Posts Tagged ‘Homebrew Heaven’

A Fresh Perspective

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

beerunfail

Yesterday I talked about my inability to brew gruit, Turns out I may have spoken too soon.

Today’s post is late, but that could be a good thing. Instead of updating my blog before meeting up with Dan I decided to swing by Homebrew Heaven and the library. The reason why I was heading out to the beer shop wasn’t to get my ingredients for the Reese’s Stout. Instead I went bringing beer. I brought Dug a bottle of Rose Red, and Witches Brew Gruit. I plan on entering my Rose Red in a homebrew competition in April and needed help understanding the categories.

Even though it wasn’t even noon Doug and I opened the gruit and he poured two glasses while I discussed the problems I was having with it. Turns out the gruit may not be a “bad” beer

per say. As I tried to explain how horrible it was to him he just nodded and sipped. Then he proceeded to explain that although he had no experience with gruits that the problem might lie in my particular beer being extremely susceptible to infection, so there goes my oxidation theory. I guess I was hoping for a magic answer that was an easy fix. Also he said that the sour flavor wasn’t a bad thing. Turns out Doug likes sour beers like lambics, and from a sour beer stance this beer is different, but drinkable.

This idea intrigued me, so I started sipping on my glass. Turns out that if you sip on it, instead of drinking it, it really isn’t too bad. Don’t get me wrong, I still think my gruit failed. It doesn’t taste even close to how I wanted it. But I’m no longer looking at this beer as a complete failure. Even though I’m not a lambic fan (and this actually isn’t a real lambic), and I won’t brew this in the same way again, I don’t think I’ll dump all this now.

Only one thing remains. Anyone brave enough to try it?

I Can’t Brew Gruits

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

beerfailMy gruit finished carbonating last week, and it looks like I have five more gallons of meat marinade. I skipped putting it in my small carboy to clear and just siphoned right off the yeast cake in the six gallon carboy, and straight into the bottling bucket. I also pulled a glass for sampling and testing the final gravity. The FG came out just around 1.01, and the sample tasted awesome. Thinking everything was gravy I added the priming sugar and bottled. I even went as far as to sanitize my caps, something I don’t usually do. Needless to say I was excited to have this batch turn out.

Two weeks later I popped the top on one of the ones from the reused cap experiment. It was flat. Apparently some of the caps didn’t reseal like I’d hoped. I decided to try it anyway to see how it tasted. It tasted exactly like the last batch. It had an herbal flavor, but there was such an overpowering sweet/tart flavor that I could barely swallow. This bottle didn’t seal properly though right? Maybe it was a case of the same infection that I thought had taken my last batch. I reached into the other case and grabbed one that used a brand new cap and popped the top. This hiss told me it sealed which was exciting, so I poured it in a glass. Turns out this one tasted the same. In fact they all did.

Somewhere along the line this recipe keeps going south. I sent out a couple of inquiries, and am waiting to hear back from another brewer who’s done gruits before. Right now it appears that something in the beer is causing it to oxidize like crazy. You think it’d be easy to tell since oxidation has a unique flavor, but the problem is, if this is oxidation it’s so strong, and unplanned for, that it’s ridiculous. Hopefully I can figure out what’s up soon though, because the flavors it has when it comes out of the carboy are awesome, and it is a brew I really want to succeed.

If anyone out there has any experience brewing gruits and can give me advice I’d appreciate it. When I swing by Homebrew Heaven to talk to Doug I’ll also check with him to see what he thinks.