funnel, which is absolutely not what you're supposed to do. The beer got crazy aerated, but we bottled it without much problem. And none of the bottles exploded, which is an acceptable bonus.

You should have seen the look on my wife's face when I mentioned that possibility.

Now, the beer has been happily conditioning in its new dark homes in a cabinet in the kitchen for over a week. Tonight, we decided it was appropriate to celebrate my first big SAS program at work running without a hitch by opening up one of these babies and pouring it out. Oh, I was nervous. And excited. I would usually argue that these are the same thing, but I was too excited and nervous to think.

I poured it correctly, leaving the yeast in the bottom... where it belongs. I don't want gas tonight.

I smelled it, and it was passing, but I thought it smelled a little funny. Like fruit and marshmallows. I mean, beer, too. But it took me by surprise. Then I took a sip.

Flat. Damn it.

And it was really sweet! Very dark, very fruity, and I registered almost zero hops.  I was very disappointed. However, it's still better than most of the beer at the store. And it does finish clean with hazelnut, which is pretty baller.

Maybe I'll go a little simpler with the next one. And maybe scale up to a bucket.