It’s not that I haven’t brewed anything this summer, it’s that only one in five beers turned out to be drinkable. What happened?
Sometimes yeast doesn’t work out
I made 4 batches of kolsch intended for a friend’s wedding. Two of those batches used a different recipe from the others. All of them had the exact same character flaw when I went to bottle the beer. It all had a plastic, astringent flavor that at first I thought was a sanitizing problem. But four batches later, all with the same problem, it can’t be sanitizing that’s to blame. I’m pretty sure it was the yeast, the sole constant in the mix. I used White Labs Kolsch yeast each time, purchased at Let’s Brew – the same yeast that lead to an off-tasting and funny-smelling kolsch last summer. All previous successful kolsch attempts have used Wyeast liquid yeast smack packs.
A coconut porter that could use more coconut
The lone brew that did work out was a coconut porter, though the coconut notes are very subtle and add more of a mocha flavor and richness than anything. However, this did end up being a really great beer! I used Sparrowhawk Porter from Joy of Homebrewing as a base, then added 11oz of toasted Bob’s Red Mill coconut flakes (unsweetened) in the secondary fermenter and “dry hopped” the coconut for a week or so. I also used dry malt extract instead of corn sugar to prime the bottles, and the result is a really creamy, smooth beer. I’ll definitely try this again, perhaps with a brown the next time.
Back in the saddle
I’ve spent enough time feeling sorry for myself, and it’s time to brew again. I think a wit or other Belgian style is up next, which will be delicious in the fall!