Homebrewing is a test of patience. The few hours spent brewing are only the start of the process: after the beer is done fermentation, about a week in most cases, you have to rack it into a secondary fermenter to get the beer off the dead yeast cells to avoid off flavours and also to add dry hops if the beer calls for them, which you then have to allow to sit for another couple of weeks. From there it’s into the bottles, but first you have to add some priming sugar to the beer to allow it to naturally carbonate in the bottles over the course of a couple of weeks. All in all, you’re looking at a good five to six weeks between brewing beer and drinking it, which, when you’re excited about your beer, can be a long time to wait. All of this is to say that I am now drinking the IPA I posted about here and the mild I posted about here.
The IPA is fantastic. There are some things I would like to tweak on it: it could benefit from having a slightly heavier body, and it finishes really dry, which isn’t a bad thing in itself, but it could be a little bit sweeter. That said, it’s a wonderfully refreshing and drinkable beer with a solid but not overwhelming bitterness and a beautifully fresh citrusy aroma. I had an embarassingly low yield with this–only eighteen bottles from a three gallon batch–which upsets me a little because I wish I had more of it. I’ll have to make up another batch soon, probably with a couple of changes.
The mild is decent, but I’m less happy with it than I am with the IPA. The problem with making a mild, as I sort of began to address here, is that while I have some experience drinking mild, it was from too long ago for me to have a very clear idea of what the finished beer should taste like (never mind that I was only in the very beginning stages of my beer education then and didn’t have close to the understanding that I have now), and vague impressions aren’t necessarily the best thing to go on. I was too heavy-handed with the dark malt and so the beer has a lot of the roasted flavours that you would tend to associate with a style like stout, though it lacks the body of a stout. It isn’t a bad beer by any stretch of the imagination, but it wasn’t quite what I had hoped and imagined it to be.
I’m not sure what my next brews will be. I still have some hops left over from the IPA and so I’ll likely brew another, slightly different version of it. I would also like to get well out of my comfort zone and brew something Belgian-inspired, like a saison, most likely with some sort of fruit. I’ll be sure to post about whatever it is I decide to brew next.