Since I’ve taken such a long break from blogging, I feel like I need to update a few readers on the status of my homebrewing adventures. While perhaps not my most popular posts of all time, they also get some of the most thought provoking responses. Anyway, right now I have three different brews I’ve created since my last homebrew posting, and I’m working on a brand new one right now.
Hoppy Groundhog Dark Shadow – Black IPA
This past birthday I hit a minor lifetime achievement by reaching the age of 30. I say minor because everybody does it. While it feels like a kinda big deal to the person involved, it’s probably not nearly as big as we all make it out to be. Anyway, I had decided to brew this beer right around Christmas, and it was ready right around my birthday (Groundhogs Day), so I figured name it after the holiday that shares my birthday. Overall it’s probably my favorite beer I’ve brewed thus far. I like one of the ones a little further down on the list here, but I think this one is still an all around better beer. I actually entered it in a homebrew competition, but I’m an idiot and just put it in the IPA category and not specialty beers. I was basically disqualified. It’s a bit heavier and more roasted than your typical black IPA, but I think that’s what I like about it. The hops don’t blow you away, but I think they are present enough to still have it hold strong as a black IPA.
Heisenberg Honey Wheat
This beer was an attempt to take a different direction. I had been hanging out in the realm of dark beers for a while, and I wanted to make something lighter and easier drinking for the summer. I saw this recipe online, so I tweaked it a little to make my own. The beer has about a pound of orange blossom honey added rather late (last five minutes) to the boil. It helps to make the beer a bit sweeter, but I did run into a slight issue on this one while brewing. My parents had gotten me a wort chiller for Christmas, so I wanted to make use of it. Unfortunately, since I was still brewing on my stove, I lost the boil when I put the chiller in to sanitize. Therefore, the honey wasn’t really added during a boil. I tried to compensate for the mistake, but it may have effected the outcome. Lately the hops have really kicked up on this one, so it’s kind of like a hoppy honey wheat. Ultimately I had to pay tribute to one of my favorite Vigilantes. However, I’m not sure you can still think of him as a vigilante. Is Walter more of a villain now?
Pretentious Hopster – Red IPA
About a year ago I tried to make an imperial IPA that was probably my biggest disappointment as a homebrewer. The bottles never managed to carbonate, and I ended up with 48 bottles of syrup. Ultimately, other than the black IPA, it’s been my only attempts at making a hoppy beer. I love IPAs and hops, so I felt like I needed to have another go at it. I decided to make it a red ale for the fun of it as well. While this beer wasn’t problem free, I solved my issue with the chiller by purchasing a propane burner for use in the backyard. This of course helped keep temperature up, but I instead had to handle a boil over or two. I guess I need to learn how to control temperature a little better with my new toy. The only other issue I had was with clarity. There is a fine line of soot at the bottom of each bottle, but with a careful pour, it isn’t too much of a big deal. This is probably my most aromatic beer to date, and it has some great hop flavor. It’s only been drinkable for a week, but the malts are beginning to kick up to help balance it out. Pretentious Hopster was the name of my failed double IPA, and I couldn’t let a great name like that go to waste.
Peppercorn Blonde (yet unnamed)
The next brew I’m aiming to create is for my late summer month consumption. Within the span of a week or so I enjoyed a number of beers that feature peppercorns as the special ingredient. Ultimately, that was all the inspiration I needed to look at giving my next beer a little spice. One of the beers I had was a saison (which I have already brewed) and the other was a rye beer (which I hear doesn’t work well when you are doing extract brewing); therefore, I decided to choose a bit of a different summery type of style for my peppercorn usage. A nice Belgian Blonde seemed like the right way to go. The recipe is still being finalized, but I would love to hear any suggestions for how to make this beer great. I’m also a little unsure of when to add the peppercorns. I thought I would add 2 ounces in the last five minutes of brewing and then add an ounce or two to secondary fermentation. Has anyone worked with peppercorn before? Is that overdoing it? Just have to ask.
I’m slowly working my way away from extract brewing and into all-grain, but I have quite a few expenses coming my way, so I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep it moving just yet. I’ll get there eventually. For now I’m just having a good time.