It has been another six months of brewing which means I have been brewing beer for over a year now! Below is my six month beer review from November 2013 to April 2013. I will recap all that happened during that time and list the my thoughts on the homebrew beers and equipment that I purchased.
1.White House Honey Ale
This beer is the one that inspired me to start home-brewing. It turned out excellent and I loved the honey flavoring that the beer had. Great job to the White House! Purchase the White House Honey Ale here to make your own*.
2.Smokey the Beer
I was worried about this beer because it could go overboard on the smoke flavoring. It was another triumph! I love this beer and love serving it to my friends not only because it was tasty but also because of its adorable name!
3.Happy Holiday Ale
This was the perfect answer to a winter warmer. I am on a dark beer kick right now. The spicy flavor of this beer was great and it had a rich smooth flavoring to it. I will be remaking this again and start it a little earlier in the year as it takes a long time to finish! Purchase The Happy Holiday Ale to may your own*.
4.Pirate’s Plunder India Dark Ale
I was in search of a dark IPA as I love Black IPA’s right now. Although this is a dark ale it does have lots of hops in the initial boil and it is dry hopped, which gives it some characteristics of an IPA.
5.Smoke Bomb Imperial Smoked Chipotle Porter
My friend Jen and I split this brew. Since I have the 5 gallon equipment most of the brewing process took place at my house. We added real chipotle peppers to this beer and worked together on the flavoring, deciding when to pull the peppers out (it only took a day to reach the full spicy flavoring we were looking for). Purchase the Smoke Bomb Imperial Smoked Chipotle Porter to make you own*.
6.Irish Red Ale
I redeemed myself by remaking this beer. My original attempt at making this Irish Red turned out a bit flat. OK it was super flat. I have been using it for cooking since because cooking with flat beer is an excellent idea! My second brew of this turned out just as it should, fully carbonated. Purchase the Irish Red Ale to make you own*.
A great addition to the operation was an additional carboy. I probably would have never bought a second carboy as I thought of it as an unnecessary luxury. My friend bought a kit a few years ago and finally decided that he was never going to brew and gave me his brew kit. Now I can double my production. Although my spare bathroom is full of brewing equipment! To purchase a new or additional carboy find one here*.
2.Birx Gravity Refractometer
I first saw this tool being used by the Brewmaster at our local brewery when I donated a day helping him brew. In all honestly I never used the hydrometer that came with my brewing kit. It uses a lot of beer to test the gravity of the beer and I wasn’t willing to waste it (you have to dump out the tested beer or drink un-carbonated beer because it can not go back into the fermenting bucket). The refractometer uses just a splash of beer and so far has been a good tool for tracking the gravity of the beer. The gravity of the beer indicates when fermentation is done, which is the indicator of when you can then bottle your beer. I have been lucky to have only messed up one beer by not taking the gravity. Now I will use this refractometer to test the gravity of every beer going forward. Pick up your own refractometer here*.
I am ashamed to say that I did not buy much home-brewing equipment this go around. Perhaps the buying has leveled off as I seem to be fully equipped. There is a 1 gallon all-grain home brewing kit that I was looking at purchasing. It would increase my brewing abilities and who would not want that!?!? I liked that it was only a gallon as traditionally all-grain brewing takes up a lot of room, but this small kit would not.
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