Monday, January 21, 2013

Closet Beer: Batch Awaiting A Name

I'd progressed through a few batches of cider over the last several months to the stage where my wife - to my satisfaction - stated, "It tastes like champagne." But it's been a while since I had made beer.

So last Thursday, I finally brewed beer again. I used old stuff. A Mr. Beer High Country Canadian Draft canned pre-hopped malt, Booster (corn-syrup solids), and brewer's yeast. I added two cups of European Formula Ovaltine. It's too malty and not chocolaty enough for my kids, so I figured that I'd try adding some to beer. To make sure that it wouldn't kill the yeast, I did a test fermentation of just Ovaltine.

Because I had yeast that had failed with previous batches, I started by proofing the yeast. It took an hour to brew, plus about 15 minutes ahead of time to collect the materials and review the sequence of steps. Well, I must have been overwhelmed by wishful thinking, because the next morning the yeast wasn't active.

So I did what I could. Lacking more brewer's yeast, I proofed and added some rapid-rise bread yeast. I've used it before for cider, so I am hoping with a little aging it won't negatively affect the flavor.

I'll probably bottle by this Saturday. I'll be naming this one in a few weeks, when I taste it.

Next batch? I don't like using corn syrup, so I am definitely thinking all malt. It will probably include some extract, but that would still be a slight advance toward real-home-crafted beer. Or maybe I'll try another cider. The last one was really good, but it required more time to age and clarify. Time to add a step - racking.

Why am I using a lame Mr. Beer unit? Well, I'm closet brewing - not even whole-closet brewing at that. So I am limited for space. Also, I don't know how much more I want to invest in the process, but I definitely want to invest enough to make some good beer - and cider. Like I wrote above, I want to start racking.

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