It's been a while since I have brewed. Last post, which was ten months ago was the one after the Pumpkin Ale. The Pumpkin Ale was spicy and flavorful, but too much ginger and not enough pumpkin flavor. The next batch was made with leftover ingredients from the Pumpkin Ale, although a lighter extract. It actually turned out very well, considering it was the first time ever that I brewed without a kit or a recipe. I would say it was a good test of my skills as a brewer. I am looking forward to trying a Pumpkin Ale in light of experience.
Since then, I brewed only one other batch but I didn't blog about it, so here it is.I made an Amber Ale from ingredients without a recipe. I brewed in the spring, an d had it ready by the 4thg of July. The problem was that I used a champagne yeast to ferment, and because of that, I held back on the bottling sugar, and it didn't carbonate very well. I still have half a case, which I have let sit to carbonate better, with some success. I used oxygen-absorbing caps to help it keep longer. It has a slightly different flavor due to the yeast, but still tastes really good. The lack of fizz puts me off a bit, though.
So, I decided to brew again. I bought a kit for Blonde Ale, which was easy to make. It was almost too easy, in fact. I used filtered water, and didn't add anything to the light amber extract and grain, and used just the two ounces of Williamette hops. It smelled good in the kettle before and after I added the hops. I racked it into the carboy by siphoning, and pitched the yeast about Midnight. It is twelve hours old, but shows no signs of life that I can see. I am not worried, as I have had beers take several days before they started fermenting. It is beautiful golden color in the glass carboy.
Two things that I incorporate into my technique are cooling and racking. I like to make sure to cool the wort as quickly as possible after the boil. I can have it cooled to 80 degrees in twenty minutes. Also, I rack the beer with a siphon rather than pouring through a filter or a funnel. Also, I never skip the secondary fermenter for settling out the solids. I think these things contribute to a good-tasing and high quality brew.
At any rate, I will be back to brewing again since the fall and winter are much cooler. Next up will be Pumpkin Ale 2.0.