I thought I would take the time to give a quick update on where I am on my homebrewing journey. I am please to announce that my first ever extract brew was a huge success. At first it contained a slight unpleasant bitterness on the finish, but after aging for a few weeks in the cellar this has completely disappeared. It is now a lovely pale ale, light malty backbone with a good hop presence and quite a dry finish. Very palpable indeed. The one thing I would say is that it ended up being closer to an English pale ale rather than a hoppy American one. This is probably due to the degradation of the hops used in the brewing process- I used my own hops from the garden, harvested last September. I stored these hops in vacuum packed bags, but not in the freezer. I believe that this may have led to the loss of some of the aromatic qualities of the Cascade hops. For my next batch, I plan to use close to double the amount (if following the same recipe), as the Cascade variety can lose up to 50% of its potency during storage.
The brewing itself stalled for a while as I had a faulty gas tap on the burner I had purchased. However, Amazon were amazing at giving me a full refund despite the fact that I did not even retain the original packaging. Love those guys. I have now bought a replacement burner which I have just finished setting up, so the next brew should be coming very soon! Future plans currently include two more extract batches- another APA/IPA, and a more traditional English session bitter for those summer barbecues. Needless to say I will be using mainly American hop varieties for my APA/IPA (as well as Cascades from the garden) and English hop varieties from my garden (Fuggles and Prima Donna) for the English ale. As always, I will post the results of future brew days here, as well as anything else interesting I come across on my journey.