The pictures may tell the story, but it’s certainly worth noting that round 2 of brewing was far less… frantic… than the first go-round. That’s obviously to be expected, as we learned a lot of lessons from the first brew day to apply to the second. Among them were:
- Following one set of instructions only, instead of trying to hybridize several different sources.
- Buying a bottling bucket for mixing the wort(which we’ll obviously clean and re-use on bottling day).
- The bucket also allowed us to more easily measure the specific gravity.
- Buying distilled water to add to the mash to make the wort (we’ve since learned that distilled water is unnecessary, but if we wanted distilled water, this was certainly much easier than boiling it ourselves).
- Having homemade tools (i.e. Vodka handle funnel) ready-made this time.
- Buying ice to cool the wort ahead of time, so we didn’t potentially kill our yeast by adding it to a still-hot liquid.
Of course, I think one of the cardinal rules of homebrewing dictates that, since we were so much more confident this time,our batch is going to turn out poorly, just to remind us to remain humble before the Beer Gods. We’ll find out at intitial tasting in a couple weeks.
Our first tast of our first beer
A week after bottling, it was time to test a beer from the first brewing endeavour. We opened one bottle (there are still about 40 remaining, one of which we’ll test for another status update in a week, and one of which we’ll probably never open), and poured it into a pint glass, which the three of us shared.
First things first: it was beer! Not rancid wheat-water, but actual pale ale. The physical appearance was about what you’d expect from a pale, but perhaps a little cloudier. There was a satisfying rush of gas when the top was popped. The head of the beer started pretty high, then went down about as you’d expect, with little lattice pattern.
The taste was good. It was still a little bitter, but since we were testing it long before secondary fermentation was complete, it will likely mellow out over the next couple weeks. There was a distinct hop flavor and aroma, though the bitter hop taste was rather biting on first sip, though it did leave a pleasant aftertaste.
Given our depressed expectiations after the slight fiasco that went down during the brewing fiasco, we exceeded our goal. Given a few a weeks it should be a very solid first effort. We can’t wait for it to mature.
As our first batch of brew finishes fermenting in the bottled stage (we’ll sample a bottle tomorrow, as it finishes within the next week or so), it’s time to start planning for the second batch. We tentatively plan to brew a wheat beer from a partial-mash kit. We’ll buy the kit this afternoon, most likely from The Wine Barrel in Livonia.
More updates (and hopefully more frequent updates of all kinds) as we get this whole “brewing” thing figured out. Suggestions, tips, etc. are all welcome.