A Cheap Seats Homebrew Review Sierra Madre Pale Ale (Northern Brewer)
Hello All; I decided to add my experiences with the various recipe kits that I have completed recently so that I may share my experience with them from the novice brewer perspective. Let me start off with a recipe kit that my Mrs, bought me for my birthday this last August. As a novice brewer the most complex thing I had done to homebrewing to date was open some cans add some hops and put into the fermentor. Not a lot of boiling not a lot of time spent. So I looked at this recipe kit as somewhat of a challenge. This was going to be my first foray into unhopped extract, using dry extract, and boiling for longer than getting the water there. The recipe kit is the Sierra Madre American Pale Ale extract with steeping grains. At the store located in St. Paul Minnesota the staff did a great job helping me out and explaining the slight differences in the kits, not just the style. I settled on the Sierra Madre, it go down to this and the dead ringer (Bells' Two Hearted Clone) for a couple of reasons; 1.) I enjoy a good pale ale 2.) Staff advised that this is their version of "Sierra Nevada Pale Ale" and I really like that. I chose Wyeast American Ale liquid yeast and had them crush and mill my grains prior ro leaving the store. When I got back to Illinois two days later I was ready to start brewing I smacked the Wyeast and set it out to expand. I cleaned up all of my equipement and began to put together my sanatizer for the following day. So brew comes I have read through the directions twice and made sure I had everything at the ready. I begin with some bottled spring water for my boil, I wasn't going to mess with distilled water and adding salts and other stuff this will be easiest for now. I go through the entire boil and get the wort cooled and into the bucket.... I pitch yeast at about 75 degrees and get my O.G. prior to adding yeast. I close up fermentor take it to the basement and put ice packs and other cooling things around the fermentor, I was able to get the temp down to 70 degrees. I go the suggested amount of time in the primary, and then move to the secondary. When I move from primary to secondary I notice that this beer is already fairly clear and smells outstanding going from one bucket to the next. I can't wait to bottle this. Bottling days comes I follow the directions for the batch carbing using the priming sugar, and as I bottle this brew the first thing I think of is HOLY CRAP I HAVE GOT TO THINK OF GETTING A KEGGING SYSTEM..... The beers carbs up wonderfully and at the 9 week mark I pass some of the brew out and ask my friends what they think of it. I get rave reviews from them and they can't believe I made this. Lessons learned; look into kegging bottling two cases of beer sucks on Sunday while trying to watch football.......and I have three kits left to do UGH.... The beer tastes great and showed me that stepping up in complexity doesn't have to be hard.