Monday, July 18, 2011

The Light at the End of the Drain

As I may have alluded to in previous posts, I've had some rough time brewing lately. I brewed a clone that was way too sweet. I brewed an IPA that didn't have hop flavor. I brewed a blonde that tastes like rotten wood. I brewed a Porter that was only 3.5% ABV. All of my beers were under carbonated. If my life was beer (if I could only be so lucky), life would look a lot like the American economy. It looked like my beer brewing was circling the drain.

However someone has not used Drano on this drain! Yes, this drain appears to be clogged with a foul mess of hair, soap, and miniature rubber duckies. This just proves that you need to work with what you have, and not just dump.

Once my clone carbonated, the sweetness dissipated, and some hop character came out of the beer. Also a lot of that sweetness translated into the malty smoothness that should be characteristic of a Newcastle clone. While it's definitely not Newcastle (according to the wife), it's a beer that's good in its own right.

I took a hop bag with 2 1/4 ounces of Cascade hops, a handful of spoons, and sunk them to the bottom of the keg. After a few days, my IPA has a decent hop aroma and a very pleasant dry bitterness characteristic of a good IPA.

My porter is smooth, roasty, and dark. Hearty and very pleasant to drink. The low ABV really hasn't affected the outcome of the porter at all. When poured, the Porter gives birth to a great head of chocolaty colored foam.

My oak aged blonde ale still tastes like rotten wood.

I'm still having some issues properly carbonating the beer, but at least now I have very drinkable beer. Now with some confidence I will march into work with a keg on my shoulder, much like the kind of Santa every adult wants to meet, and enter my beer into my company's brew-off. I'm still keeping my selection secret, so if you guys are trying to spy, tough nuggets. You'll have to wait till competition day.

Things are looking up! Prost!

1 comment:

  1. I hate carbonation.  The only homebrew that I have carbonated exactly where I wanted it, has been the forced carbonation kegs for my wedding and my buddies wedding.  My bottles are all over the place (same batch will have over and under carbonation).

    Good luck figuring it out!