I cracked open my first ESB from the revival batch and it’s not bad. It has a nice malt flavor with a noticeable bitter finish. It has an amber color, but is a little cloudy. There is also a good bit of sediment in the bottles. For the first time in my homebrewing journey, I didn’t do a secondary fermentation, so I’m assuming that is what’s responsible for that. Overall, it’s entirely drinkable, but still has that “extract homebrew” taste and feel to it.
I also used some Munton’s conditioning tablets in the bottles, since I wanted to get away from using corn sugar. I’m not totally sold on them. After a week they’ve almost completely dissolved, but I did see some tablet particles in the beer I tried today. I’ll have to see if I still see anything after another week or two.
So I’m pretty relieved that after a six month layoff I still know how to brew, but I think this has reaffirmed that if I’m going to grow any more as a homebrewer, I need to start pushing my boundaries and either go all-grain or start doubling the ingredient amounts in these recipes. I’m a huge fan of big beers, and my homebrews haven’t lived up to that expectation so far.
Congrats on getting back into it. Why are you moving away from corn sugar? I’ve had good results from the tabs, but they do take awhile to fully disolve sometimes, and everyonce and awhile you get the tab partilces. I’ve gone back to them since I’m kegging part of my batches.
Have you given any thought to partial mash brewing? I mix extract and partial mash. I find its a good intermediate step. Not as much stuff to buy, good way to learn about mashing, lautering, etc. And it improves your taste (getting away from the “twang”) and teaches you about different malts.
Shoot me an email if you have any questions on how I do it, otherwise there’s a million resources on the web (I also put a video on my site about what I do.)
I was exploring moving away from corn sugar, more for the principle of it than a practical reason. It seems to me it would be a more “natural” thing to use malt extract or something rather than corn. Maybe it’s the Bavarian Puritan in me…
I have done some partial mash recipes. Usually up to a pound or two of grain, so nothing too extravagant. I need to pay more attention to temperature during the mash than I have in the past, and I saw a good video that had some tips on lautering. My next batch is going to be a pumpkin ale that turned out really good last year. I’m going to modify my recipe a bit, incorporating more grain and spices into it than last year.
Thanks for your tips. I’m always looking to improve. It’s tough being a perfectionist and a brewer!
I am excited for you, now that your brewing sabbatical is over! I promise to bring you guys some tasty Michigan brews for Christmas if you promise to save a couple bottles of your tastiest homebrew for us- not that I can drink them…maybe just a taste. Go Big! Go Bold! After tasting your yummy offerings last spring I am anxious to see where you can go next…