Love was in the air this past brewing day. Two alcoholic drinks of different houses showed their feathers and changed the world as we know it.
On this glorious days of days, not only did we attempt to brew (for the third time) a pale ale that harkens back to the taste of liquid hops and flowery buds, but we also explored the unexplorable and created, for the first time in ‘Hello,My Name is Beer’ history, something so unlike a beer that wouldn’t even want to call it one… cause it’s not one… a mead!
The ghost to our holy trinity ,Keith, was absent for a promotional event so Cam and I took it upon our selves to individually head up these brewing projects, while meeting in the middle to help strain, pour, sanitize and shake. Me with the Beer and Cameron with the Mead. So, how did we do? Let’s find out!
The making of Jane, the more reserved of her sisters: Janey and Janet, went quite smoothly. As I mentioned in a previous post, I decided to use a similar recipe to my last batch except with fewer malts. 6 lbs of pale LME and 1 lb of crystal 40. That’s it. The hop additions were primarily the same, except I substituted Columbus in for the bittering hop and more cascade/Willamette for the northern brewer. I just wasn’t satisfied with the taste NB gave in my last batch and wanted to intensify it a bit. Also, I decided to wait on adding rose hips or juniper berries until after fermentation, just in case I really liked the pale ale just as it was. The process went splendidly – just steeping and extract. No full or even partial mash this time. Just simple extract homebrewing. It was also pretty cool how after 13 (?) beers, I realized how much I have the craft down and therefore didn’t have to look at my directions sheet once!
On the other side of the kitchen… brewing Tarzan the mead was waaay easier than I expected. Cameron headed up this venture and ended up finishing waaay before me. Due to the nature of a mead (pretty much just fermented honey) you don’t have to extract sugars from anything, utilize bittering acids or boil off unwanted compounds, so the process is cut down by at least two hours compared to making a beer! All you gotta do is clean some stuff, throw your ingredients all in a big pot, splash some yeast in there and wait for the magic to happen! … and there comes the only one part that worries me about Cam’s process (sorry man). His directions didn’t say anything about sanitizing! Though I tried to sneak in as much sanitized equipment as I could, a lot wasn’t fully sanitized (which seems important for a substance trapped in an air tight container for months… Well, only time will tell what the outcomes will be.
Well, there we have it. Good, efficient and highly successful brew day. Feels good – haven’t had one of those in a while :).
Oh yes… Jane and Tarzan are currently fermenting away nuzzled next to each other under a blanket of love. I can’t wait to see what will happen next.
– Matt Steiner, head (Beer) brewer