So, the time finally came this weekend to try the the first homebrews. I had been looking forward to that moment for quite a while, since I first decided to buy the equipment, decided on the first brews and placed the order, then while brewing and waiting for it to ferment, then bottling…after all that, I was very excited to taste the fruit of my labours, the first beer I had ever made…
I put the plastic Coopers bottle on the counter, grabbed the cap and gave it a twist. The small “pfffss” was not very encouraging. The smell give a nice hit of cascade, from the dry hopping, but the overwhelming aroma is a maltiness that is very reminiscent of the malt extract. It poured a hazy golden colour, with a bit of effort required to build a head – but a head that stayed pretty well til the end when you got it going. The taste was again, primarily dominated by the citrusy cascade, with that malty character bringing up the middle, dissapating to a pleasantly bitter aftertaste. Both my dad and brother thought it was pretty good, but I wasn’t so impressed. Not bad, drinkable but nothing really to be proud of.
The secodn brew was a what beer that had a low OG and the resuly it a watery, thin beer. Maybe this will be nicer come summer when you want a refreshing, cold beer but it’s not suited to a dark winter’s evening. I can safely say that I won’t brew either of these again.
And finally I tasted the porter when I took the FG (1015, meaning an ABV of 6.5%) and the taste was overwhelmingly boozy, almost like a roasted sherry. I’m off to Thailand over christmas so I will leave this now til mid Jan when I’m back and try it then. Hopefully it will have mellowed and balanced a bit. I am a bit more precious about this one as it was more than a kit beer – extract and specialty grains. It’s no all-grain, I know, but small steps.
So, to pick myself up after the dissappoinment of the homebrews, I had myself a Samuel Smith’s Winter Ale, which was malty, rounded and warming, like a comforting hug on a cold night. Just what I was after. Then, I stepped up to a Delirium Christmas, and that got me well and truly into the festive spirit. I supped on that as we listened to Christmas songs and watched the lights twinkling on the tree, and only wished that I had bought a couple.
So, some not-so-great beers to start with, but a solid winter favourite to finish. And the shortcomings with the first brews have only spurred me on to do better with the next ones – get a bigger kettle and wort chiller, do full wort boils, and discuss with the other brewers about going all-grain. 2013 will be a good homebrew year, I can feel it.