Friday, January 22, 2010

SR1: It doesn't suck!

It doesn't suck. That was my single biggest worry about this first batch of beer. Given all the sanitizing (and dire warnings about what would happen if I didn't keep everything absolutely sterile), screwing up the recipe by adding too much hops (I guess I did end up making Honkey's Pale Ale), and my prior experience with my batch of beer from Shenandoah, I was certain I had a solid 50/50 chance of pouring out this batch of beer.
As it turns out, the beer wasn't too bad. In fact, it's pretty good. Sure, I've had better pale ales and the malt flavor is a little too prominent (resulting in a faint cereal flavor), but overall the beer goes down easy, so I'm happy with the result.
I'm also ready to take what I've learned and move on to the next batch. But let me close the book on SR1 first.
When I finished the wort and transferred it to the carboy for fermentation, the dark color of the beer threw me off. Because I was making a pale ale, I was expecting a golden color to the wort, not the dark brown that it was. As you can see from the photo, the color lightened up nicely. Still, I did burn the malt extract a bit, so I need to watch that next time.
Another thing, I have no idea what the alcohol percentage is for the beer. Given it's final gravity, 1.022, and based on Papzain's equation for calculating ABV, I figured the beer was around 3 percent. This didn't seem right, so I did a little research and discovered that it maybe around 5 percent ABV, but I have no way of knowing. I can't trust my initial hydrometer reading because of the stupid rig I had to put together in order to take it. And then I took the final reading after I added the finishing malt, which is a no no (thanks for not pointing that out, Charlie). So the ABV on this batch will go in the books with a big question mark.
I shouldn't have that problem with the next batch thanks to the hydrometer test jar I bought from Maryland Homebrew, and the tips I've since picked up.
Speaking of Maryland Homebrew, I also just ordered five hops rhizomes from them. This spring I'll be planting Cascade, Willamette and Centennial hops in the backyard. These aromatic hops are supposed to grow well in all climates, so we'll see how they do. The best case scenario is a couple big batches of wet hop ale next fall. The worst case is five more plants die by my hand.
Alright, that's it, I gotta go drink my beer.

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