Sunday, January 29, 2012

An account of brews past

The first batch I brewed was the Emma's Ale kit from Northern Brewer. For some reason (probably advertising) I opted for Wyeast 1945 Neobritannia instead of the recommended Wyeast 1275 Thames Valley Ale.

For a learning batch it went well enough. Though I did get the fermentation temps down eventually, the temp was too high when I pitched and in the following 12+ hours. The 'efficiency' of the steep was lacking also and left the final beer with less than the expected specialty grain character. The end result was very 'beer' tasting with a few strange alcohol and/or ester flavors that were new to me. A few bottles seemed better for whatever reason and were similar in many ways to Hobgoblin.

Here she is fermenting:

And here is the log entry:

The second batch, Icewind Ale MkI, used the yeast cake from NCC-0001. The recipe was the root of mediocrity for this one. The idea was a juniper amber ale. Ended up similar to Bell's amber but more fruity and a sticky hop bitterness. Not much juniper to it after it had been bottled awhile. The fermentation temp was much more controlled than Emma's and drastically changed the yeast flavor profile in the finished beer. However, those flavors were still not that great.

The bottle I drank fairly warm while snorkeling Cypress Creek was mighty fine. Could have been the atmosphere..

Friday, January 27, 2012

First all grain batch: Newt Hearted IPA

My first two batches stretched into styles I was not very familiar with so for this batch I wanted to go simple and conventional --> IPA. Being familiar with the style will hopefully give me a better view of the efficacy of my process and a clearer picture of what to improve.

While I do occasionally enjoy the grapefruit/mango bombs (i.e. Good People IPA) or twig licks (Saranac IPA), the straight forward simplicity of Bell's Two Hearted (and every other Bell's ale) never fails to please. Newt Hearted is based loosely on an average of clone recipes found across several forums.

I've never fully understood the need for an IPA to be 7-8% abv so my main goal was to drop it to around 5% without loosing balance or body and perhaps bump up the malt flavor.

I ordered from Brewmaster's Warehouse and the recipes I ordered came nicely packaged and crushed. The name changed later with a flash inspiration.
From The Happy Newt
From The Happy Newt

Tasting notes and process comments to follow.