Saturday, 22 February 2014

Homebrew Review - Blind Tiger

Life is too short for mediocre beer. And if you're brewing ten gallon batches and get it badly wrong, that's a shedload of mediocre beer to get through.

I'm not sure when I last ditched a batch, but this particular beer was a disaster from start to finish. It started with the recipe. A good idea, badly executed.

The idea of a low gravity easy-drinker with a nice hop combo appealed, but the idea of pairing carahell malt with mild ale malt to create a bit more body than you might expect from a lightweight beer, was a bad one. The sickly sweet malts completely dominate this beer and the hops fail to punch their way through.

I overshot on the gravity too, so it wasn't the small beer I was hoping for and the combination of malts made for a much darker beer than the software predicted, so it wasn't as pale as anticipated either.

To add insult to injury, I also took the beer off the yeast too early. Pressure of work made me use a window of opportunity that was far too early, so there's some diacetyl to add into the mix too. Lovely.

So all in all, a pretty poor effort, both in design and execution. I'm ditching all the bottles and will make a decision on the other half of the batch (which is kegged) in the next couple of days. I'm pondering whether to chuck in a load of dry hops to the keg, to see if this makes it more a amenable brew.

Anyhow, I've brewed again since revisiting a recipe that won me a bronze at the National Homebrew Competition a few years back. I'm not sure why I've taken so long to re-brew this one, but at least I can be hopeful of some decent beer to drink in a few week's time.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Homebrew Review - Best Bitter

This beer was brewed back in November

Best Bitter? 

To be honest, it's another disappointing beer. Yes, it looks the part, but in all other aspects it's very unexceptional.

It pours nice and bright, is a decent colour, although the white head doesn't hang around very long. There's not much on the nose, a few earthy and spicy notes, but nothing particularly inviting.

The taste is slightly better, hints of citrus, but the hops are largely underwhelming. To be fair, it was only meant to be an easy drinking ordinary bitter and neither hops nor malts dominate. I guess in that respect, you could say it was nicely balanced, but I was hoping for a bit more from the Simcoe hops.

Mouthfeel is a bit on the thin side. My brewday notes show I mashed on the low side, so I ought not to be surprised. Other than that, I can't detect any obvious brewing faults. It's limitations are purely due to design.

Perhaps if I was drinking this with the sun on my back during a summer heatwave, my impressions would be more favourable. As it is, conditions are grey and wet, much as they have been for the last six to eight weeks. My mood is sombre and the beer is distinctly average. At best.