Good, Bad, and Ugly

25Oct08

It’s been awhile since I wrote a whinny, “my beer might suck” post, so I thought I was due. But first the good.
I received a concoction from Northern Brewer, a “Hopshot” that was essentially hop syrup that constituted 50 IBU’s. Part of deal for receiving the hopshot was to use it as a bittering agent, so I chose to use all 5 ml (=50 IBUs) in an IPA. In addition to the Hopshot, I used an ounce of Amarillo hops, an ounce of Cascade hops and another ounce of Cascade for dry hopping. I’ve been really happy with the turn out. The hopshot did a decent job bittering, maybe not as bitter as I was expecting, but very nice. The beer pours an orangish- golden color with a thick, two-finger foamy, off-white head. There’s a nice citrusy aroma, especially grapefruit. A little bit of a soapy flavor at the finish, but a nice sweetness and some great citrusy flavors. Overall, I’m very pleased with this IPA and thought the Hopshot gave it a nice backbone.

The Bad: For my annual Nokomis Summer Ale, I chose to brew with rye for the first time. A fairly basic recipe, I used pilsner, rye, crystal 20 and a little bit of wheat malt, in addition to 3 lbs of light malt extract. I used some left over Pacific gem hops, splatter and hallertau hops and used the Kolsch 2 yeast. This was a 3 gallon recipe that I ended up bottling all of it in a 2.5 gallon keg. I have no idea what happened, but the beer tasted like shit! It wasn’t a contamination problem, the off-flavors didn’t indicate that. I’m not sure if it was the combination of grains, the yeast, if I tapped the keg too soon, or what. Whatever the cause, it went down the drain. It was bitter, grainy and just not good. The bad end of experimenting is ending up with a bad beer! Oh well, luckily I brewed enough good beer this summer to make up for it.

Potentially Ugly: A week from today is the big party, and the beer I brewed for it has been in the bottle two weeks. I tried a bottle at 1 week and it wasn’t ready. Tried another yesterday, and while better, it wasn’t great. I know it’s early. I know I always over-analyze and concern myself with the end product too early…
I mention that because the only reason I’m nervous about this one is that there will be a lot of new drinkers of my beer and I want it to be really good.
Luckily I have the majority of the Hopshot keg left, so I can use that instead if the SOC Ale isn’t as I want it. Plus my Inky’s White Ale, will probably be ready as well.
I digress on the whining. As a last note, brewing is going to slow down a bit soon as school starts up again. I brewed another batch of Bangy Tangy and plan on brewing Irie Stout again in the next couple weeks. I found a jar of organic Mango preserve and plan on using a small amount in the Irie, as well as using a bit of roasted barley.

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