Promising Beginnings

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.

IMG_7292

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.

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One Response to Promising Beginnings

  1. cecilia says:

    I would love to make my own beer, and one of my readers saw this post of yours and sent me over, we already make wine, but beer is just so friendly, I shall look into it more seriously and thanks for the tips! c

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