Can my ale really be worse?

Today the Green Man is a little sleepy as he was woken in the early by his dog, who had alerted him to a Japanese ‘anaguma’ Badger rifling through his exposed bins. However, ‘Japanese Critters and Where to Find Them’ that is not the subject of todays blog.

The Green Man is still bristling with excitement at his discovery regarding the brew limits for ‘happoshu’ and he is busy doing a lot of research. Exciting days! As ever, the Green Man is determined to keep on track and do as much as he can to realise his goal. Oh dear, ‘Craft Breweries and How to Set Them Up’ is not the subject of todays blog either, not doing very well at getting on-topic today…

To the topic, at last. The other night I visited a friend’s bar and he had a few craft beers on tap. An IPA, which was very good and it’s related cousin, a Pale Ale. Where the IPA was everything you’d expect from an IPA, the Pale Ale was the opposite. Admittedly, my friend had over carbonated the keg, so it was too fizzy, but there was something amiss with the Pale Ale. I commented at the time that perhaps the brewer had forgotten to add the aroma/flavour hops, as the drink was bitter (so, bittering hops had done their job), but there was hardly any hint of anything else. The other thing I have realised is that there was also no real Malt flavour either. The result was just a fizzy, bitter, golden coloured alcoholic drink.

I’m really interested to see whether, despite my faux-pas on brew day, how my brew will stand-up next to this pretty poor offering from a small, but professional brewery. After all, my brew is also a Pale Ale. I did have lofty ambitions of Mashing it a higher temperature to make it a little Maltier, but that didn’t quite go as planned. In addition, one third of my flavour hops went in too early and so would have made my ale quite bitter, I imagine. However, I did then, inadvertently, do an Hop/Aroma-Steep. Who knows what the result will be?

There are only three more days to go to ‘racking/bottling day’ and I should be able to taste a little then. This taster will be from the Final Gravity reading tube. It won’t be the final product yet, but I should get an idea of the final flavour and whether it really is drinkable or simply plug-hole worthy.

My tasting experience on Saturday night though has left one impression with me. This is that my beer needs to be either ‘Hop Forward’ (more hops taste than malt taste) or ‘Malt Forward’ (more malty than hoppy). I think I will aim to get two regular beers going, an IPA and an ESB, hoppy and malty respectively. I can add a third or fourth seasonal tipple to this which I can experiment with and eventually rotate. Let the home brew experiments begin!

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