Bottled up our last batch

There we are, 3 batches of brew completed. Today we put our latest creation, a Belgian White that should be very close to Blue Moon when it’s done, into the bottles and set them aside to mature. We gave it a try and despite it being flat I thought the flavor was really close. It was light and some orange highlights and should be really close to Blue Moon when it’s done. It needs some more aging and then I think we will have another really good drink on our hands. I’m looking forward to April when all of these will be ready and the weather will be suitable for sitting on the porch and enjoying them.

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Here we are a couple of months later and we still don’t have too much to show for our work. Well, sort of. Temptation got the best of us so we decided to go ahead and try a bottle from the first batch we made, the Nut Brown Ale , to see what we have.

The verdict?

Not bad at all! It’s a little light in the flavor, but overall it’s really good. It’s pretty rich and the color certainly looks right. I’m not sure it’s as full bodied as a Newcastle but a valiant effort for our first attempt. It may not be quite right but it’s certainly drinkable and if we’d chilled it down correctly it would be fantastic on a warm summer day – which is just around the corner. It’s no award winner, but I’ll have no problem drinking it.

Since we were on a roll we decided to go ahead and try the Irish Red just to see if we made out any better with our second batch. Good heavens what a difference! The Irish Red is full of flavor and has a lot of hops on the finish. There is quite a bit of bitterness there at the end which is what we were shooting for. And make no mistake this has some alcohol content to it!

Theo and I were both wildly impressed with that one. I think it turned out great. It has plenty of flavor and is pretty damn chewy. I’m looking forward to that one being finished. It still has two more weeks in the bottle, but I think we have a winner there.

I have to say this beer making has been pretty damn educational and expensive. Now I know why I never really jumped in and started making my own before. You can certainly get a kit and a recipe for $250 and make a few gallons of beer. So on the surface it looks cheap. That is, if you start collecting bottles well in advance of making anything. And you have some other means of cooling down the wort. The wort chiller is essential and it only took us making one batch before we decided to go ahead and get one. But man, the bottles are expensive. Well, when you have to buy 50 of them every time you make a batch of beer. Unlike the schmucks who try to sell you used Grolsch bottles on eBay, these are the same bottles with the swing tops included for about $2 a piece. A case of 12 is about $36 and you need close to 3 cases for each batch. It adds up. But now that we have several batches made the cost should level out. We shouldn’t have to keep buying bottles from this point forward, at least I hope not.

It’s been a lot of fun though. It’s a great way to spend a weekend and you learn all sorts of things in the process. Plus, it’s made me a little more adventurous to try other drinks like the Ginger Ale and orange soda. It’s been pretty expensive, but it’s been worth it. And the equipment will last several years so like anything else there is a big investment but then you just cruise along with what you have.

 

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