Beer Quest: Bell’s Home Brew Challenge

The beer is now kegged and carbed.  I have to say even the first sampling is showing good signs for what I wanted to happen with this beer.  I am calling it an amped American Pale Ale but honestly I am not sure it falls quite into the category.  The color is a lightish orange for starters.  Then you move into the flavors.  Sure there is a underlying bitterness that builds as you drink it but that only enhances the citrus notes that predominate throughout.  There is also a distinct touch of grain in the mix.  The beer ended up around 8%, with this in mind I was surprised that I really didn’t taste the alcohol.  So the flavors tend to be smooth without much of (if at all) an alcohol burn. 

As it is right now it is almost exactly the beer I wanted it to be, as always I will know a bit more once it has settled into itself from the quick carb it just went through.

When you get the majority of the wort premade, it can be an interesting voyage to see what you end up with.

Break down:

The original wort was 5 gallons that when boiled would end up at roughly 6% alcohol but only around 4 gallons or so.  I personally wanted to be at 5 gallons final volume so this meant adding some more liquor and DME so I did not lose any ABV.  At the same time I wanted to make it a bit more than what it originally was so I went with candi sugar, or for me, some caramel. 

I cooked about 1.5 pounds of sugar to 325 degrees.  This ends up with a reddish brown color and a flavor similar to burnt marshmellows.  In the fermentation this ends up giving a flavor similar to candied cherries, depending on the yeast used. 

Now we move into hops.  I started with Sorachi Ace, three additions the first at 1/2 ounce and then the next two at 1/4 ounce each.  And finally I finished with Mt. Ranier.  The full ounce of this was added at the last 5 minutes of the boil. 

Now finally we are looking at yeast selection.  WLP0029 Kolsch yeast (mainly because it was what I had on hand) which is known to accentuate the hops, worked well with the set up.  The beer spent a week in primary at about 64 degrees and then a week and a half at 40 degrees.  The yeast helped to give the beer a clean flavor profile but with enough fruitiness for the citrus notes to stand out. 

The excitement of the evening was when I was placing the keg in the kegerator.  My intention was to replace one of my older kegs that was about to blow with this one, easy peasy any day.  Until you are setting up the older keg on the picnic tap only to realize too late that not only is the tap open but it isn’t fully assembled.  I had beer shooting out from the connection and the cobra at the same time.  My first reaction is to try and screw the connection fully together with my fingers (usually this needs a screwdriver).  It isn’t until I have beer spread out nicely that I think of disconnecting from the keg.  The good news is I only had about 1 beer left in the keg anyway. 

Time for a pint…

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