Friday, February 10, 2012

Home Brewing!

If you don't know already, I am a big fan of home brewing. That is one of the things I want to devote this blog to. Within the next few week I will be making my next batch, so I will do a post on how to home brew. In the meantime, I will cover my existing brews, set to the backdrop of my tasting set. I have covered my first 6 beers, in the order that I made them. 

Standing offer: If you know me and want to try my beers, let me know and we'll find a way to make that happen. 

First and foremost: With home brewing, the most important part (starting out) is sanitation. Remember that. 

My first beer was created from a kit. It is a Belgian Golden Ale. If you are starting out, I would suggest doing your first batch from a pre-made kit. It just simplifies everything. It also gets rid of the awkward moment in the home brew store where you get asked a question that you don't understand at all. Ease your way into things and learn as you go. My first batch came out pretty well: light in body, but flavorful.  

One thing that you will probably experience when starting to home brew: People will give you ingredients as gifts. This is pretty awesome. It might make you brew a beer you normally wouldn't think to. For instance, my second beer was brewed from gift ingredients. It is a Belgian white style. Normally, I find these to be a little sweet for my taste, but when I told that to the owner of the local home brew store, he had some advice. I added some acidulated malt to the mix, which added some sour to the beer, balancing out the sweetness. Lesson learned: Ask the home brew guys. They know what they are doing. (The Belgain Witte is the first beer closest to the handle)

My third beer added another little step to the process. It is a Scottish Strong Ale that is aged with oak chips. It is dark and powerful (8-9%), but there is a pleasant sweetness as a result of the oak aging. Again, the ingredients were a gift, and again I didn't think that it would be one of the best. Instead, it has become one of my favorite home brews. (Furthest to the right) 

Number 4: Belgian Strong Ale
This one is probably my absolute favorite. It is an attempted clone of Boskeun, a fantastic Belgain Easter Beer. While it didn't come out exactly like Boskeun, I still really like it. My favorite memory that includes this beer is when Lindsey, the biggest beer critic I know, thought that mine was actually Boskeun in a blind taste test. This is an example of how home brewing can be economical. Boskeun sells for about $7 a bottle on average. I made 50 bottles for about $75. (4th from the handle)

Batch 5: Belgian IPA
This one was the first one that I made up mostly on my own (I used a recipe for backing, but changed most of the ingredients). This is by far my hoppiest, strongest beer (~10%). This actually is the reason why it is also my flattest, sweetest beer. The alcohol content killed most of the yeast. Since I use the yeast to carbonate my beers, the beer didn't carbonate too much. (2nd from handle)

Batch 6: American Pale Ale

For this beer, I did what I recommend every home brewer try at least once. I sent an email to one of my favorite everyday breweries, Butternuts, asking for guidelines for brewing Porkslap, their American Pale Ale. He told me basically everything I needed to make a clone of their beer. Obviously, it didn't turn out exactly the same, but brewers love home brewers, so most of the time, they will steer you in the right direction. (3rd from the handle)  

That seems like enough for now, even though I have 4 more brewed. Home brewing is a fun hobby with a great result. It also is a good conversation starter. The more you brew, the better you get and the more you know about the brewing process. Hell, I have even brought in some of my beers to a local bar and let the owner try some (he gave me a couple beers on the house). That's a trade I'll make any day. 

If you are interested in starting to home brew and you want to know what you need, send me an email or find a local home brew store and talk to the owner. I'll also do a post soon that runs through the general process. 

Seriously, if you want to try some of my beer, just let me know. 

If you want me to look at a particular beer, drink, place, or have anything to say to me, email me at You can send me cool photos too, if you like.

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