Here is the (simplistic) label we designed for this batch:
Yesterday (Monday, February 1, 2011) we cracked the last 1 liter bottle of beer that we had filled. It was not completely filled like the others so it makes a good choice for the first taste test. We popped it open – and I mean popped. I pushed the swing top lid and a very loud pop resulted. Good sign that we got it carbonated.
The beer poured beautifully with just over one finger of head. So far so good.
As we took our initial smells we both agreed that there was a bit of a funky aroma going on with this beer. I am too inexperienced at home brewing to know exactly what or why this is. I have a suspicion that it is just because our beer is still so green and needs to bottle condition a few more weeks.
It has been in the bottle for about 2 weeks and our understanding is that it is thought to be best to wait 1 month before drinking it. Hopefully over the next little while the aroma mellows out to something more pleasing.
As for the taste…it was green but very good. The weird smell was definitely not in the taste of the beer. It is still young but was quite tasty. I can already see that our adaptation of this kit from a Cream Ale to a Northern English Brown Ale has been successful. I hope some more complexity develops in the flavors but as it is now it is already clearly the style we were going for.
We each downed just under a pints worth and were left satisfied with our efforts and hopeful for the remaining 21 liters.
I’ll post pictures next time I open one up.
Brew Day 2 – January 6, 2011
Today we racked the beer from our primary to our secondary. This is the quickest stage of brewing I find. The majority of our time was spent sanitizing all of our equipment.
This is what the beer looked like after sitting in the primary:
Once sanitizing was finished, we got everything setup in the brewing area of my basement and started the auto siphon.
Next we just stood there and held the auto siphon in place being careful not to disturb the sediment at the bottom of the primary. We carefully tilted the bucket to get all the beer we could without bring along the sediment. There was very minimal beer left on top of the sediment when we were finished.
We kept the siphon in that last few drops and detached the one of the hose. We then took turns sucking a bit of the remaining beer from the bucket to get a sample of our creation. Despite our own curiosity this isn’t bad practice to ensure that your batch hasn’t spoiled already through contamination or anything else.
We were both quite impressed with the taste and are now very excited for the finished product.
Once the carboy was full of our brew we put a bung and airlock in the top and hoisted it up onto the elevated surface. Best to do this now while any sediment in the carboy is already stirred up. You don’t want to do the lifting immediately before you bottle the beer or you will kick it all up and more sediment will end up in your bottles.
We didn’t take any measurements of the beer (i.e. specific gravity) because the data at this point does not really matter too much. In other words, it doesn’t factor into the calculation to determine your alcohol by volume (ABV) at the end of the process. At least that was my thinking at the time.
In retrospect, we probably should have taken those reading and recorded them. I was thinking if my batch screwed up (or ended up delicious) we could compare our second attempt at it to these data points to see if we were on the right track. I suspect it would have given us the ability to be more consistent if we attempt this beer again in the future.
Should be about a week in the secondary and we can bottle!