Homebrew update: December 2016

What a year of brewing it has been! Although lesser so for blogging. Only one month after setting this blog up a well-known personal finance blogger said to me “Best of luck, but I’ll give you 6 months. It’s not easy keeping a blog going.” He was right, but as my other business blog has been around for almost 10 years, I didn’t really take the advice seriously.

Oh how wrong I was, it’s not easy keeping a brewing blog running for the following reasons:

  1. I actually have a real job and that always takes priority.
  2. Brewing volumes. I’m currently brewing in a 20/25 litre fermentation vessel (fv), which means a hearty number of pints each run. When you have 100+ pints of homebrew in the house, it’s time to drink rather than brew.
  3. I am by no means an expert homebrewer yet. Everything is trial and error and, as you’ll see with my brews below, some have been better than others. Going All Grain (AG) for the first time this year has been a big reason for this.

This morning I visited the second bedroom (Aka. The brewery) and made a count of all the beers in there today. Supplies have dropped slightly, but still enough to adequately supply the winter months. Especially when the flat has dropping temperatures, making any new brewing troublesome with varying household temperatures.

Woodfordes Wherry (23x bottles)
Brewed June 2016, 5.0% Abv — beer kit
6 months on from the brew day, this ale has really come into a life of its own. There is very good head retention and hop aroma. Sediment has formed a sticky layer at the bottom of the bottles meaning the liquid is very clear. I’ll be sad when supplies of this run out!

St Peter’s Ruby Red (1 bottle!)
Brewed April 2016, 4.2% Abv — beer kit
Not only has this been the tastiest homebrew to date, but it was my first brewing attempt. I honestly prefer the flavour of this beer compared to the commercial bottled version. Three months after brewing a real sweet/dried fruit flavour started coming through the drink. As a staple homebrew to save money method, I’ll be brewing this one again soon.

Coopers English Bitter (27x bottles)
Brewed in May 2016, 4.3% Abv — beer kit
After reading much hype about this beer kit, I’m not too impressed with the end result but that may have been my mistake. During the brewing process I used a medium dry spray malt, but that may have darkened the drink too much, leaving a rather overwhelming bitter taste. I imagine this beer kit could offer a good foundation to add different hop flavours, to take some of the bitterness away. Best drunk cold in my opinion to dampen some of the flavours!

Hobblewobble, Hobgoblin clone (26x bottles)
Brewed in August 2016, 6.5% Abv — AG
As my second attempt to AG brewing, this was more successful than the last that ended in over-carbonated cloudy beer that had to be drained down the sink. The flavours are there, especially a nutty flavour coming from the chocolate malt used. However, the beer is a bit thin for my taste and still slightly over-carbonated — representing a can of coke rather than a relaxing porter.

I’ll be continuing my homebrew adventures in 2017, focusing on perfecting AG brewing and experimenting with much smaller volumes, reserving the big fv for beers where the recipe and process has been perfected.