Friday, May 29, 2009

The Ghosts of Homebrewing's Past

I thought I’d post my old batches, starting from 15 years ago. They are in order:

  1. Cooper’s Lager 2/5/94 My notes say I added 1kg corn sugar at boil and that the beer had a harsh aftertaste. (OG 1.040, FG 1.006)
  2. Cooper’s Lager 5/14/94 No corn sugar at boiling and beer was very week (1.024 OG, FG 1.011)
  3. Cooper’s Lager 10/14/94 Added 2 lbs. of corn sugar to the boil. Notes say that it was much smoother than the first two batches and resembles Fosters (not sure how that could be when it was fermented at room temp). (OG 1.039, FG 1.010)
  4. American Christmas Lager 11/25/94 I got an American Lager kit from James Page Brewery and added cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg to the boil. My notes say that the spice smell is awesome, but the taste was overpowering. (OG 1.043, FG 1.012)
  5. Cream Ale 1/20/95 This was another James Page kit. (OG unknown, FG 1.014)
  6. Sweet Mead 2/18/95 Another James Page kit – 12 lbs. of wildflower honey. This mead became better and better with age. Somehow a few bottles managed to make it about 2 ½ years and it was fantastic. (OG unknown, gravity at 6 days 1.074, FG 1.022) How in the world did I not end up with bottle bombs?
  7. Raspberry Lager 6/10/95 This was another can of Coopers with 2 lbs. of corn sugar added along with 1 lb. of raspberries at knock out. I guess I was a glutton for punishment… (OG 1.035, FG 1.008)
  8. London Porter 7/5/95 Another James Page kit, this one the first where I used grains to steep. My notes say that the beer lacked head but tasted good. (OG 1.036, FG 1.000)
  9. London Porter 9/28/95 The same kit – the first one must have come out okay considering Porter is not currently one of my preferred styles. (OG 1.032, FG 1.016)
  10. Dark Honey Wheat 1/6/96 This may have been my first non-kit beer (my notes do not mention a kit as they did in the past). Steeped chocolate and dark (black?) malt and boiled dark LME and wheat DME with some fuggles added for 3 min (really, three minutes?) and then some clover honey at knock out. (OG 1.048, FG 1.022).
  11. Memphis Slim Stout 4/21/96 I should have called this Mi Casa Stout as judging by the date this was the first beer I brewed in the townhouse I bought after getting out of college. Steeped chocolate, dark crystal (L?), black patent and roasted barley. Used dark LME, 2 lbs. of clover honey and Chinook (bittering) and cascade (flavor) hops. That sure is an odd combination. Unfortunately no notes on how it tasted – my notes are rather sparse from the early years. (OG 1.060 {finally a beer with a real OG}, FG 1.022)
  12. Raspberry Mead 6/2/96 The first mead was so good, I thought I’d try it again – it didn’t turn out quite as good. Actually it sucked. 10 lbs. clover honey, 12 oz. fresh raspberries and 1 oz of chinook hops. No! No! No! First of all I boiled the freaking honey. That’s one strike. Then I added hops – strike two. Then I added the raspberries at knockout – STEERIIIKE THREEEEE! (OG 1.055, FG 0.991)
  13. Raspberry Wheet (that’s the way I spelled it – my notebook did not have spell check) 6/24/08 6 lbs. hopped wheat extract, 2 lbs. wheat DME and 1 oz. of fuggles. (OG 1.040, FG 1.012)
  14. Holiday Beer 9/28/96 gold LME, clover honey, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cascade. (OG 1.060, FG 1.013)
  15. Attempt at Guinness (seriously, that’s what I wrote) 12/96 This did not go well because I boiled the crushed pale malt and barley along with the dark LME. At the time I had never heard of mashing. (OG 1.030, FG 1.010)
  16. Sweet Virginia Mead 7/31/99 Yes, 2 ½ years between batches as we had to do some time down in Dallas and I did not take my brewing equipment with me. This was a celebratory batch as we had moved back to the Commonwealth and moved into our new house two weeks earlier. This was 15 lbs. clover honey for a 5 gallon batch. I learned my lesson and did not boil the honey. I bulk aged this for about 3 months before bottling and it fermented out a little farther than I had hoped – a little too dry. I actually found a few bottles of this 10 year old mead in my garage recently. It’s not as good as it was back in 2000. (OG 1.082, FG 1.000)
  17. Nut Brown Ale 8/15/99 Steeped chocolate and black patent malts and used Amber LME along with EKG and Northern Brewer hops. (OG 1.041, FG 1.010)
  18. Pumpkin Ale 10/9/99 I gutted a 9 lb. pumpkin and roasted the pulp and then steeped the pumpkin and some crystal 60L and then used light LME, hallertauer and fuggles along with late additions of cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. This thing tasted and smelled awesome but I do remember the last two bottles were gushers in the parking lot of a Redskins game. I just noticed the FG was 1.020 so I probably bottled too early. The OG is unknown.
  19. Commonwealth Pale Ale 1/24/00 Crystal 60, light LME, maltodextrin, Perle hops for bittering and cascade for flavor and dry hopped. The last beer I made before a very long break (I was working on my graduate degree and the stork kept showing up at my front door) and by far the best I had made to date. (OG 1.078, FG unknown).

These 19 were all in one notebook. There is a second notebook with another 15 to 20 old batches that must have been misplaced during one of our many moves. If it turns up, I’ll post those here.

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