Lightening Up

The Brown Ale was a success!

We’ve been drinking it for a few weeks now and I’ve learned two bits;

1.) It’s kinda hard to make un-drinkable beer.

2.) The longer it sits, the better it gets.

This also means that we’re literally going through the beer exponentially. Time for a new batch!

This time we went for an APA or American Pale Ale. I don’t think anyone abbreviates it like that, but I’m getting really excited about making a sweater vest label for it.

The process was SO MUCH SMOOTHER THIS TIME!

First, we now have an outdoor burner. This means we can brew right in our front yard and not worry about how to get the beer back home after brewing. The biggest difference, though, was our confidence. Our first batch was like the first time riding a bike; we were so worried about falling or messing up that we we couldn’t think straight and ended up messing a lot of stuff up. This time, we we’re less stressed about the process and could just see it through without second guessing ourselves. I was actually able to make a batch of kombucha at the same time.

We did try a few new techniques with this one. We decided to do a secondary fermentation, which is when you start the beer fermenting in one container for a week, then transfer it into a new container for two weeks after that, before letting it condition in the bottles for three more weeks. Easy as 1,2,3. This is supposed to help with beer clarity by letting a lot of the solids that could make a beer cloudy to fall out of solution. When you siphon the beer out of a container, you just leave the gunky stuff on the bottom, so the more containers you use, the more junk gets left behind.

Also, this is our first time dry hopping. This means that we added hops in to the secondary carboy as we added the beer. There are several ways to use hops, each giving a different flavor to the beer. Boiling hops for about an hour destroys almost all the aromatic oils, but extracts the compounds responsible for giving a good bitterness to counteract the sweetness of the barley. Boiling them for about thirty minutes gives the beer a more dynamic hoppy taste and some subtle bitterness. Adding hops right when the boil has stopped gives a good hoppy aroma and even more dynamic flavor without imparting much bitterness. By adding the hops one the beer has cooled completely, gives the beer a very strong aroma without changing the taste too dramatically. Pale Ales, known for their hop wallop, use all of these techniques for one batch. A porter, which is sweeter and smoother, uses just a bittering, 60-minute hop addition. I’m excited to see how this turns out, even though I’ve never been a huge fan of super hoppy beers.

I mean everything goes well with pizza.

And I would never turn away something that I put five months into.

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