As I mentioned some time ago, last weekend the homebrewing store Brouwland (probably the biggest one in northwestern Europe) organized a couple of Open Days, with lectures, product demonstrations and some beer specialists on site available to evaluate homebrewed beers. It was kind of a lottery and we couldn’t choose exactly who we wanted to evaluate our beers but in the end I was lucky to be assigned some time with John Palmer (THE John Palmer from How to Brew and Water books). My initial plan was to take the Session Pale Ale and the Doppelbock for his evaluation but due to limited time (only 15 min) only one beer was alowed. Since the last bottles of the Session Pale Ale were already showing significant levels of oxidation I decided to take the Doppelbock.
When the time came first I had to remind him it wasn’t the first time he tried one of by beers (first time being in 2012 in Piracicaba’s Brazilian Homebrewing Competition). Then he went on to evaluate my beer. He liked it very much, including the hoppy character not typical to style. He found something that felt like oxidized malt flavors/slight astringency but couldn’t tell by the grain bill if it was realy coming from the malts. In the end he guessed it could be due to the late hop additions (specially the Simcoe) not typical to a malt heavy style. His suggestions were to tone down the hopping and let the malts shine more. Another comment that made me very happy was that there were no clear fermentation flaws, so I kind of nailed the lager fermentation (YAY). So all in all the beer is good, no flaws, maybe some tweaking the grain bill and hop additions for the next batch.
We also took the opportunity to buy some equipment and ingredients for Renata’s first hard cider. She is excited on brewing hard cider at home and since Brouwland has everything you need to homebrew beer, wine, cider, etc. it was a great opportunity to get ready. So we bought her first 5L demijohn glass bottle, some yeast and some organic pasteurized apple juice. I also bought some ingredients for one of my next beers.
Since last Monday was, again, a bank holiday in Germany we decided to put Renata’s Cider to ferment and to brew the Session Stout I’ve been planning for some time.
Brewing the Session Stout went very similar to the Session Pale Ale. I have to always remember that efficiency increases with lighter beers so, again, since I didn’t adjust my equipment profile and recipe accordingly I had to dilute the wort mid boild to hit my desired FG. I’m using an Irish Ale yeast so lets see how much atenuation I get but I hope ABV will be below 4% this time and I can start learning how to balance low ABV with lots of flavor.
Once both are ready we’ll let you know the results.