Brewing, Cats, and Moving
Yay! I have two batches bottled, so I can start to comment on the brewing process and the beers! The little floaty specks in the picture are elderflowers.
Batch #001 – Scottish Ale
We won’t spend much time on this batch because, to be fair, it didn’t turn out too well. I used a Better Brewer kit with my own Wyeast Smack Pack #xxxx- Variety. I think the secondary fermentation was a little too warm and it sat for too long, and we had a kerfuffle during brewing which may have lead to some contamination. It has some definite off flavors, sorta plasticky and astringent. Going from primary to secondary, though, it definitely showed promise, but I was a little worried when I tasted it getting bottled. I’ll likely give this recipe another shot as the two of us do so dig our Scottish Ales. I won’t toss out the beer just yet, I’ll give it another month to see if it mellows and it works just fine for cooking. I made beer battered onion rings with it last weekend and it’s just fine for whipping up some beer bread.
Update on the Scottish Ale!
After letting it sit, the astringency is mellowing. I brought it to be critiqued by some homebrewers and their suggestions are that 1) let it sit, 2) make sure you don’t squeeze out your grain bag. Yaaay! I might not have failed!!
Batch #002 – Elderflower Cream Ale – A Midsummer Night’s Cream
Yes! This beer shows serious promise. Which is good, because I made it for the cast of the play SpecSO is directing this summer. I’ll admit that I based it off of a kit recipe, but messed around with the hops and yeast. I can’t wait till I get an all grain system! Then I can start from super-scratch. I was a little hesitant to do this recipe because of the corn, but that seemed to be a pretty common element through most Cream Ales.
The key excitement of this recipe is the elderflower. I found a tree in bloom in our yard, collected about a half cup of blossoms, topped it off with vodka (whoo neutral spirits), and let it sit for about a week. Then I added it to the beer in primary fermentation, and let it do its thing.
It seems to be a pretty solid cream ale, although it’s a touch young, still. Which makes sense because it should probably sit for another two or three weeks before it’s drunk. The elderflower noted aren’t quite there. I think next time I’ll add two to three times as much elderflower, and do it in the secondary.
-mason jar filled to 3oz line w loosely packed elderflowers, just topped with vodka and left to sit for a week
-3.3 lb extra light LME
-2lb pilsen DME
-1 oz corn sugar
-1 oz Cluster Hops (a=6.8%) – Bittering
-3/4 oz Vaguard Hops (a=4.8%) – Aroma
-Wyeast Smackpack #1322 – North West Ale
-Bring 3 gallons of water to boil
-60 min – Add LME and Bittering hops
-15min – Add DME, corn sugar, and aroma hops
-Bring temperature down to 70F
-transfer to bucket, pitch yeast, fill to 5 gallons
-add elderflowers + vodka