The moment I have been eagerly waiting for finally arrived last night. I could wait no longer and cracked open my first bottle of Brew 1. It made a reassuring hiss sound, letting me know that there was some carbonation/ secondary fermentation in the bottle (also known as conditioning).
I poured it out into the glass and it was soon apparent that the hiss was all the carbonation that I was going to get. It had no head to speak of, just a few bubbles. Well, worst things have happened to brews, I’m sure. My bottling process was a real mess with this brew and I have got my eyes on a better method for Brew 2. More on that later.
As for colour, it was much darker than I was expecting. I really thought Pale Malt would deliver a very pale drink, but as you can see that wasn’t the case. The ale wasn’t cloudy and was quite clear considering I hadn’t used ‘Irish Moss’ or finings to clear it. It had a lot of time though, 1 month in total. The yeast, Safale 04, also makes a good solid yeast sediment at the bottom of the glass.
How did it taste? A lot, lot better than the drinks I remember from my university days. There was a slight yeasty edge but overall, it tasted like a Pale Ale. There was a hoppy aroma and bitterness to it. It’s actually a little too bitter, still very drinkable though. This slight over-bitterness is due to me putting a third of my hops in way too early. This was thanks to my mis-reading of the recipe I was using. The longer hops are in the wort during the boil the more bitterness they deliver. So, my mis-reading of ’15 mins’ in the recipe as being from the start, as opposed to from the end was crucial. If I was making a IPA and adding loads more hops nearer the end of the boil I would have gotten away with it, but sadly I wasn’t. Despite this it is still very drinkable and I think I have drunken similar in pub gardens over the years. I have rectified my hop error with Brew 2 and am hoping for a much improved ale.
Anyway, I am much heartened by first ale. It really is pretty good considering I made it in an old (but spotless) pasta pot on my stove in the kitchen. I have higher hopes for my following brews though. I have my sights firmly fixed on quality brews that match professional breweries.
My attitude here reminds me of something I was told by an African lady once. She said this “If you aim high you can always come half-way up”. It was something like that, you get the rough idea anyway.
Suntory, Kirin, Sapporo and Asahi, I’m coming for you. “Be afraid, be very afraid”.