Hey there readers,
So, as promised in my last update, my next brew (also from extract) was another American Pale Ale (APA). The Spring APA was quite a successful experiment, but for this batch I wanted to amp up the hop content and really get both the hop bitterness and aroma that is characteristic of this style. In order to do this, I once again used Citra as the bittering hop, and my own home grown Cascade hops from last year’s harvest, but this time I amped up the quantity. I had come to the conclusion that my Cascade hops had lost a lot of their potency due to improper storage (they were not frozen originally, although vacuum packed), and thus decided to double the content of Cascade in the recipe, assuming a 50% loss in potency. The majority of the fermentable sugars for this brew will come from 3kg of light dry spray malt, augmented with a little bit of crushed Crystal Malt, which I steeped in warm water for 30 mins prior to the boil. This “mini mash” is just another way to put a unique spin on the malt base of an extract brew and make it slightly more unique than just using malt extract alone.
The upped hop content worked out great, having tasted the APA a week ago I can safely say that the bitterness which I intended has come through. The hop aroma was also present, but still not quite to the quantity which I had hoped. For the next iteration of the brew, I think I will increase the amount of hops used for dry hopping. Furthermore, since I am dry hopping in a muslin bag to prevent too much of the hop pieces from making it to the final brew, I believe this may be limiting the amount of hop aroma imparted.
The label for this brew followed the structure of the Spring Pale Ale, but altered the colour scheme a bit, as well as the logo:
I’ve added a side label with a short description of the beer as well as instructions to pour it carefully, as most people are so used to filtered beer that they do not really know how to pour a live beer with a yeast sediment at the bottom.
Overall I am very pleased with this batch, and look forward to tasting how the flavour profile develops as I continue storing it for a little while. Next up- a Midsummer Ale!
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.
So I’ve been a little busy lately. Between attending Glastonbury and having a couple of friends visit me from Norway, I have slowed down on the home brewing front. But that is about to change. So without further ado, let me give you all an update on where I am on my home brew adventure.
I kegged my second kit, the American IPA, a few weeks ago and so it is ready to drink. I gave it a little tasting session a couple of weeks ago, but have not touched it since then. I must say, the extra weeks spent in the cellar have certainly not gone unnoticed. The flavour has become a lot smoother, although some of the hop aroma from dry-hopping has disappeared. It is very drinkable indeed, although being an unfiltered beer it lies somewhere between a Weissbier and an IPA. There is a slight yeast sediment, I am hoping to eliminate some more of this in later brews through filtration- using a small hop straining bag and attaching it to the end of the racking tube.
My third kit, an American Pale Ale kit from Young’s has now finished fermenting and is ready to be kegged. I was originally going to bottle this one, but I had not purchased the necessary kit on time, and don’t think I can leave the beer in the fermentation vessel for much longer. But, good news- last night I splashed out one all the gear needed to produce my own bottled brew! I also bought a fourth kit, An American Mocha Porter, so am looking forward to making and then bottling it in the coming weeks. The dream of owning a micro brewery is slowly coming into fruition. This Porter will be my last kit brew, after which I will be moving on to extract brewing, and hopefully all-grain once Autumn comes around. If you want to learn more about the different types of home-brewing, there is a very well-explained and simple to understand guide here.
As always, thanks for reading, more updates coming soon!