One good thing about revisiting brews I’ve done before is that it gives me a chance to learn more. I like to think that I’m not trying to relive the past by brewing an older beer but instead refining my process, learning more about how it’s done. The whole point is to brew right, not in a dictatorial style sense but instead in a consistent manner that produces mostly predictable results.
So it is for this reason that I go back to the camomille wit beer brewed years ago that was eventually served at the Horse Brass. I was part of a team and benefited from the skill and equipment of that team, nevertheless I feel like this brew ought to be within reach.
So I made the wit again. Twice, actually, but I added about half a pound of dark malt extract to one batch. Here’s a photo from the wit without the dark malt:
Looks pretty tasty, ya? Tastes pretty good too. Has a dry finish, slightly bitter and, unfortunately, a touch dirty. I’m not sure what caused that. I did add an extra half-ounce of tea to this batch and it may have boiled a little long. It’s not a ruined brew but it isn’t quite as drinkable as I’d like.
This one-which I made first-I added half a pound of dry dark malt extract to and has a very, very different flavor to it. Let’s take a look:
So this beer is spicier. There’s a cinnamon element that comes in at the end and the dryness of the lighter wit isn’t present at all. Yet the yeast is responsible for all of this; I’m not just a little amazed. The differences are impressive and I’m going to chalk it up to my skill as a brewer that both of them came out pretty well. That the first beer is more obviously complex than the second is good to keep in mind for future brews.