Updated Oct 15, 2012 - 10:37 pm
The Season of Homebrew
There is something about the cool air of fall that awakens a desire deep inside of me to visit the brew shop, fire up the boiler, and start up the ongoing experiment of homebrewing. Must be the season of homebrew!
There's a certain folder in my brain that logs away recipe ideas through out the year, that I turn to in early September in order to birth a new beer into the world. It's this folder I went to in order to find four aspects of beer I wanted to play with, rye, pepper corns, roasted flavors and bitter flavors.
This fall, I have two brews in kegs that I am happy with. Though as a home brewer, I'd say I've never made a brew that I'm 100% satisfied with. There is always something I'd like to tweak or change or add, next time around. File it away in the homebrew brain folder.
The first is a rye IPA I like to call, Unknown IPA. Why Unknown? I was trying to recall the batch number of this particular IPA, but couldn't remember, so I labeled it Unknown. The Unknown IPA is brewed with rye, pale and crystal malts, hopped with Glacier and Galena hops, and dry hopped on Galena hops and pink pepper corns. The result is a full bodied spicy IPA, with an alcohol content ranging around 6.5%. the rye gives it a nice peppery aroma, and the pink pepper corns give the Unknown IPA a fantastic earthy, spicy after taste. My one complaint? It's a balanced IPA, meaning that the sweetness and the hop bitterness are of equal parts. I was shooting for something a bit hoppier. Alas, it is what it is. And it is tasty.
The second brew in the Life by the Pint keggerator is a Charles Dean Ale, a roasty, chocolaty Cascadian Dark Ale. Dark and robust like a stout, but bitter and piney like an IPA, the Charles Dean Ale straddles the line between rich and refreshing, sweet and bitter. What would I change about the Charles Dean Ale? I'd like it to be a little more roasted. I nailed the hops, but the roasted dark malts could be a little more pronounced. But it's solid, it's cold, and it's in a keg in my garage.
If you have never ventured into the world of homebrewing, but are interested in beer, find a friend who brews or jump in all by your lonesome (more beer for you, right?). You will not find a better method for expanding your knowledge of beer, and you will get a lil' tipsy along the way. After all, this is the season of homebrew.
(Post and photos by Dean Westling)
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