The First Taste: Fungrim’s APA #1

Well then, it’s time to update on the first brew. It’s now been 2 weeks on fermentation (1 primary, 1 secondary) and 2 weeks on bottle for carbonation. I did taste it one week early, and posted the results on Facebook:

  • Looks: Off white head, small retention. Hazy amber gold with a redish cast.
  • Nose: Ripe fruits, caramel and toffee. Surprisingly small amount of hoppiness. Some straight malt coming through.
  • Palate: Smooth and creamy. Low carbonation (not surprising).
  • Taste: Medium bitterness. Fruity with some hop herbal streaks. Some citrus. Long lingering bitterness. Well hidden alcohol.
  • Overall: Nice! Surprisingly un-hoppy nose and feels more like an EPA than an APA to me. But this taste is an early one, let’s see what another week of fermentation can do :-)

There you are. The alcohol percentage should be something like 6.3 and by now, the carbonation should be better (even though it may differer from bottle to bottle). Also, I was a bit concerned a by-taste which I wondered about which may have been due to over exposure to air while bottling (this is may first time after all). But now, let’s crack a second bottle……pause for religious moment of opening and pouring here…

  • Looks: Off white head, rather large, good retention. Hazy golden colour tending against straw rather than amber.
  • Nose: A flowery sweet nose with some vanilla, caramel and toffee. And something else, a perfect match for something in my nose, but which I unfortunately can’t just put my finger on what it is…
  • Palate: Smooth and creamy. Low carbonation (still).
  • Taste: Medium bitterness. Malty, with some fruity and herbal herbal  notes. Citrus. Long lingering bitterness. Very well hidden alcohol. Smooth.
  • Overall: Still nice! But there’s some aromas and flavours I just can’t put my finger on, and which may well be unwelcome artefacts. My beer-friends (hi Gnoff!) will have to advice me on that. If I blind tested I still go for an EPA rather than an APA.

So? I’m happy. Next step is to take down a few bottles for Miss J and have Gnoff tell me what he thinks, ie. take it to the experts and take it to the friends. But overall, I’m very happy with something which is after all a first attempt. Next attempt, I’ll go for an IPA and more hops!

Fungrim’s APA #1: Brewing

Today me and Jenna started our very first home-brew. It’s supposed to be an American Pale Ale, but considering this is our first time, I’d be happy with a Very Swedish Bastard Ale. The final recipe looked like this:

  • Batch size: 10L
  • 1.6 kg light dry malt extract
  • 0,1 kg crystal malt
  • 20 g Cascade (60 min)
  • 12 g East Kent Goldings (20 min)
  • 8 g Cascade (15 min)
  • 5 ml Irish Moss (10 min)
  • 12 g Amarillo (5 min)
  • 1 pkg American Ale II Yeast

Everything went smooth. Cooling took about 20 minutes in the bathtub. OG was 1065 which is slightly higher than estimated (1059), but we also lost a bit more water so that’s probably expected. In any case, I decided to let it stay at 1065 even though an APA should stay under 1060 (according to beer smith), I like strong beer :-)And now I’m patientlywaiting for the bubbles to arrive. And depending on how the yeast comes on I’ll move to the second fermentation in a week or so.Exciting stuff!

Planning a First Brew

I’m thinking of starting my very first attempt to brew some beer. Seriously, how hard could it be? I blame it on the fabulous Gnoff, who introduced me to brewing, sparked my interest and, not the least, cooks some really good stuff. I mean, really, really good!

So what do I need? A huge pot? Ok. Some hops and malt? Ok, but let’s do malt extract for this first one. Hum… *scratches chin* There’s actually quite a list of things I’ll need, but thankfully, must of them can be reused elsewhere.After much reading at Swedish Home Brewer Association, I’ll try this:

  • an american style ale (APA)…
  • … but with some english trimmings (hops), lets say Cascade, Goldings and Amarillo
  • dry pale malt extract
  • small batch, say 10 litres
  • liquid yeast

Things to decide later:

  • starting the yeast on beforehand?
  • hops in order Cascade, Goldings, Amarillo, but how much of each?
  • one or two fermentation phases?
  • priming method

The very nice HumlegĂ„rden now has a shopping list saved in my name. I just need to add a bottle filler, fermentation barrel and optionally (probably, being a complete nerd) BeerSmith and I’m set to go. I believe…. Here’s to hope!