Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Homebrew week

Well it's been a homebrew week, brewing, bottling and of course imbibing, because I recently heard that next to cleanliness, the most important part of making the stuff is drinking the stuff. It's good that someone finally put this into writing, as here I've been neglecting to sample various wares whilst brewing.

Ben and I got together Sunday to discuss love (well he did anyway) and figured, why not brew a couple batches? He went with a Belgian-style amber similar to Fat Tire, and I decided to embark on my first off-kit batch, choosing an ESB similar to Fuller's. I increased the amount of hops slightly, sure to cover up any imperfections. Fuggle hops are a nice mellow hop, which I grew for a brief time. They lacked any color besides green, which would be fine, except it was a lot of green as they took over the side of my garage. So I'll pay the dollar or so per ounce, and have some lovely purple vine to look at instead. It goes better with orange honeysuckle anyway.

So 3 ounces of fuggles and about the same amount of east kent golding hops should make for a solid ESB. I'm really interested in being able to distinguish between the multitude of hop varieties, and making your own recipes seems like a good way to accomplish this goal.

Back to brew day. As the wort was boiling, we drank some of the brown that Ben and some of his friends had bottled that afternoon. Very smooth, with a nice hop overtone. It will be even better when its cold and carbonated. All went well, and we'll be transferring the batches to their respective secondary fermenters this weekend. Which means I'll also be emptying the Saison into bottles this week to free-up a carboy.

Wrapping up brew week, I shared a bottle of stout with a friend, courtesy of a lobbying colleague. It was pretty amazing, and a great session beer. I'm looking forward to trying his pilsner this summer.

Final thought: This week has made me think that there are enough homebrewers working in government to start a Homebrew Caucus. So I'm starting it. Shoot me an email if your interested in joining.

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