The Art of the Brew

Since the completion of my new mash tun my desire to homebrew has been back on the rise.  Over the years it’s come and gone.  There have been periods where I was making a couple beers every month.  Then suddenly I’d go half a year without brewing.  I’m sure there were any number of factors involved, but I know that my last falling out with homebrewing had to do with the fact I was really tired of doing extract batches, and my previous couple of all-grain batches had been absolute failures.  Those failures were not procedural in nature, but were due to poor equipment and setup.  So I sort of shelved the whole homebrew thing for a bit.  Last month I got all the pieces to put together a new mash tun, and my first brew with it had pretty damn great efficiency – creeping up towards 80% which is more than I could have hoped for.

I’ve already gotten in on the recent group buy for bulk grains.  Now that I can do reliable all grain mashes and no longer just mini-mashes, 55lbs sacks of my base malt are going to be essential.  For now I think I’ll be going with Maris Otter, but that may change later down the road.  I’ve always liked Maris Otter – it’s a very clean grain with good extraction.  I’ll also have to start picking up some 10ish pound bags of speciality malt so I can give my beers all the character that they deserve.

My first all grain batch with the mash tun was an IPA primarily using Ahtanum hops.  I’d been wanting to try these for awhile so I figured an IPA was the best way to showcase them.  I also decided to try and get a little bit fancy with this IPA and put about 8 ounces of Gambrinus honey malt in to it. I’ve heard people saying the honey malt barely adds any honey flavor, to people saying that even a tiny amount imparts a huge taste.  I guess a lot of it is a matter of perspective and soon enough I’ll find out how I feel about 8 ounces of the malt.

The IPA just went in to the keg today so now it’s chilling down and carbonating.  Come this weekend I’ll get to taste test my first all grain batch that actually fermented like a mad demon.  It smells great, it looks great, and I can’t wait to find out this weekend if it tastes great!