Saturday, January 12, 2013

Always learning

Enough politics and social issues for now.  Let's talk beer.  I brewed 2 batches while I was on vacation around the Holiday and both were ready to work on today.

Skid Lid ESB

I've been looking forward to this brew for quite a while.  I cut my teeth (or you might say I conditioned my liver) on Redhook ESB and Widmer Hefeweizen back when craft brewing wasn't as big as it is now.  When I started home brewing myself, I wanted to make beers that were close to both of these.

My first attempt at home brewing, while good, wasn't close in color or flavor to the Widmer brew.

Today, I kegged my ESB.  It is a beautiful golden/amber color and is exceptionally clear.  Having not dry hopped anything before (or actually tasting a Redhook ESB in years), I have to admit that I found this one interesting and quite nice.

In my sample, it initially hits you with hop aroma and flavor.   It's not an IPA, but the dry hopping certainly adds something that is intriguing and nice.  The back of the mouth has what I recall from my "youth" of the ESB.  It has a nice blend of bitterness and malt flavor.

I'm going to sample some in about a week but won't be truly drinking this in earnest for another 4 or so.

de Coster Hop Monster

My renewed interest in beer has taught me which styles and flavors that I like.  Two of those are Belgian/Trappist style Tripels and IPA's.   This brew was a kit purchased from Northern Brewer in Minnesota.  It combines both styles and I have high hopes for how this will turn out.

I racked it to secondary today.  I learned that I made 2 minor mistakes while making this particular beer.  If you're not familiar, Trappist styles are high alcohol brews.  The tripel weighs in at around 8-9% but has a clear and light flavor when compared to other styles.  They generally take 1-3 months to ferment and up to 1 year to condition properly in a bottle.

One of my mistakes, after a quick call, was to not get the yeast going prior to pitching.  The other was that my basement cooled down below the range where this particular yeast is really happy.  I'll be buying/ordering another package of the yeast and pitching it into the current fermentation container at a higher temp.

As a side note, it tasted pretty good today but wasn't close to the final alcohol content or flavor profile.

One last thing, all of my beers have a motocross/motorcycle theme.  Check out my work in progress, Holeshot Brewing if you want to learn more.

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