Sunday, February 26, 2012

Aged Homebrews - preview

While cleaning up the "homebrew corner" of my cellar this past week, I discovered a hidden stash of some of my earliest homebrews (as if I've been brewing so very long!). I recall putting a bottle of each away, wanting to keep a record of what I had brewed. This was before I truly understood how time can impact a beer. Now, I only store away those beers that I think can hold up to some aging. Even so, I thought it would be interesting to give these four bottles a try and post some tasting notes on them. I threw them in the fridge and will hopefully get to them sometime in the coming weeks. For now, here's a run-down of what I found:

Irish-ish Red Ale:
My first Irish Red ale attempt. This was a partial mash that was 75% malt and 25% DME, a single bittering addition of Challenger hops, fermented with WLP004 (Irish Ale yeast...go figure). This bottle is approaching 2.5 years old. (Tasting notes here)

My first (and only) attempt at a Scottish Ale...I'll let you decipher the was my (poor) attempt at being clever. Another partial mash recipe - this time with about 60% malt and 40% DME, EKG for bittering, and WLP004 again. I think this may have been my last 5 gallon batch. This bottle is also approaching 2.5 years old. (Tasting notes here)

Summit APA (maybe):
I wonder why that question mark is on the cap. If this is actually my Summit APA, it will be interesting to see how it has aged. I really hated this beer when I brewed it - the Summit hops came out all onion-and-garlic-y. Terrible. This was the first batch where I actually ended up dumping a bunch of it. Too bad too, because if it weren't for the Summit hops, this would have been a killer beer. Thinking about it now, I could probably consider this the initial prototype for my hoppy amber ale that I've been trying to dial in. Of course, the "?" on the cap could mean this is something completely different.

I am very excited to discover what this one might be. Not sure why the cap was left unlabeled. I actually think this might be one of my very earliest beers - I'm guessing either an English-style pale ale (my 3rd ever brew) or maybe a southern English Brown Ale (my 4th ever brew, which was supposed to be a Chocolate, Vanilla Porter that didn't quite turn out that way). I suppose this could be my first ever brew as well, a kit called "Holiday Amber", which always confused me since there was nothing "Holiday" about it. Man, it would be fun if it were that beer.

If nothing else, this will be a fun excursion that will tell me just how good my sanitation process really is!


Dank brewer said...

good stuff. I recently did this too. Found some bottles of my first Saison where I added a bunch of spices. Even after 3 years spices don't fade. Doh! It was very much over spiced with coriander.

Jim Lemire said...

@Dank - Amazing that those spices were still there after 3 years! None of my beers are that complex, but the Irish Red and the Scottish ale are darker and malty, so they may have held up over time.

Randy Booth said...

I brewed my first IPA with Citra and Summit hops. The onion in the Summit really didn't click until I had a bottle recently. Then, I realized it was like the little brother of Oskar Blues' Gubna (imperial IPA brewed exclusively with Summit). Summit is certainly overpowering with the onion and garlic flavor, but it works in some situations, I think. Gubna being one (and I must say I like mine, too, while it isn't perfect). It's a nice change of pace from citrusy hops.

Jim Lemire said...

@Randy - the interesting thing about Summit hops is that they seem to come in two different "varieties" - onion/garlic and tangerine/tropical. I think it is certain batches/years - something about the onion and garlic flavors coming out when the hops are left on the bine too long. I didn't know this before I tried them - I was going for the tangerine aroma and flavor. I had tried Widmer Brother's Drifter Pale Ale and really enjoyed it and so I was trying to get those flavors.

I remember smelling the hops and thinking they smelled "off", but being a relatively new homebrewer I didn't think anything of it really and tossed them in. When I tasted the chilled wort I was worried, but thought/hoped it was too early to tell. Unfortunately, it wasn't.

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