We tried our first beer today. Frankly, it’s amazing that we produced something drinkable at all. It’s quite malty with a fair amount of bitter, excellent head and carbonation, and a golden brown color.
Bottled beer and yeast starter for the next batch
Of course, there’s plenty of room for improvement. We were aiming for a very floral, citrusy IPA – and frankly we were disappointed that there were basically no floral aromas at all. Besides bitterness, there was lots of malt, as well as a bit of weird grassy flavor. We have some ideas of why that is and how we can improve the next batch:
- Pitch more yeast – FG was around 1.025 which is too high for this style of beer.
- Better aeration – we weren’t very good about oxygenating the wort. The next time we’ll use an air-bubbler to ensure the yeast gets all the oxygen it needs.
- Soak grains in less water – we soaked less than a pound of grains in 3 gallons of water; the recommendation is to soak in just 1 gallon per pound. This reduces the amount of extracted tannins.
- Add some of the malt extract late in the boil – this should improve color and preserve better flavor
- Late hopping – add bittering and finishing hops late in the boil. This should significantly enhance floral and spicy flavors.
- No dry-hopping – we need to sort out our basic brew recipe before we graduate to dry-hopping.
- Better racking technique – we transferred a lot of trub to our secondary fermentation vessel. I think some of the off flavors are due to that, given that we had a 3 week secondary fermentation. That’s a lot of time to absorb undesirable flavors from the sediment.
We’ve definitely learnt a lot from our first brew. If nothing else, we now have a much greater appreciation for a well-brewed beer.