Brew Daze

Apologies for the punny title, I was inspired by a liquor store near my office called, sadly, “Happy Daze Liquors”.  It seems like a name that would’ve been funny during the Great Depression but now stirs up the tut-tutters.  What’s going on with brewing these days at my house?  Lots.  In the fridge, finished with carbonation and is now bottle conditioning until I can’t keep my eager paws off it, are a Jaggery English Ale and the second version of my Marlborough IPA.  (A side note:  I am capitalizing all my beer names as if they were brands.  They are.  My brand.)  The English Ale should be medium brown, smooth, with low hop and medium malt toastiness.  The Marlborough IPA is a hop showcase for Nelson Sauvin and Mandarina hops.  I’m aiming for low bitterness and incredible aroma and flavor of guava, mango, passionfruit, and mandarin oranges.  All that in a light gold and crisp dry ale.  I’m not a fan of bitterness so I’m really looking forward to these two.

But wait, there’s more!  I just bottled a Harvest Ale made with roasted butternut squash and a variety of spices.  I’m hoping for a warm and nutty ale with a little spice but not an overwhelming cinnamon or pumpkin pie flavor.  I added spices to the end of the boil and again right before bottling, in little amounts to make sure I didn’t pull an Uncle F#$k-Up and make something that tasted like a scented candle.  This weekend I’ll be bottling my Chai Stout, a dark and creamy blend of rich malt and pungent spices including cardamom and ginger.  I learned I may need a more accurate scale for these spices–here’s how it goes trying to weigh them:

Put a little glass bowl on the scale and tare to zero.  Shake a little spice in the bowl.  The reading:  0 grams.  Shake more, wait…0 grams.  Shake more, wondering if you already have too much.  The scale dips to -1, then back to 0.  Finally you shake a little of everything, smell it, then decide to measure the difference in weight.  Pour out the spices and put the bowl back on the scale:  -4 grams.  Yes!  Pour the spices back in the bowl:  -2 grams.  Oh, eff it.

This weekend I brewed what I’d hoped would be a Saffron Blood Orange Trippel.  But a few things stymied that.  One, blood oranges are only in season in January/February.  So I made do with a nice dark pink grapefruit.  Second, I was going for a golden ale but it came out medium amber.  Third, my aim was an alcohol content of around 8% or more but despite a massive boil with double the liquid and a 90-minute boil, I still only made it up to 1.066OG, which would probably yield ABV of around 6-7%.  I’m doing research to see how to be more efficient and boost the alcohol but until then my beer is a Saffron Grapefruit Dubbel.  Which is like assembling a bookshelf and ending up with a coffee table.  Confusing but not completely disappointing.

All this to say I’ve got six beer types in bottles and two more fermenting.  This is what I’d hoped for when I started this hobby:  the ability to build my ideal beer selection from scratch, all the tastes I enjoy for every occasion.  Now I just need to brew a Christmas Ale, a Belgian Wit, a Novemberfest, a reboot of the Honey Rosemary Saison, an Islay Ale, a Mexican Spice Stout (chipotle, chocolate, cinnamon), a Wheat Wine, a…

New pint glass

Writer, architect, father, husband.

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