It’s not too often that I feel like I really get to be proud of what I did, but this is one of those times.
For a first stab at a cream ale, I really like what I did here. There’s a pleasant sourdough nose, the malts are sweet but not grainy, and the finish is reasonably crisp. There’s even a subtle bitterness from the hops, which helps set the whole thing into balance.
The head on the beer isn’t quite as strong as I would like, which means that the effervescence on the finish doesn’t quite pop as much.
However, for the first time trying, couple with new methods of bottling, I feel like this is a pretty serious upgrade!
Brew date: 3.22.20
4 lb Blue Serenade Vienna
3 lb Weyermann floor malted pils
Fermentables: 3 lb light LME-amber (doh)
1 oz Hallertauer @60
1 oz Hallertauer @10
Yeast: Imperial house yeast, 2nd use
So, this was the first homebrew I drank this year. I’m getting by on a technicality but I’m OK with that. It took this long to get to this beer, because I had an abundance to drink and just didn’t get to it until March…so I keep that in mind as I review it.
The nose has an old hops scent. It is similar to what I get from fresh hop ales that have been around too long. Almost vegetal, and it is a little off-putting.
Still, given that the beer is three months old, that’s not too bad.
Fortunately, the flavor profile improves upon the first impression. The caramel malt gives this pale a nice counterweight, and the finishing bitterness doesn’t have any trace of the nasal qualities. It’s just a solid bitterness.
If I’d been drinking this beer in January, I bet it’s freakin’ excellent. Still, that it’s this good now speaks well of the change in my process and I’m definitely keeping this up for the future.
Brew date: 12/22/19
5 lb Ballad Munic
1 lb Caramel 5
2 lb 2 row
Fermentables: 4 lb ExLME
1.5 oz Ekuanot @60
.5 oz Ekuanot @5
Yeast: Imperial House
This is the 2019 batch of the imperial milk stout I make every year.
The nose has a hint of alcohol to it, but also a little bit of dried fruit too. The flavors include elements of chocolate, milk sweetness, and I’d say fig. So that’s all good. It’s not as chocolatey as I’d like, and the dried fruit qualities are just a bit off of what I want.
I was told by a homebrewing pal that the dried fruit quality was the result of the beer starting to oxidize-to get stale, if you will. In this style, that can be OK, but in most styles of beer, that isn’t what you want! Which means I’m going to change the way I make beer-but we’ll save that for when the next batch comes up.
It’s a pretty easy drinking stout though, given its strength and flavor intensity. There’s a nice clearance of the palate with the effervescence, so it’s easier to take another sip. But it’s strong, so this is a beer that is good to share if a second bottle gets opened. Works pretty well with desserts, but isn’t as complementary with other foods.
Still, not bad.
Brew date: 9/28/19
2 lb chocolate
.5 lb Carafe 3
5 lb Maris Otter
3 lb Opal 22
1 lb Golden Promise
2 lb Lactose
7 lb ExLME
Hops: 2 oz Mt Hood @60
Yeast: Imperial: Darkness (2nd use)
This one is a puzzler. I was shooting for a pale ale and…well. No.
The nose and the finish remind me of cheap lemon soap.
I mean, there it is: I don’t have much more to add. The flavor that some people pick up when they eat cilantro; this is what I imagine they’re going through.
The suggestion that this was left too long in the fermenter doesn’t wash, because I bottled it 15 days after brewing. It’s possible that the hop additions or this combination of hop additions produced this-I’m definitely way off the map for the recipe I’ve been using most of the year.
It’s troubling, too, since I tried to make sure everything was sanitized well. I kinda need an expert on this one.
Brew date: 9/14/19
7 lb 2 row
1.25 lb encore
Fermentables: 4.5 lb ExLME
1 oz Simcoe, ekuanot, Azacca @ 60
.5 z Simcoe, ekuanot, azacca @30
Yeast: Imperial Pub (3rd use)
Well, this was a disappointment.
Everything seemed to go well-the first week, this beer was tasty! I got the hop nose, and the bitterness on the finish seemed about right. (This is part of my IPA series for 2019).
But then the infection kicked in and the beer just tasted dirty and bitter. I had really thought I’d gotten it right but no, no this just does not work.
Then again: the note to self about cleaning means cleaning, and don’t skimp on the work.
Brew date: 8/25/19
.5 lb pale
2 lb C 60
Fermentables: 7 lb Golden light LME
1 oz Mt Hood, Simcoe, Centennial @60
Yeast: Imperial Pub (2nd use)
Added 3/4 tsp Gypsum, 1/2 tsp Irish Moss to water for hardening and clarity, respectively
Secondary: 9/3, adding 1 oz Simcoe, Centennial hops