Homebrewing, Small Batch Numbers 5, 6, 7

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I’ve been busy of late, so I haven’t had much time to post blog entries about my home brewing. Luckily, I’ve been able to continue brewing and learning about home brewing. Here’s a quick run down of my next three completed small batches.

Small Batch Number 5
Belgian Wheat Beer – I used Belgian Pilsner, Pale Wheat, Carmel, and Munich malt along with Centennial and Chinook hops. The original recipe called for Tettnager and Amarillo hops, but instead I used some of my leftover hops from my last IPA batch. This was my first time working with Belgian Candi Sugar and using orange peels, both of which I noted and wanted to try again. The ABV came out to around 6.7% and the overall taste was decent. It was highly drinkable and tasted fine to me. Probably not the best Belgian Wheat Beer that I’ve had, but a drinkable homebrew alternative.

Small Batch Number 6
Dates & Honey Ale – For this batch, I wanted to try something that I had never drank before. This beer was expected to be quite sweet due to both honey and dates. I used Pilsner, Caramel, and Biscuit malts along with Centennial, Citra, and Columbus hops. The recipe also called for honey and dates, which I generously added. The result was quite interesting (at least to me). It was sweet and dark, but not as sweet as I expected. The dates brought out some sweetness, but the flavor wasn’t as strong as I had hoped.

Small Batch Number 7
Honey Wheat IPA – After experimenting a bit, I wanted to go back to IPAs. I had sampled a local Honey Wheat IPA several months earlier at the local brew fest and I wanted to try to duplicate that beer. This was also my first “own” recipe, where I created the recipe by myself from scratch rather than just taking an existing recipe and modifying it a little by changing some hops, additives, or malts. I used Belgian Wheat, Pilsner, and Honey malts along with very generous amounts of Citra, Simcoe, and Centennial hops. I also dry hopped the beer using my remaining Centennial hops and used honey tangerine peels to give it a little extra citrus boost.

While I missed my target gravities, the beer came out around 5-6% ABV and didn’t qualify for the style guidelines. I hope to repeat this batch and improve on my techniques in order to qualify for the Imperial IPA category for next year’s local homebrew contest. I was quite pleased with the results of this beer. It tasted great. I plan on changing the grain list around slightly to add in Pale Alt malt to fit the traditional profile of American Pale Ale or IIPA style guidelines. I may also change my yeast from the typical Pale Alt yeast to a Belgian yeast to bring out the citrus/fruity flavors.

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