Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pic of batch #1, and bottling #3: American Pale Ale

#1: Coopers Real Ale

Well, a quick beer update. Tried Batch #2—the Black Rock Pilsner—this week, which is close to 4 weeks old now. It's still a little young I think, but it has come out as a super drinkable, refreshing Pilsner. It's got a bit more depth than the Batch #1 thanks to the Copper Tun enhancer, but still not as hoppy as I'd like (think Wigram Bohemian Pilsner, or the Three Boys Pilsner). This may change over time, but I definitely think the addition of some Riwaka or Tettnanger Hops would do the trick. Also, Batch #1—the Cooper's Real Ale—is heaps better now that it is 8 weeks old. The sugar taste is still there, but its flavorsome and quite nice. The picture above is of the Coopers Real Ale.

Today my friend and I bottled Batch #3, which will hopefully be close to an APA (American Pale Ale)—a hoppy, aromatic ale that's bitter, but not quite as bitter as an IPA. Here's a run down of the ingredients, and a few pics to boot.

Batch #3: American Pale Ale (APA)

Method: Kit + Enhancer + Hops
Ingredients: Muntons Traditional Bitter Kit (35-45 EBU, 27-33 EBC), Copper Tun English Bitter Enhancer, Golding Hops (0.5oz pellets as a tea), Chinook Hops (1oz pellets, dry hopped)
Original Gravity: ???
Final Gravity: 1020
ABV: ???
Bottles: Glass (500ml, 330ml).
Bottled: 31-03-2012

Grabbed the Muntons Traditional Bitter Kit, which had one of the higher bitter ratings off the shelf, and spiced things up with 2 varieties of hops (in pellet form). Using a pre-boiled and sanitised stocking, I boiled 0.5oz of Golding Hops in 3L of water, making a really aromatic hop tea (this method won't get any bitterness from the hops, just flavour and aroma). This replaced the hot water I usually use from the kettle. We then added the Copper Tun Enhancer, stirred well, and poured in cold water to make 22L at 22 degrees. It smelt awesome, and the kit was nice and bitter—more so than the last two kits.

Now here's were we made a mistake. We didn't stir the cold water into the hot, which meant that when I took a hydrometer reading it was only at 1030. We did gently stir and swish around the yeast, but yeah, the density of the mix was really uneven. When I took a reading from the tap, it was over 1090 (eek!). Note to self: stir before adding the yeast to aerate properly.

Four days later, I bagged 1oz of Chinook Hop pellets in a sanitised stocking and placed them into the fermenter. This will hopefully add more complexity to the flavour and aroma, and give it that APA touch.

Which leads to today's bottling. We had a sneaky taste of the beer, and wow! Nice and bitter, and smelt awesome. Obviously still pretty green, very opaque still (a light brown/mud colour), but that will change over time. Like the last batch, it never passed 1020. I wonder if this is from not stirring, or maybe I need some more fermentables as the Enhancer isn't enough. But apart from that, I'm really excited about this one. 

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