That’s right, it’s been a whole month since that fateful day I made barley tea, boiled it with scummy hops, gazed into the abyss, cooled it in my sink, mixed five-fucking-gallons of sanitizer solution, and poured the stuff into a plastic Canadian Tire bucket to ferment under my kitchen table.
It’s been 2 weeks since my bottling day, when I felt like hangin’ myself with my own siphon hose.
Friday morning, I put a growler and a couple bottles into the fridge.
Well, the homebrew gods must have taken some pity on me. I’m happy to report that nothing exploded and the beer is drinkable! That was all I could ask for. It’s a homebrew miracle!
It was a nice golden (“blonde”) colour.
It smelled like beer.
I gave it a taste, and it tasted like beer. It didn’t taste off or moldy. I didn’t go blind.
I know a Blonde Ale is supposed to be around 25 IBU, but my implementation here seemed a bit hoppier than that. Probably because of my boil and hop schedule screw-ups. I swear, I can almost taste that hop scum from the boil, when I should’ve left the lid off.
Seriously though, with all the mistakes and less-than-ideal conditions, I’m pretty pleased that it’s at least drinkable.
Opening A Growler
As mentioned on bottling day, I was concerned about the incidental aeration that had happened. Plus, I was worried it might be over-carbonated (too much sugar-mixture for less than 5-gallon yield).
I opened a growler with a twist-off. It wasn’t my first fill or marked as “over-aerated”.
I prepared myself for a possible foam-over, but it only made a small hiss and was fine.
It was just carbonated enough, so I was like, “okay, this is fine”.
Opening my over-aerated bottle…
Next, I opened a single-pint bottle with a flip-top… and it made a loud POP, like a champagne bottle. The sound and “fog” were really satisfying.
Thankfully, it didn’t overflow either.
It certainly seemed more carbonated, and had more head when poured.
It could be in my mind, but I thought the over-aerated bottle beer tasted better than the growler stuff. It could be that it was more carbonated, and therefore it seemed less hoppy?
Once I was sure it wasn’t poisonous, I asked J to try it. He seemed to like it and said “oh yeah, I could drink that!” He doesn’t mind hoppier beers either, so he probably likes it more than I do.
I also got him to do a “blind taste test” between the growler and bottle versions. He agreed that the bottle was more carbonated, but wouldn’t go so far as to say they tasted different.
Later in the evening, he had at least two pints of it, so that’s a good sign! 🙂
Unknown alcohol content
The recipe predicts an ABV of 4.6%.
I’m pretty sure there’s no way I can know for sure what the actual ABV of my batch turned out to be. I didn’t quite get my exact OG reading (which I think is required to compare with the FG), so I really have no idea now. If I did have those stats, I’d have to do math and adjust for temperature, etc.
There’s definitely alcohol in it though.
Seeing as there are no preservatives and I probably totally over-aerated everything, I figured I should keep it all refrigerated now. That presented an issue, since there’s limited space in my main fridge.
So, I used my “wine fridge”… I took out a few racks and put the big growlers in there.
Calculating the approx cost per pint (considering only the ingredients and one-time use items): $1.53