I tasted hydrometer samples of my two latest brews this afternoon, and I'm more impressed than I've ever been with my brewing!
The first sample was my most recent. A pale ale brewed last Friday based on Edwort's Haus Pale recipe. My changes were Amarillo instead of Cascade, and C60 instead of C10. Otherwise it was exactly the same. I used washed yeast for the first time, built up a starter, fermented at 60 degrees for the first four days, raised to 68 for four more, hit 1.009. The flavor, even this young, was super clean and balanced. Slightly 'green' at the beginning, but fading into malty goodness for the finish. I'm going to make this my house ale for sure!
The second sample was my Stone Double Bastard clone. I brewed this on 11/5, with an OG of 1.100. Finished at 1.028 for 9.7% ABV. It's an AMAZING deep red color with a spicy hoppiness that can't be ignored. The balance on this beer is great too, and I'm really excited to taste the finished product after a few more months of cellaring, a week of dry hopping, and, of course, carbonation.
A proud day indeed! I feel like I'm really getting a handle on this hobby.