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17th May 2017 | Homebrew

First all-grain brew: The Verdict

In the final installment of the gripping 'first all-grain homebrew' series, we get to try it. Spolier alert: it's quite good


A stone fruit nose swirls around the olfactory glands, followed with a blast of more tropical fruits. Taking a sip on the lightly effervescent hazy, orange-hued liquid, I’m reminded of some of the lighter IPAs, and pales ales in the days when, you know, they used to be balanced. A graininess comes quickly to the fore, behind a pine blast of Simcoe. It finally gives way to a rasping liquorice bitterness and a lingering grain dryness. It’s a beer that is tailor made for summer’s evenings with mates. It’s a beer we made. We made a beer and it is, well pretty damn good.

Yep, three weeks in a bottle and it’s time to crack our BrewDog IPA is Dead Simcoe clone taken from DIY Dog, a free PDF of homebrew recipes of every beer ever made by the Scottish disruptors.

So, if you managed to pile through the introduction – most of which is true – you’ll remember the story of my first all-grain homebrew. You’ll remember that I’d persuaded my mates to part with some cash. You’ll remember, of course, that that the brewday went OK. (Of course you don’t remember, no good stories ever include the line ‘it went OK’).

So here I am with 29 Grolsch and Biere de Garde bottles filled with our homebrew. Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first:

  1. We missed the alcohol by 1.3% (it’s now 5.4%)
  2. It’s not quite as fizzy as I was expecting – probably something to do with my rather hurried priming that involved vaguely lobbing some homebrew sugar vaguely near the bottles.
  3. It’s a bit hazy, but i) all beers are these days right? ii) no finings or Protofloc were involved. If we were a commercial brewery, we’d call it unfiltered and add 50p a pint to it.
  4. I have to give away 22 of the bottles, which, admittedly isn’t a flaw in the beer, just in my business plan.
  5. While there’s a delightful freshness to it, it’s nowhere near as hoppy as I was expecting considering the ludicrous amount of Simcoe in it. I think that’s down to when I added the dry hops and couldn’t get it really ‘in’ to the beer.

 Good stuff:

  1. It differs from extract brew too – there’s a real, honest-to-God depth of flavour to it, a certain graininess that makes it rich.
  2. It’s really tasty.
  3. WE MADE IT!
  4. I got to spend a day faffing around with hops and malts and stuff.
  5. One of my mates is already asking ‘when do we need bigger kit’.
  6. Learned loads about grains, efficiency, sparging, and beer making in general.
  7. WE MADE IT!

That’s the key really, we made a beer, it tastes great.

And is it as good as my pretentious tasting notes at the start made out? Almost.

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