After my initial success with my first homebrewing kit, I immediately ordered two more. Though I eventually wanted to brew beer from scratch using recipes and maybe someday even design my own, but in the meantime, I would focus on improving my basic brewing skills. For my next beer, I decided to dive right into the hop-filled deep end with a single-hop IPA. A few weeks after submitting my order, my kit arrived and I was ready to brew again.
This time, my brew day ended up being relatively uneventful. I discovered that cooling the wort after the boil is much more difficult than I had expected, even when my sink isn’t leaking. Even with a sink full of ice, I just couldn’t cool it as fast as I hoped. Luckily, it doesn’t seem to have affected the beer very much. Another issue I had was sanitizing my equipment. Since I forgot to buy sanitizer, I decided to just boil some water to sanitize my gear with. Unfortunately, I later discovered that the heat ended up warping my airlock, which may have leaked a little during fermentation.
The beer fermented without any major issues. The temperature was actually pretty good throughout the whole process, and I didn’t need to insulate the fermenter. The color of the beer started as a bright orange, which certainly was more interesting to look at than the dark brown of my first beer. It ended up darkening slightly, though unfortunately did not clear up as much as I hoped. I think this may be because I didn’t boil it long enough.
After bottling and maturing the beer, it was finally time to taste it! After my delicious first batch of beer, I had high expectations. The bottles this time seemed to retain their carbonation (I had been careful to tighten the caps better) and the beer poured with a lovely white head. As for the taste, it ended up tasting like a pretty ordinary west-coast-style IPA. It had some nice aroma, but since I didn’t do any dry-hopping, it wasn’t as fragrant as most modern craft IPA. Because I only used a single hop variety, citra, the hop flavor ended up being a little one-dimensional. I also think that citra’s flavor may be a little too sharp to use as a bittering hop. It wasn’t a bad beer by any means, and its was still better than most store-bought beer, but it didn’t “wow” me like the first batch did.
After finishing it, I was a little worried. My next beer kit was black IPA, another hop-heavy style. Though I’m hopeful that this will be more interesting than the single-hop IPA, I have decided to temper my expectations a bit. I have since brewed that beer and it is days away from finishing its maturation. Stay tuned for another blog post once I have tasted it!
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