Saturday, August 2, 2008

Brewing Updates

So there has been some activity on the beer brewing front - thought some of you might be interested...

I'm down to my last two bottles of Czech Pilsner, which I brewed two or three months ago at this point. The last time I had a bottle was about a month ago, and the flavor had really matured and melded by then, so these two bottles should be great. My brother had a bottle of it last week and seemed to think it was good as well. We're having a crock-pot BBQ farewell party to a friend who was in D.C. for a law internship this summer, and I'll serve up the last two bottles there.

I just bottled a classic American lager last week - the plastic bottles I put it in are already rock-solid, which bodes well for good carbonation and a substantial head. It looks a little darker than I would like, but that's not surprising with the homebrew ingredients I've been using. They've always turned out darker than pictured. Oh well - should be on the lighter side in terms of taste, which is the idea. I'm going to bring all two gallons of it to the Outer Banks, where I'll be lazing on the beach with my wife, sister in law, her fiance, and two other friends for the last week of August. It's my birthday week and you're allowed to bring plastic bottles on the beach, so I plan on enjoying my homebrewed American lager on the hot sand.

Last night I brewed my next batch - "Blonde Bombshell" - a honey wheat beer that my brother and his wife got me for Christmas. I have high hopes for this one. It has a wheat base to the wort, plus the recipe called for adding honey which means it will be nice and sweet. It also called for additional hops, which means it should be a moderately spicey beer. I think the spice, with the softness of the wheat and the sweetness of the sugar will make for a really great Autumn beer combination (it should be ready to drink at the end of September... I've found that four weeks of fermenting and four weeks of carbonation is ideal to get things fully fermented without any odd residual sweetness or yeastiness).

When this is done fermenting, at the end of August, I'm going to start brewing two other Autumn batches I just got from my homebrew supplier: "Dutch Apple Ale" and "Full Moon Marzen". Dutch Apple Ale is a cider, with an English Nut Brown wort. The recipe calls for brown sugar and cinnamon to be added, which should taste great. The other neat thing about this recipe is that instead of adding water to the wort, it calls for adding apple juice! The yeast will eat that in addition to the brown sugar and wort, and give it a really great apple taste. My wife loves hard cider - one of the few beers she'll drink - so we like to have cider on hand in the Fall.

Marzen is another typical Autumn beer, despite it's name. The beer is called "Marzen", because it would be the last batch of beer the German brewers would make, in the month of March. After that, it would be too warm to brew. They would brew their Marzen, and then store it in cool cellars all summer. The casks wouldn't be cracked open until September or October, making it a traditional Autumn brew with strong associations to Oktoberfest, especially.

So I'm torn on which to brew first of these - the Marzen or the cider. The wheat ale should be done at the end of September, which means one batch would be done at the end of October and one at the end of November. After both these I'll brew a darker winter/Christmas batch.

I also got equipment to bottle the beer in glass bottles with crimped caps! - none of this plastic coke bottle stuff any more (despite its convenience for drinking on the beach).

We're going off to the store soon, and I need to restock beer anyway. Now that I'm in a beer mood I think I'm going to get something good... no JW Dundees, despite the fact that its a really tastey value-buy.

1 comment:

Evan said...

Whatever you do, I'd like a bottle set aside for me when I come in December. Happy to see I made it into your post, too. I wish I remembered more about your beer so I could share my thoughts here. I think, since it was the first home-made beer that I had ever tried, the taste was too different for me to get a real handle on how I would describe it. I'm inexperienced enough with beer, and the uniqueness of a home brew was just too much for me to offer anything really intelligent here.