Wednesday, March 28, 2007

"Malty Brown Fizzy H2O"

My first home brewed beers are absolutely nothing to write home about. Come to think of it, there's nothing much about them worth writing anything at all. But now that I'm on the subject, I might as well continue. Right?

My first batch of beer was Munton’s Old Ale extract beer. I think I only used one can and that’s about it. In the end it reminded me of what water tastes like. I called that one Fermented Water.

My second batch was another extract beer. But I found out a couple other things would help make it more palatable. So I added some additional dried malt extract (DME) and some bittering hops. My wife (girlfriend at the time) helped me bottle this one on Cinco de Mayo of 2003 after going out to eat some Mexican food. When it was ready we popped them open only to find out what the perfect name for this beer would end up being…Malty Brown Fizzy Water! No laughing now...I'm serious...that's what it reminded me of...ok?

We just had to take a cheesy photo like the ones in the NCJHB...and get a load of that tiny brew pot...I totally forgot about that! As evidence by the photo it looks like we used two cans of EDME Red Ale, and I recall this was my second batch.

After those complete flops, I somehow was still determined. I decided to look into formulating recipes with additional malt character and hop aromas. The next step was obvious…to add some fresh steeped malts and more hops. So with this in mind I decided to go with a recipe in The New Complete Joy of Home Brewing (NCJHB)…The Tumultuous Porter (p199).

All was going well until I ended up with only 3 gallons instead of 5. So this became my strongest beer to date and a direct opposite of my previous attempts. With a thick and tar-like mouth-feel, and dominating alcoholic heat, it was just barely drinkable. Though it didn’t impress anybody, I still felt a sense of pride. It definitely wasn’t tasteless fizzy water. The Tumultuous Porter was better served as a 4 to 6 oz. sipping beer. It paired well with dark chocolate and deserts, and was utilized in bread recipes. I suppose it could have been nice over vanilla ice cream. Tried a bottle about 2 years later and it didn't really mellow much, still overbearing.

So that's about it for my initial attempts at home brewing. It's just amazing I kept up with it. But now I'm glad I did. Take a look at the transition to better brews & going all grain


Travis said...


I feel your pain. I bought a "home beer kit" from WalMart on a whim after reading the Joy of Homebrewing. I think I would have been pleased with malty water from those crapping things. They never even carbonated which made them taste like drinking flat ginger ale.

Anyway, I went to a beer store after that and bought a real recipe kit and brewing kit. When I cracked one was carbonated!!! I don't recall if they were all that great, but after that, I was just happy to have beer with bubbles.

Good stuff!


Brian said...

Speaking as a fairly new homebrewer this is very reassuring to read..mainly because I still have about a case of my nut brown alcoholic water in our closet "aging" haha! It was a Muntons kit if I remember correctly and I bought it when I purchased my basic equipment from the Brew and Grow out in Schaumberg, I even somehow ended up utilizing 6 gallons of water with it, delicious brown water!

So, I appreciate hearing about the first couple batches of experienced homebrewers, makes me feel much better ( I didnt mention that my botched nut brown ale was brewed just 3 months ago :).

Brian said...

By the way I dig those pictures, I'm assuming you are trying to update the "Complete Joy of Homebrewing" photos? Some of them are fantastic where they are engaged in these elaborate brewing techniques but are still thoughtfully balancing these huge brews.

Eli said...

Haha, I was going to say the same thing as Brian. Those pics totally look like they belong in the 'Complete Joy'.

Ted Danyluk said...

It was good times. I still get a kick out of those pictures in the book. I'm glad my wife took those photos, because now I get a kick out of see our own. Especially that ridiculously small boiling pot!