Monday, April 23, 2012

I'm Back!

Well, school is finally winding down. In only a few short weeks, I will officially be a college graduate. I guess I'd better start looking for a job...

I apologize for not writing anything recently, but school and parenthood have taken up pretty much all of my time. Now that everything at school is wrapping up, I'm hoping to have more time to write...and there's so much to write about.

I sent my Irish Red Ale to the National Homebrew Competition, and it received a 35 out of 50. This is much more than I could have expected from my first attempt at a competition. Not only that, but I also received some very helpful advice from the judges. Look out world, there's a chance I know what I'm doing now...

The brewing hasn't stopped. In one of my last posts, I mentioned that my next brew was a Newcastle Brown Ale clone. I'm not exactly sure what went wrong, but it certainly doesn't taste like Newcastle. It's not necessarily bad, but there are some off flavors that can't be ignored. I think it's mostly due to poor temperature management during fermentation.

Since my last post, I've also brewed an IPA that is most definitely my best brew yet. This is the first recipe I have ever formulated from scratch (thanks to, and it turned out better than I expected. I utilized Chinook, Citra, and Cascade hops to achieve a strong citrus flavor without being overly bitter. A few tweaks and this one will land on the regular brewing list. Click here for the recipe.

I'm hoping to get a kegging setup as a graduation present (hint), so my next and final step is the move to all-grain brewing. However, extract brewing is working just fine for now.

Hops are in the ground! I had originally decided not to grow hops this year, but a local greenhouse had a few varieties available (Ace really is the place). The selection was pretty limited, so I went with Cascade, a fairly multipurpose hop. Later that same day, I got a free hop rhizome from my local homebrew store. This one is a Galena, which I've never used before. We'll see what happens this fall when I have a ton of fresh hops to use...

Stay tuned! I've got a Pale Ale in the secondary (about to add some brandy-soaked oak chips - yum!), and a Cream Ale that I'll be brewing by the end of the week. I promise I'll start writing more often, and I'll post some pictures as soon as I can!