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Njaim

A lesson in patience...

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I've been drinking beer I've brewed, so please humor me. Or ignore me. Either way. There isn't a question, just some observations (and anecdotes) as someone that's been brewing for less than a year and on a relatively small budget.

 

I'm on my sixth batch of beer (all Mr. Beer extracts). I've done some experiments in meads and wines and a cider too, but essentially I just started beer #6 (and have ingredients for #7).  Batch #6 is a Churchill Nut Brown Ale. I plan to add vanilla and cold-brew coffee to half of it just for fun. I'm not the hugest Brown Ale fan, but it was on sale last month.

 

My first two batches had a lot of issues.

 

The first one was undrinkable (an "American Lager"). I let it age for over 8 months and it never got better. I was slowly dumping a few out at a time (after tasting and gagging) to use the bottles, and finally gave up on it entirely. I've since bought a bottle capper and started saving my commercial beer bottles.

 

The second batch was a Bavarian Weissbier where I wanted to add some hops in hopes of adding some citrus flavors... but I boiled the hops in water by themselves before adding the HME to the cooled hop-water, and it turns out "hop tea" beer isn't the best method. It tasted very tart at first. It was drinkable but not especially good. It got slightly better with age, but it never really stood out as tasty. I did drink them all eventually except for one, which I'm keeping just to see how it ages. 

 

My third batch was the Long Play IPA done straight up with only adding two booster packs for a higher ABV. I figured it may as well be strong since I'm not the hugest IPA fan (I'll do them, but not my first pick), but it came with the kit for my second little brown keg at a great Black Friday price. I brewed shortly after (beginning of December). My temperature control was pretty much spot on. I let it carbonate for two weeks, condition for an additional two. They were decent then. Since then, I've drank all of them but two of the 740ml bottles until about 3 months ago, when I finally bottled batch #5. 

 

Batch #4 ("Horses Ass Ale") decided to leak out into my fridge the night before bottling while I was cold crashing. The LBK (my first one) that I used for this had given me headaches with the spigot prior to both the brews I started in it, and then (for whatever reason) finally gave out, so at this point I just let it go and decided to not use it again. I bought a 3-gallon Fermonster carboy to replace it and plan to use it for batch #7.

 

Batch #5 was another Bavarian Weissbier, with a Golden LME added. I've tasted it after many stages in aging, and it's been "decent" but has something of a "twang" (what I assume is the "extract twang" people speak of on these forums. A little dash of salt on top before drinking seems to help, but it may be in my head).

 

ANYWAY....

 

I needed to free up space in the closest I'm using as my "brew area." Between all my one gallon carboys and extras for mead/wine, I needed just a little more room. Among the things sitting around, I had two of the Long Play IPAs (batch #3, bottled at the end of January) left as part of the things I wanted to clear out. I put them in the fridge for about 5 days. Today I planned to go out (and drink some tasty Hefes), but my girlfriend is on a new diet/exercise plan (not a "craze" diet thankfully) and wanted me to help her food prep since I'm always the one to man the cast iron skillet for chicken. So I decided to drink these instead.

 

After conditioning (even in relatively high heat given I live in California) for about six months, these IPAs might be the best thing I've brewed! With age, they've become somehow more mellow and tasty than I even expected, especially for an IPA. The high ABV is a bonus.

 

All of a sudden, I regret drinking all but two of them so soon. But these two were hands down the best thing I've tasted from my own beer brewing experience.

 

Since they were in the fridge already... I also drank a couple from batch #5 (the Bavarian Weissbier, which has only been bottled a month), and again, it's pretty decent, but has a "twang" to it.

 

The point being: giving my brews time to "mature" always seems to pay off. Though I understand that many IPAs (and wheats) are supposed to be good to go when they're still pretty "green," it seems that the mellowing that time brings really helps them stand out as pretty decent brews despite my lack of experience.

 

This hobby is teaching me to SLOW IT DOWN. And being from the age of instant gratification, I really love it for that. And I love it because, well, I get to drink beer.

 

I'm very excited to see how batches #6 and #7 turns out after being allowed to condition (with even better temperature control!)

 

Thanks for humoring me.

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I have a Belgian Triple that I am going to brew again this weekend.  I have 2 bottles of the batch I brewed last April remaining in my inventory and am holding on to them because after a year they are amazing.  This new batch is going to be brewed and then forgotten about until next spring so that it can age as needed.

 

Most of us say that the best beer in a batch is the last bottle from that batch.  If you have a good pipeline developed it is easier to let bottles sit and age.

 

Keep at it, it sounds as though with experience you are improving.  In this hobby Experience is the best teacher.

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Being fairly new to this hobby myself, and somewhat short on patience,  I wholeheartedly agree that learning patience with brewing seems to make a huge difference. And experience, and experiments;) I have learned quite a bit from my mistakes.........Or, just keeping reading the forums to avoid making mistakes. Anyway, keep at it - it's worth the wait!

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Since I adopted a 2 month minimum  for ferment, carbonate,  and condition things got better. 

IPAs and Wheats are short term, Lagers are a couple months longer but I have heavy hitter Stouts I am TRYING to leave sit for a year.

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I'm drinking something very dark right now, as it hid in my basement for a very long while (most likely Irish stout). Probably over a year old and closer to 2 years. Super tasty! Mellow, rich, coffee undertones, not sweet but great malt flavor. Truthfully, I forgot the exact recipe I used, but it has certainly aged well.

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