Sunday, October 02, 2005

 

All-new brews

Well, my pumpkin went on tap this weekend as previously predicted... and I'm going to take another crack at it. Its not that my current pumpkin ale is bad or anything - but I can do alot better. I'm going to double the pumpkin,
use some flaked oats and flaked barley for extra body and creaminess, mash at a higher temp, take out the honey and use molassas instead, totally drop the carmelized brown sugar, and put a cinnamon stick in the secondary... And see how radically different the second one comes out.

The pumpkin ale I have right now is a little lacking in the body department, but has some pumpkin flavor and plenty of spices. The honey very obviously just added fermentables and little else... as did the brown sugar. I was really hoping for more of a flavor contribution from the brown sugar. I either used too little... or should have added it late in the boil. Not sure.

The "Native Rage" appears to have toked on the peace pipe a few too many times in the past 4 months since I brewed it... the initial "rip your face off" hoppiness has mellowed significantly and turned into something really nice to drink. Not complaining at all... Just suprised. I obviously can brew MUCH more hoppy things than Native Rage and not scalp my taste buds.... or perhaps I'm turning into a hophead... *shudder*.

The Oak Aged Vanilla Porter is wonderful again... but not quite as good as the first time. Different oak chips and going all-grain, I'm going to have to tweak it some next time. I think all the dark grains reacted different from mashing than steeping... its a little more edgy and less smooth than last time. Some flaked barley should smooth it out some, as would backing off on the black roasted barley.

The vanilla character is also sorely lacking in this batch... I am not sure if the beans I got were less fresh than last time around or something (both batches used ones from the Newark Coop off Main Street), but I just don't sense it. Next time I'll order some bourbon vanilla beans from MoreBeer.com.

Got 3 good beers on tap though... very happy. So now I've got a new batch or two I need to work on in the coming weeks in addition to the those I already had planned. My 10 gallons of Belgian Wit got delayed until Tuesday evening due to a shift in my weekend plans (and a yeast starter that wasn't ready yet), but hey - it'll happen.

Comments:
Instead of getting your vanilla beans from MoreBeer look at ebay. I bought mine for brewing there and I couldn't be happier. I got mine from the seller organic-vanilla or something like that.
 
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