Thursday, August 16, 2007

A complete disaster of a brew session...but a good beer.

My last brew session, several weeks ago was a complete disaster. I was too ashamed at the time to divulge the particulars, and defying Charlie Papazian's "Relax Have a Hombrew" mantra, I worried incessantly about the batch.

Well, it fermented fine, botting went fine and now I think I have one of my best homebrews ever! The one aspect of this brew (a saison-style with added spices) that is completely blowing me away is the pale color. I've got a light golden ale that is clear and beautifully topped with delicate, lacy foam. The aroma is bright and sunny, with plenty of citrus. You see, the spices I used included the zest of two limes, some lemon verbena leaves and black pepper. I made a tea from the leaves (maybe half dozen or so of them) and added the tea to the end of the boil. The light citrus flavor in the aroma carries over into the flavor of this brew, which couples with the crisp pilsner malt and light Hallertau hops and balanced finish to make for a very enjoyable summer ale....completely by accident!

The accident, which may explain the pale nature of this batch, had to do with chilling the beer, transfering it to the fermenter, topping up with cold water and then realizing that I forget to add four pounds of malt extract. I stared the fermenter for a moment and then mustered up the fortitude to take a gravity reading, which read something like 1.030 or lower. I didn't want light beer; I wanted a six percent alcohol saison-style ale. To remedy the sitution I basically made and cooled a second wort with the extract and some additional sugar. Then I poured out about two gallons of the wort in the fermenter and added the second wort back into the fermenter. I'm guessing this dilution process is partly what lightened the color of this brew.

All's well that ends well though!

No comments: