Deadringer IPA - 4.9% ABVI've done this recipe several times as a 1 gallon batch but something went amiss when I attempted it at 2.5 gallons. I think I added too much water because the ABV was about one percent too low. That didn't phase me as it would still be a tasty brew. However after a few weeks in the carboy I detected a distinctive cidery smell from the airlock. That couldn't be good. When I finally bottled it I found that the cidery taste was very evident as well. I was pretty bummed and I'm thinking the cause was simply fermenting too high? In retrospect my temp control method was jank and the temp hovered around 68% for the most part. It also took a long time to carb up but thankfully the cider taste/smell has somewhat abated with time. Certainly not a great Bell's Two-Hearted clone but drinkable.
Not-Quite-Imperial Stout - 7% ABVMade on the stove at the same time as the Deadringer, this 1 gallon batch was a disaster from the get-go. It was a last minute decision to attempt it when I realized I had all the ingredients on hand to give it a try. First of all I used my old canning pot to bring the wort to a boil, but it's waaaaaay to wide for a 1 gallon batch and the evaporation rate was crazy high. I didn't occur to me until nearly the end of the brew session that I barely had any wort left. Then my attempt to use a paint strainer bag as I poured the wort into the fermenter just resulted in a big sticky mess. Finally the messy transfer was done and I was greeted to a much lower than expected ABV. 7% isn't that low but it's definitely not in Imperial Stout territory.
Three weeks later and my plan was to transfer it to secondary and leave it for a while. I was worried about duplicating my barleywine secondary fiasco but luckily I picked the right wine jug and filled up a 3 liter bottle just so. There was also enough to sample but sweet Christ it was sweet! And...weird. It just tasted strange. So I dumped 3 ounces of Jim Beam into it and now I'm going to leave it be for many months. Let's see what time makes of this ugly beast!
Saison - 5% ABVThis was my third all-grain brew-in-a-bag batch and my first outdoor attempt. I don't have a lot of experience with saisons so I can't so with any certainty how on the mark it is but I fermented it warm in the style and it certainly has a yeasty flavor and a slight tartness. Overall I'm happy with it and looking forward to another attempt in 2015.
|I made sure to dump the yeast in the glass to give it a|
traditional cloudy appearance
Ye Olde E.S.B. - 4.5% ABVThis was a 2.5 gallon extract batch using Northern Brewer's basic E.S.B. recipe. Starting Gravity was a bit low but the beer came out really good. A malty, easy drinking brew. This was also the first beer to go into my kegging system. I'll definitely make another one at some point but I'd like to experiment next time and make it my own.
|Last glass of E.S.B. that kicked the keg|
Runner's High Double IPA - 8% ABVMy first attempt an original recipe, I previously made this Imperial IPA last December. That batch was decent enough but I felt it missed the mark in several ways. It was maltier than I would have liked and the color was darker than I wanted. That was due to using extract - you can only get it so light.
For round two, I went all-grain and changed the hop bill considerably. I kept the Cascade, but dismissed the Chinook, Centennial and Falconer's Flight in favor of Summit for bittering and Amarillo for late additions. The change was noticeable and the new version has distinct fruity notes that were absent before. The color is also much improved. The picture below doesn't do it justice - it's very close to the straw color I wanted. While the first attempt was too malty, I'll admit that this one veers a little too far on the sweet side. But hey there's always room for improvement!
This was my second kegged beer and I love having a double IPA on tap, dangerous though it can be. It's just about gone and I'm going to avoid drinking anymore so that we have some left for a winter solstice party we're hosting in a few weeks.
SS Fermenting Bucket
I would be remiss if I didn't mention this awesome stainless steel brew bucket I won on the great homebrewtalk.com. They have tons of stellar contests and I couldn't believe it when I won one of them. Made by SS Brewtech, this thing holds up to 7 gallons and has a conical base to compact the trub. I'll be able to drain the beer directly into the keg using the spigot at the bottom. And it has a thermometer to let me know the exact temperature of the fermenting beer.
I will admit that my first attempt at using it didn't work out so well. There was a slight leak from the spigot and I had to ultimately move the wort to a plastic bucket. I think I've since got the leak issue fixed so I'll be trying this thing out again soon. I'll post a more indepth report at that time.