Dispatches from Maine

Just another person of little note writing about ordinary things. That I reside in Maine is icing on the cake.

30 March 2005

Homebrew and Bottling Gone Awry


After many long years of reading about brewing and watching my father-in-law, Tom, work the homebrew miracle, I had decided to make my own beer. Rather than take the standard path of brewing from a kit, I elected to concoct my own recipe based on a book on pale ale which Tom loaned me. I am a terrible fiend for hops, so I wanted to select a recipe with plenty of hops. I zeroed in on IPA, a style which I originally had little love for. When the night for brewing arrived I went...well...hops crazy! I used northern brewer for bittering hops, goldings for aroma and then, in a fit of pure insanity, dry hopped with hallertau. Thus it was born: Triple Hop IPA.

After a few weeks of fermentation, it was ready for bottling. While we were bottling it the capper, a handy device used to compress the cap onto the bottle, finally broke down after many long years of service. We then brewed up some of Tom's patented Dayside Dark, a strangely delicious hoppy porter. I was so excited about the beer that I, like an idiot, threw it into the fridge as soon as I returned home. This halts the bottle conditioning process by putting the yeast into "suspended animation." The first two bottles were flat, lifeless and had the same flavor as the beer when it was in the fermenting barrel: no kidding, eh? Tom counselled me to take the beer out of the fridge and put it in the basement for a few weeks, and, voila! The beer today is wonderful (here is a picture of the clear bottle) with good flavor, carbonation and head. Success at last!

Bottling Gone Awry

Last night Tom and I were supposed to bottle Dayside Dark. I had yet to obtain a new capper, so after the kids were in bed I headed over to his place. We went right to Oak Hill only to find it closed, then headed off to RSVP. Unbelievably RSVP no longer stocks homebrew supplies. Having had a somewhat difficult day at work, Tom and I skipped bottling and went to go check Three Dollar Dewey's. Of course, they have no brewing supplies either, but it is the site of my very first legal beer. We sat and talked and had a few beers. I enjoyed a Smithwicks, a wonderful Irish ale of the creamy bitter style, and a Pilsner Urquell, a fine European pilsner. Tom also had a Smithwicks and then followed with an Old Thumper. It was a good way to close out the day, but the bottling still lies in our future.

The next beer on my agenda is something dark and rich...hmm....


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