I was hoping to make a cream ale for summer: something light and easy to drink with the heat. Plus, it would be a nice break from the IPAs that this year has been centered around.
The upside of this batch: color and clarity are outstanding. A lovely tawny shade and possibly the clearest beer I have made!
The nose has a little bready quality but it’s faint. The beer itself is where it falls apart. Too sweet, too boozy. Not quite sickly sweet but sweet nevertheless, in a way that isn’t pleasant.
The body is too dense; this beer lingers on my tongue like bad seafood. This is despite a solid bubbly quality that exists on the finish.
I’m being a little hard on this beer. It isn’t undrinkable. I just don’t want a second one, because the beer has too much alcohol and not enough flavor. It’s malt liquor, not tasty beer.
Fortunately, it’s easy to figure out where I went wrong once I reviewed my recipe.
I effectively doubled the amount of fermentable sugars in this recipe, without balancing anything else. Why? What was I thinking? I have no idea. But at least it’s an easy problem to fix!
Brew date: 6/16/19
5 lb 2 row-Copeland pils
3 lb Vienna
Fermentables: 7 lb ExLME
2 oz Mt Hood @ 60
2 oz Amarillo @flameout
Yeast: Imperial’s Tartarn, 3rd use
Second IPA homebrew of the year!
The nose has a bit more citrus to it, less dank forest, but some of that foresty quality shows up too.
The reason this version has more citrus going on is because the OBC was gifted a bunch of Mount Hood hops and I figure; hey, let’s just use a bunch of these. So I deviated from the standard recipe in order to use them. I can’t be surprised that the beer is a little different.
The finishing bitterness is still pretty intense though and more old school bitter, piney so I’m keeping at least some of the qualities I’d expected. Good drinkin’ beer.
Brew date: 5/19/19
7 lb Lamonta
Fermentables: 5 lb ExLME
1oz Centennial, Mt Hood @60
.5 oz Mt Hood @ 30
.5 oz Mt Hood, Centennial @5
Yeast: Imperial Dry Hop (2nd use)
2ndary 6/4: Added 1oz Mt Hood, .5 oz Centennial to secondary
It’s the first homebrew IPA of the year!
I’m trying a few new things this year. First: IPAs themselves.
Second: I’m trying to condense the time spent from brew to bottle. If I can get a beer bottled in three weeks, that would be ideal. Fresher IPAs are notably better and better beer is the goal.
The bottling process did not go smoothly, though. The hop pellets I added to secondary broke up into tiny pieces and I didn’t think to strain them out. This meant that my bottling gear got jammed up and the process of un-jamming it both made a huge mess and opened the beer up to contamination. I think I got lucky enough to miss the contamination part, but the cleanup was a pain. Something to fix in the next batch.
The nose is tilted towards pine, but it isn’t overwhelming. Still, it is present throughout the glass, thanks to some consistent bubbly head forming all the way down.
The overall flavor though, is muted. I’d almost go so far as to say bland? There’s some malt there, some bitterness on the finish; this beer is only cloudy due to my imperfect process, likely resulting in chill haze, not because it’s a juicebox. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t stand out either and I wish it had a little more character. Again, something to work on as I go.
Brew date: 4.7.19
7 lb 2 row
1.25 lb C60
Fermentables: 5 lb ExLME
1 oz Centennial @80
1 oz Centennial, Cascade @15
.5 oz Centennial, Cascade @ cooldown
Yeast: Imperial Dry hop
Transfer to secondary: 4/26, .5 oz Centennial, Cascade hops added
I forgot to get a photo of this, sadly. But I promise, it looked like a stout, no question: very dark and like a light repellent.
Nose has both chocolate and marijuana in it. They’re both fighting pretty hard for dominance but the edge goes to the marijuana. Even 2/3 of the way through the beer, the marijuana is coming on strong.
Chocolate kicks in more as I drink it, but it’s never enough to deny the marijuana flavors entry to my taste buds. I went hard on the pot in this beer and it shows.
The finish is a little dry, little sharp; the chocolate flavor doesn’t have much sweetness coming with it. It’s also nicely effervescent, so it feels light on the tongue, despite having flavors that are strong and linger on my palate.
Brew date: 2/27/19
1 lb Chocolate
3 lb Maris Otter
3 LB Ballad
.5 lb Carabrown, Obsidian
Fermentables:5 lb LME
Marijuana: 2 and 1/8ths oz Blue Dream
Yeast: Imperial’s Tartan
At least from the 2018 run of beer.
I really dig the nose on this; pleasantly bready and yeasty. It’s not as clear or bright as I would hope for but that’s a pretty low level complaint, all things considered.
With that, I think I’m reviewing this beer near the end of its life cycle; that is, it’s very, very bubbly. That isn’t the end of the world, either but it IS not what I would consider “to style”.
I wish there was a little more malt here, a little more density. It’s perfectly drinkable, but it’s just shy of the mark. I seem to remember that it was better, a couple weeks ago when I first cracked it open.
Something to think about.
Brew Date: 1/6/19
3 lb 2 row
1 lb Chorus
2 lb Vienna
1 lb Blue Ballard
.5 lb C60
Fermentables: 4 lb EXLME
.5 oz Loral and Azacca @60
.5 oz Loral and Azacca @5
Yeast: Imperial Flagship (3rd use)
The nose on this is exactly where it should be. A little sweet, with some roasted quality to help balance it out, a bit like cooked sugar.
The malt quality, though; this is where it’s at. Following through with the scent qualities, there’s this strong malt sweetness that is exactly where I’d hope it be: carmalized sugar. Which means that there’s a tang of roasted quality there which keeps it all in check.
This beer is really good, and a great way to bring this experiment to a close. I will certainly use this recipe again, since it hits the marks well. This ale is drinkable as all get out and light enough for cool summer days, plus anytime in spring or fall.
Brew date: 11/18/18
4.5 lb Metolius
2 lb C 20
1 lb Chorus
.5 lb Encore (C50)
Fermentables: 5 lb Extra Light Malt Extract
1 oz Golding, 1 oz Lemondrop @ 60
1 oz Lemondrop @5
Yeast: Imperial Flagship (2nd use)
Put into secondary 12/13