Sunday, November 16, 2008

Budweiser American Ale

Something you may not have every expected to see me do: a review of one of the new "micros" produced by the macro-brewers; in this instance, specifically Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser American Ale. Whatever else you may say about the macro-brewers, their quality control and consistency are second to none. (Granted, their quality may come into question...) The bottle poured exactly as expected, leaving a lovely one inch of head. It had a nice amber color, and retained its effervescence through the entirety of the drink. It smelled of hops, but not much malt in the nose. Upon drinking, its taste paralleled its aroma--lots of hops, no malt to speak of. It finished dry, with no particular aftertaste.

I'm guessing that they were aiming for an IPA; with a bigger malt profile, they may have even had a fairly respectable version. As it is, the American Ale is (while not great) quite drinkable, and far from bad--it passes the "I'd order another one" test, but much would depend on what was available--it might not necessarily be my first choice for what to order.

My next review: Paulaner Oktoberfest, and (probably) my Scottish 70/-.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Halloween Brew Day Recap

The (inaugural?) Halloween Midnight Brew went nearly without a hitch. Technically, everything went as expected; socially, it went basically as expected, also.

In the social aspect, it ended up being just me doing the brew. Hopefully, next year I can convince a few more people to come over. Still, I often find that doing a solo brew goes more smoothly than doing one with others around. (I'd rather have a few others around, if only so I can chat with them as I go.)

The burners were lit precisely at midnight; by half-past, the grain was being mashed. A hair over 22 pounds of grain, it turns out, is about half of my mash-tun capacity. (Good to know, I think...) I even had room enough that I could have done two infusions, had I wanted. Three might have been stretching it.

Due to the lack of other participants, and looking at the time, and having had a really long day, I decided that I had fulfilled the spirit of my goal, and decided to allow the mash to go overnight. I picked up where I had left off at about 9:30 on Saturday morning, heating water for the sparge.

My experience with 'big' brews has shown me that my efficiency tends to suffer; I'm not certain of the mechanics of why, but I accept the 'fact-of.' I only got around 68% efficiency, as opposed to my more typical 75%; still, things were well within acceptable norms. The boil was remarkably well-behaved, and I only lost a couple of ounces to boil-over. The re-constructed pump worked well. I even heated up a couple of gallons of plain water to help with clean-up (especially the pump). The yeast had been pitched by noon, and active fermentation was underway by nightfall Saturday. I may tweak the spice blend, should I do this again--maybe ditch the nutmeg, add perhaps a little ginger, bump up the cinnamon. Still, come the end of a year, it will be a nice brew, I'm sure.

I haven't decided when my next brew day will be; probably the weekend before Thanksgiving. That's rather late in the month, but it's the only one I have really free; hopefully, my December brew day will be earlier.

Recommended Books