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Thanks,The Beer Hawk Team.
That kit you just made? It worked! The second one? Your mates loved it too! But now you’re looking for a little more punch. Patrick Gengler looks at the easiest three ways to really give your kit a some attitude
Many of us will start to homebrew as simply as possible; some rudimentary gear and a brewing kit. Kit brewing is a great way to start, it’s how I started. After a few brews however, I felt the need to get a bit more creative with the kits before going all-grain. It’s time to unleash the mad scientist.
The first thing to do is look at the main flavours you want to accentuate in your kit. For example, a beer that is meant to be amber or deep red is usually malt focused, so I’ll take those malt flavours and bring them forward. My personal favourite is the caramel flavour brought out by caramalt, it’s a dark amber-coloured grain that adds a little fermentable sugar and tonnes of flavour. I’d consider doubling the caramalt maybe, or if the kit doesn’t have any add a 100 grams or so – it will boost the caramel flavour to the next level.
The other approach is to add ‘accent’ flavour. I prefer beers with less bitter hop presence and honey is a great way to achieve this accent flavour. Many kits come with brewing sugar to help create more alcohol potential, if so, I’ll substitute that honey for the sugar. Honey is very fermentable: 90-95% efficient in technical terms. The sweetness from the honey dissipates as the yeast converts that sugar into ethanol and CO2. All you are left with are the subtle notes that the honey brings, dampening down the bitterness. I like to use orange blossom honey in particular as it’s more citrusy than floral and heather honey adds a nice spicy floral kick as well.
The other thing you can do is, of course, add some more hops. If you are making a pale ale or an IPA, the kits usually come with pre-measured hop sachets. Feel free to double them, or replace them all together. Without throwing it around willy nilly however, I often looking up the specific acid breakdowns of the hops so that you can emulate the same bitterness that the kit has set out for you to achieve. YCH Hops (https://ychhops.com/varieties) is my favourite place to check out all of the specific details of the hops included, and the hops I want to replace them with. I really like the malts used in an English style IPA but prefer southern hemisphere hops that bring tropical notes to the beer, so I’ll maybe go with bittering and the marvellous aroma hops from New Zealand.
These are only a few ways to make your kit that much more personal. I haven’t even got to the yeast yet. We will do soon, but bear in mind it can make a huge difference to the beer.
In the meantime, I hope you all have a great time with some mad scientist experimentation. Happy brewing!
Pairing beer and food together isn’t all rules and science. That would make for a terribly boring dinner party! Instead, it’s the art of taking a good beer, some good food and partnering them together to make something even better. It’s the adventure of discovering what works, what doesn’t and what you like. It’s you taking a bite, taking a sip and then declaring your undying love for that imperial stout and chocolate cake.
Barrel-ageing beers is not a new thing, but it is getting more and more popular, and has probably never been as inventive. Adrian Tierney-Jones explores the new wave of ageing beer in wood
While some so-called off-flavours can be appropriate in certain styles others are not and may kill a little bit of your soul. Here's a quick guide to the most common off-flavours.
Father’s Day, 20th June 2021, is the special date in the calendar when we celebrate and give a nod to the Dads in our lives. It’s an excuse to spoil them with a little something to say thank you for being awesome. If you’re looking for inspiration for a craft beer-loving Dad, then check out our top 7 Father’s Day beer gifts.
Another can spins off the line at Stone Brewing’s new brewery in Berlin. The speed of the whole process is astonishing, a matter of seconds from empty can to filled and sealed. Those amazing hop aromas that Stone Brewing’s IPA is known for are locked in, only to escape as you release the swirling lemon, pine, grapefruit aromas in one of the world’s best IPAs. Cans are the perfect container for this beer. And here’s why.
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