Category Archives: homebrew

March Munich

Munich redish ale in glass on counter

So for a beer I brewed in March, this is holding up alright. The head is persistent, it’s got a decent maltiness to it-but, this beer was made with a lot of Munich malt, as a way of spotlighting it.

And it’s been so long that I don’t quite remember what Munich malt should taste like!

However, there’s a pleasant enough caramel nose, which means I’m not going to complain.

This beer has got a very nice texture to it as well: heavy enough to provide some weight on the tongue but oily enough that it slides right over it. I don’t get much in the nose, and I think that’s a small drawback. There might even be an ever so slight touch of paper on the finish, a sign that the beer is going stale.

It’s a passable beer; Not sorry I have one, but can’t tout it as one of my better efforts, either. Might’ve been tastier if drank at optimum conditions.

Brew date: 3.6.21

Steeping grains
3 lb Munich
3 lb Vienna
1 lb Digngemans Aromatic malt

Fermentables: 3 lb dry malt extract pils

Hops
1 oz Willamette, .25 oz Falconer’s Flight @60

Yeast: Imperial Pub yeast (2nd)

OG: 1.06

FG: 1.012

Bottled 3/14

ABV: 6.5%

Brown Ale 2021

I’m still missing the mark on color.

Brown ale in glass on desk

That’s the biggest disappointment, honestly: it’s just not as light as it should be for the style.

And like the last beer, it’s a bit too bubbly for style: the champagne yeast kicking up a storm again.

But, the beer is chocolatey without being too sweet, despite what the ABV says it doesn’t taste too potent, nor does it seem to have that level of impact on me. It’s got a lighter, drinkable quality to it-and although the champagne note on the finish is throwing things, it’s not bad. Just out of place.

Brew date: 2.6.21

Steeping grains
3.5 lb Vienna
3.5 lb 2 Row
.5 Special Roast, .5 lb Chocolate

Fermentables: 3 lb Gold Light dry extract

Hops
1 oz Fuggle .5 oz Cascade @60
1 oz Fuggle .5 oz Cascade @5

Yeast: Omega’s Gulo 3rd use

OG: 1.072

FG: 1.01

Bottled 2/13

ABV: 8.4%

Amber 2021

Amber ale in glass on kitchen counter

The nose has a sweet, yeasty quality. As though it hasn’t gone through the frequent funkificaton that yeast often does. 

I get a little caramel malt flavors in the middle but they are swiftly bushed aside due to the effervescence of this beer. 

Which is, frankly, just too much. It’s far too intense for the style: ambers are usually subtler ales, offering an easy drinking experience. The finish on this is so sparkly, it’s got a little bit of that ‘tongue touching a 9 volt’ quality that throws the whole thing off. 

So, this yeast just isn’t working for this style, unfortunately. It’s not undrinkable, but I’d offer it to someone with qualifications. 

Brew date: 1/24/21

Steeping grains
6 lb 6 row
1 lb C 40
.75 lb Victory

Fermentables: 3 lb Golden light Dry malt extract

Hops
1.5 oz Kent Golding, .5 oz Summit @60
.5 oz Kent Golding, Summit @5
1/2 tsp Irish moss @5 (for clairity)

Yeast: Omega’s Gulo (2nd use)

OG: 1.062

FG: 1.008

Bottled 1/30

ABV: 7.3%

Cream Ale 2021

This isn’t hitting right. I can sense it in the nose, actually. This beer is off. It smells a bit like old paper.

Now, it’s reasonably malty in the midrange: some caramel there, and pleasantly bubbly too, so nothing sticks around long. However.

The finish? It brings back that old paper flavor. Not my best work, is all I can say.

Brew date: 3.6.21

Steeping Grains
3 lb Munich
3 lb Vienna
1 lb Digngemans Aromatic malt

Fermentables: 3 lb dry malt extract pils

Hops: 1 oz Willamette, .25 oz Falconer’s Flight @60

Imperial Pub yeast (2nd use)

OG: 1.06

FG: 1.012

Bottled 3/14

ABV: 6.5%

Less Than Awesome

Pale ale in glass on countertop

So, this didn’t come out so great. I was trying a new yeast-it was  on sale and it described itself as adding Brut champagne characteristics. I figured, why not?

But it took 36 hours to get active and I think that contributed to a beer that just…missed the mark. It was overcarbonated, and tasted uneven; sometimes a little floral, sometimes a little dirty.

Brew date: 1.9.21

Steeping grains
3 lb Weyermann Vienna malt
3 lb Great Western 2 row
.75 lb Mecca Grade Opal 22

Fermentables: 3 lb dry pils malt extract

Hops
.5 oz Summit, 1.5 oz Centennial @60
@ 5 .5oz Summit, .5 oz Centennial

Yeast: Omega Gulo

OG: 1.059

FG: 1.012

Notes:
Added 1/2 tsp Irish moss @ 5 min for clarity

Bottled 1/18 to let the yeast finish up

ABV: 6.4%

The Last Cream Ale (of 2020)

The nose is more bready than yeasty, but there’s some overlap. A sourdough influence is present, I would say but not disruptive. An accent scent.

Cream ale in glass on countertop

The head on the beer is a bit thin, but the effervescence is constant, so that’s good.

Buuut. The flavor has a hit of that tea-cinnamon flavor, left over from the yeast I used on the winter warmer. This is a disruptive element, in a beer that I was really hoping would be bready and clean. It doesn’t make the beer undrinkable by any means, but I have to acknowledge that it’s a fly in the ointment.

So I’ll take that as a lesson to do keep my yeast as clean as I can-until its last use. Then, adjunct away!

Brew Date: 12/26/20

Steeping grains
4lb Pilsner malt
3 lb Vienna

Fermentables: 3 lb dry extra light

Hops
1.5 oz N Brewer @ 60
.5 oz N Brewer @5

Yeast: Imperial House yeast, 3rd use

OG: 1.06

FG: 1.01

Bottled 1/2/21

ABV: 6.8%

Smash Cream

So, here was a fun one. A single hop and (mostly) single malt cream ale that I was hoping would be an interesting spin on all the beers I’d been brewing in 2020.

And…it turned out OK! But it was a little less ‘interesting spin’ and a little more one dimensional, even though I added hops days later to try and bring up the hop elements.

Still, it wasn’t bad: nothing too intense, but like most SMASH beers, more of an interesting idea than an excellent beverage.

Brew date: 11/28/30

Single malt, single hop cream ale in glass on counter

Grains: 7lb Pilsner malt

Fermentables: 3 lb Extra Light Malt extract

Hops: 1.5 oz Northern Brewer @60
.5 oz NB 5 days later

Yeast: Imperial’s House

OG: 1.054

FG: 1.012

Bottled 12/5

ABV: 5.7%

Just Half

The black tea cinnamon comes up in the nose…and unfortunately dominates most of the flavors of this beer.

Winter warmer ale in glass

This is a surprise; I did not think that 3/4ths of an ounce of tea would be enough to dominate five gallons of beer. And yet….

With it comes a less pleasant wood flavor, herbal, a little dirty. I don’t think this got infected, but I probably need to rethink how I use tea in my beers.

On the upside, I really only want half a bottle before I can move on  to the next beer.

The downside is there’s 48 bottles of this…

Brew date: 12/12/20

Steeping grains
1.5 lb Opal C20 malt
.5 lb Carabrown
6 lb Maris Otter

Fermentables: 3 lb ExLME

Hops/other
2 oz N Brewer @60
.75 oz Chai tea @ flameout

Yeast: Imperial’s House (2nd use)

OG: 1.06

FG: 1.008

Bottled 12/19

ABV: 7.0%

Hoppy amber

Amber ale in glass on table

I took this recipe from the Homebrew Day 2020 post by FH Steinbart’s for a hoppy red ale.

The nose is still malt forward, with a little bit of caramel, a little toast but not much in the way of hops.

Which is actually OK: the malts are right up front when I drink the beer, but a nice citrusy bite comes around on the finish to keep things tidy. It works better than I would’ve thought. A pleasant, drinkable ale.

Brew date: 11/14/20

Steeping grains
4 lb Munich
2 lb Dextrapils
1 lb C 75

Fermentables: 3 lb Extra light malt extract

Hops: 1.5 oz Centennial @60

Yeast: Imperial Loki (3rd)

OG: 1.06

FG: 1.012

Bottled 11/21

ABV: 6.5%

Expectations

Whenever I’ve had Sorachi Ace hops in the past, they always had a lemongrass quality to them, which I dug on. So when making cream ales this year I thought: those would be perfect, right?

Cream ale w/Sorachi Ace hops

Then the pandemic happened and I couldn’t find them. But I kept my eye out and then…they were back in stock. So, I was eager to give them a go-what could be better than the crispness of a cream ale with a hint of lemongrass?

The results were not as hoped though. The nose is a little soapy and that is a bummer.
The flavors don’t have much lemongrass in them either. There’s some caramel in the middle, which is good, and the finish is dry and maybe a little grassy? But this didn’t come together like I wanted. The nose is definitely off the mark.

It’s not the worst thing but I  wish I’d gotten a little closer to what I envisioned.

Brew date: 9/19/20

Steeping grains
6lb Mecca Vienna malt
2 lb Great Western 2 Row

Fermentables: 3 lb ExLME

Hops
.5 oz Azacca, 1.5 oz Sorachi Ace @60
1.5 Sorachi Ace .5 Azacca @5

Years: Imperial Pub (2nd use)

OG: 1.065

FG: 1.01

Additions
2 tsp Gypsum (for water hardness)
1/2 tsp Irish moss at flameout (clarifying agent)

Bottled 9/26

ABV: 7.5%