Friday, August 5, 2011

Instant Classic Ale

OK, not the best name, but given that I winged it when I got to the store, "instant" isn't such a bad description. My friend Bobby helped me brew this one.

My office had a Family Day cookout today, and the boss gave me permission to bring in a keg of homebrew. It took a lot of convincing, I can tell you. On the way to the brewing store, I realized that I hadn't picked out a recipe.

I have no idea if this is essentially the same as another recipe, but here's what I threw together:

3lbs light DME
3lbs amber DME
0.5lbs #80 crystal malt
0.25lbs chocolate malt
2oz Centennial leaf hops (boil)
1oz Willamette leaf hops (flavor)
Trappist ale yeast

The flavor hops went in for the last 10 minutes of the boil. Everything else is exactly as you'd expect.

I kegged it last night—it could have used another day or two to finish fermenting, but the result was good. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. The color's basically light-amber, definitely not a pale ale, but not a deep amber by any means. The Centennial hops are reasonably high alpha, so there was a nice hoppiness to it, but not overpowering. The Willamette gave it a very nice finish. All in all, a good classic ale.

If I make this again (and I well might), I'd probably give it more hops, and maybe throw in some aroma or finishing, just to give it an even crisper taste.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

More Ginger

On July 4th, my friend Mike came over, and hung-over as I was (long story), we brewed another batch of Snapping Ginger Ale. This is destined for my deck-warming party, date TBD. Once again we tweaked the recipe. The malt and hops are as in the first batch, though we used hop pellets instead of whole-leaf. About 1.5 pounds of grated ginger went in for half an hour after the boil, as has become standard procedure.

I hadn't planned to try it before the party, but Pete was over to re-rack our batch of mead (more on that in about six months), so we decided to have basically a swift half-pint (or three-quarters). It was good—less gingery than I'd expected, but definitely tasty. The hops were still muted compared with a normal pale ale, but I think they were more evident than in the first batch, inasmuch as I can remember what that one was like. The head retention was also good, so I may have found a sweet spot. As is traditional when kegging, I chucked the first pull, though I might not have needed to. It had been re-racked from primary, and then stopped fermenting, so there wasn't really any sediment to speak of to begin with.

And yes, I usually don't bother with a secondary, unless the fermentation takes more than two weeks. I might try dry-gingering the next batch with about half a pound after the first week of fermentation, just to see what it does.

I'll update this post with any other notable reactions after the party.