Back in March of 2007, my wife Jennifer and I brewed a batch of beer at the house of some friends of ours. (See my blog entry at the time for more.) The beer was a Flander's red -- a sour beer -- and it had been sitting in a bucket for over a year now. A few months ago, I poked my head in the room where the bucket was sitting and saw that the airlock was completely dry. I filled it, but had no idea how long the beer was exposed to air. Last weekend, I finally got around to racking it to a keg and . . . it tasted awesome! It had a very "clean" sour aroma (as opposed to a sour aroma with lots of acetic, "barnyard" or other off characters) and was tart, but not over-the-top puckering sour.
I've been fairly busy for the first few months of this year, but my schedule for the next few months looks like it should be pretty normal. So, of course, I've decided to fill my "extra" time with brewing.
On Thursday of last week, I brewed a double batch of Vienna lager -- one carboy pitched with White Labs WLP920 (Old Bavarian Lager) yeast and the other pitched with Wyeast 2124 (Bohemian Lager) yeast. I tried 2124 on another Vienna lager I made recently and liked it, so I thought I'd try it on my "standard" Vienna recipe (which appeared in the January 2006 issue of BYO under the name Red Ball Express).
I bought a refractometer recently and the Vienna lager was the first full batch of beer that I got to use it on. Using the refractometer was very simple and I could get gravity readings in a couple seconds from a couple drops of wort -- a very cool brewing tool. I wish I had gotten one years ago.
At the last Austin ZEALOTS homebrew club meeting, we talked about doing a "speed brew." The idea was, I would post a beer recipe to our Yahoo email group the Friday before the meeting. Interested club members would brew it and bring it to the next meeting, just 8 days away. The recipe I posted on Friday was a low-gravity English ale, very similar to the Bonneville Flats Bitter recipe of mine in the May 2006 issue of BYO. The new recipe was a little lower in original gravity (1.036) and had a little dab of biscuit malt thrown in; otherwise, it was pretty much the same thing....