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IPA #2 2021

IPA 2 for 2021, in glass on table.

My second IPA has a danky nose, not quite forest, but no citrus scents. Solid head, though; tiny bubbles on top that are dense and white. The overall color is darker than I intended but all that I could get  was amber liquid malt, so….there you have it.

The head is pleasantly ticklish on my lip, and the middle of the beer isn’t too intense. But the roasted elements of the liquid malt seem to show up and add an extra acrid quality to the finishing bitterness. As a result, there’s a little bit of a ‘roof of the mouth’ scouring element. I’m using my tongue to wipe away the flavors. Not because it’s bad, but because I want to cleanse my palate.

Call this an ‘almost there’. I think if the roasted qualities weren’t present, I’d have a beer I enjoy more.

Brew Date: 8/8/21

Steeping grains
3 lb Munich
3 Lb Lamonta pale
2 lb Vienna

Fermentables: 3 lb liquid Munich

Hops
1/5 oz Centennial, 1 oz Galaxy @60
.5 oz Galaxy, 1 oz Centennial @20

Yeast: Imperial’s Flagship (2nd use)

OG: 1.062

FG: 1.01

Added .5 Galaxy Aug 13
Bottled: 8/15

ABV: 7.0%

IPA 1

I made a run of IPAs during July/August and here’s the start of ’em!

IPA in glass

Nose has a quality like cut grass, but much sharper, as if it was broken pine needles. Green, but intense.

There isn’t much to the midrange, in this beer. It doesn’t lack malt but it doesn’t want to let the malt stick around for long. No, get that outta here, we’ve got some bitterness to introduce.

The bitterness, fortunately for me, isn’t overwhelming. It lingers and it’s almost got an herbal quality to it, but it stops short. The tongue scraping isn’t necessary.

It’s drinkable (which is a low bar but I do meet it!) and not so overpowering that it would wreck a palate, I think. But it definitely fits the criteria for more modern IPA hoppiness. No complains.

Brew date: 7/24/21

Steeping grains
3.5 lb Maris Otter
3.5 2 Row
1 lb Biscuit

Fermentables: 3 lb Golden dry malt

Hops
1 oz Ekuanot and Chinook @60
.5 oz Chinook, 1 oz Ekuanot @30

Yeast: Imperial’s Flagship

OG: 1.062

FG: 1.012

Added .5 oz Chinook 6 days in

Bottled 7/31

6.77506775067751

Back in The Saddle

May amber ale in glass on table

After a break, I’ve started in on brewing again and….

Once again, a malt-forward beverage. The nose has a nice, strong grainy quality. But…sorta.

That is: this picture and I think this particular example isn’t quite doing the beer justice. As a batch, this beer has been a little more heady with the pours, allowing for some better visual representation. I may have to have a second to do this justice.

That doesn’t mean this bottle is bad. Heck, there’s a pretty steady run of bubbles that I can feel on my tongue that finishes this beer.

Also, this beer is one of the clearer beers I’ve ever brewed. The chill haze is diminished, though not eliminated, but that’s alright. The perfect doesn’t have to be the enemy of the good. 

On top of all that, this was the first beer I’ve brewed since April and I forgot to get an original gravity reading!

All of this reminds me that beer can be temperamental. That you can have the right beer on the wrong and have it come out badly. That there is genuine skill at having not only a good beer, but a consistently good beer.

This is a good beer, but I’m not sure it is consistent.

Brew Date: 5/30/21

Steeping grains
3 lb 6 Row
4 lb 2 Row
1 lb 15C caramel

Fermentables: 3 lb Golden light dry malt

Hops
1 oz Nelson Sauvin @50
1 oz Evergreen @5

Yeast: Imperial Tartan (2nd use)

FG: 1.01

Forgot to get OG

Bottled: 6/5

April Pale

Pale ale in glass on kitchen countertop

Grainy nose; the malt is forward in this one. The flavors are much the same: the hops are hiding out on the finish in this beer, and while they do offer a little bitterness to keep the beer from going off the rails, I’d definitely not mistake this for any of the hop forward styles. I’m not even sure this would hit a pale-though it certainly shares enough DNA with the style.

It does have a little bit of that papery flavor though; this beer is past its prime, unfortunately.  It’s not bad for being stale, but it is nevertheless stale. On the upside, the next batch is going to be fresh and should be quite good!

Brew date: 4.3.21

Steeping grains
4 LB 2 row
2 lb Vienna
1 lb biscuit

Fermentables: 3 lb dry pilsner malt extract

Hops
.5 oz Galena 1 oz Loral hops @ 60
1.5 oz Galena 1 oz Loral hops @5

Yeast: Imperial Tartan

OG: 1.064

FG: 1.01

Bottled 4/18

ABV: 7.3%

Spring Pale Ale

Spring pale ale in glass on desk

This pale has got grain in the nose; caramel from the C45 malt. That malt is doing a lot of work here, making a pale a bit less paley. The finish is pretty clean-the effervescence persistent through the beer, making for a good palate cleanse. Sparkly, but not sparky on the finish.

Again, for a beer that is being served well past it’s time, I’m not picking up a lot of stale elements. There is a solid hint of bitterness on the finish, which also helps balance out the sweeter qualities in the nose and initial impressions.

I’m having to drink this beer a little quickly though; it’s warming up too fast. I don’t want to drink it in the bottle-that will mix the yeast up and might give me more off flavors that this beer didn’t earn.
But it’s got a nice set of flavors going on. Not bad!

Brew Date: 3/20/21

Steeping grains
3lb Maris Otter
3lb Vienna
1 lb C45

Fermentables: 3 lb Dry Malt extract Pils

Hops
1 oz Amarrillo, .5 oz Bravo @60
.5 oz Bravo @30
1 oz Amarillo @ 5

Yeast: Imperial pub (3rd use)

OG: 1.064

FG: 1.015

Bottled 3/26/21

ABV: 6.6%

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%

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%