Hello? Echo! (...cho...cho...oo)
I'm sure nobody is reading this. And I can't say I blame you. I haven't updated this thing in forever. Mostly because I haven't brewed in forever. Well, the truth is, I knew this would happen. I'm a poor, busy college student, and every batch I make is a significant investment in time and money. If a batch fails, it is difficult to pick myself off the floor. And folks, a batch failed. Keanen and Kev's Pomegranate Fantasy was more of a flaming failure than a flamboyant fantasy. Looking back at the process, I know what the problem was: I had a beer recipe, and I (naively) thought that adding a whole bunch of pomegranate molasses would add flavor and nothing else. Problem with that is that the added sugar just made the yeast go YUM! and start working overtime. As a result, every bottle was way overcarbonated. Dangerously overcarbonated. Every bottle I opened sounded like a gun being fired, followed by a small fountain of beer shooting out the bottle. The taste was actually OK, once the head died down and you could take a sip. Not spectacular, but it was both fruity and hoppy. The pomegranate and hops work well together, I just need to refine the recipe.
I ended up drinking about 30 bottles worth of beer, and threw out the other 20. Throwing out beer is a sad, sad thing, that hopefully I will never have to repeat. However, with death comes rebirth, so here is the new brew!
Name of beer: JJ's Golden Age
Type of beer: Amber
Quantity: 5 gallons
Homage Beer: (Sadly) none (being under 21 and out of homebrew when your (older) friends are out of town is a sad time)
6.6 lbs amber malt extract
1 lb crystal barley
1.5 oz cascade hops (bittering)
.5 oz cascade hops (finishing)
American ale liquid yeast
Process: I kept it really basic for this beer, mostly because I didn't want to mess up another batch, but also because I just wanted to make a good, drinkable beer. The process was videotaped step by step, and will be posted on this blog once the video is compiled.
Original Gravity: 1.044
Yeast Temperature: 94° Fahrenheit
Preliminary Taste: Strong malty flavor, with a strong bitter flavor and subtle spiciness
This beer was brewed on the 17th of July. If I let this age for the usual amount of time, it will be ready just in time for my 21st birthday, hence the name JJ's Golden Age. It's also a golden ale, so I thought the name was fitting. Its a simple name for a simple beer. I also used a lot less hops (both in quantity and variety) than I usually do. Now, I would like to say that I did this for the sake of being in solidarity with other brewers who are being hit hard by the hop shortage, but in reality I wasn't thinking when I was picking out hops. I heard the cashier at the store ask for the ID of the guy in front of me, and I started panicking that I would be denied sale for being under 21. I was already to deliver the line, "well, when this is ready to drink, I'll be 21," but the small panic caused me to quickly grab some hops I recognized and try my hardest to act coy. Note: it turns out he was just verifying credit cards.
I want to send a special shoutout to my new roommate for the summer. Jakub was a big help when brewing this beer, and he even cooked me dinner while I was brewing. If you know Jakub, you would be amazed by this last sentence alone. He also was a good cameraman and assistant brewmaster, so props to him.
A couple things that I'm worried about for this brew. I'm all about full disclosure, so if something is a little off, I want to document it, and if any experts are reading this and can lend insight and/or advice, that's the purpose of this. I don't write this to sound like an expert, because I can assure you all that I am not. Firstly, the yeast packet was half inflated before I opened it. I'm guessing this means that the yeast cells were already activated, and were already giving off CO2. I don't know if this is a problem or not. Furthermore, the wort was about 20 degrees farenheit higher than I wanted when I pitched the yeast. I hope this didn't shock it, but I felt that it would take too long to cool it, and I wanted to seal off the wort as soon as possible to avoid contamination. Assuming these problems aren't too serious, then I'm feeling good about this batch.
Anyway, I'll try and get the video posted ASAP, and then I'll submit another post after bottling next week. Until next time,