Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Home Stretch

Well it's officially been over a month since my last post. I was afraid life was going to limit my ability to update my progress. The good news is there are no horror stories of infected batches or exploding bottles. The better news is that I have over eleven cases bottled, carbonated and ready to roll. The best news is that I love the way each turned out!

I won't get into too much of the details since I've already posted the recipes and notes on the process. There's has been a lot to learn by brewing this much beer in five gallon batches with such a small time table. The most important of these lessons comes down to one word: BALANCE.

In order to make an enjoyable, highly hopped beer you must strike a balance between the bitterness of the hops and the flavors from the malt. You can use original gravity and IBU rating as measurements. This chart illustrates the point and is a good gauge of balance. I'm not sure where it originated, but it's great:

In the example above the beer brewed has an OG of 1050 at 20 IBU. The chart characterizes this beer as "slightly malty." So you can see that there's a range of flavor profiles you can achieve at different points on the scales with the yellow area signifying good balance. Even though the range of each flavor profile is subjective to the drinker, the overall concept still makes sense to me. Two beers rated at 20 IBU will each have a different percieved bitterness or maltiness depending where they fall on the scale.

I feel my brewing came a long way in a short time because of the repetition I got in. You start to develop a rhythm which is important in brewing. Because you start to do routine things...well, routinely... you'll ultimately end up allotting more energy towards creativity. This is what I think everyone who ever picked up the paddle hopes to achieve. Below is the final lineup I'll be proudly serving at the rehearsal and reception:

Happy Hoppy American Pale Ale

Sunny Side Wheat

Oatmeal Stout

Imperial Dampfbier (Iron Brewer Entry)

Stocking up for one hell of a party:

The finishing touches:

Well this is it... my last blog post as a single guy. I can't wait to share this day with all my family and friends. Prost! See you on the other side.

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