I began homebrewing late this past summer. I now have my first three batches in bottles and feel it's time for a bit of a self-review of my results.
Milwaukee Amber Ale. Made with extract and part grain. Everything went pretty smoothly. Initial fermentation was pretty vigorous, but didn't really last a long time. The beer has been in bottles for a couple of months now. The result? Pretty much tastes like a brew-pub beer. A bit on the sweet side. Biggest complaint: not very carbonated. A few of the bottles form a head when poured, but some of them do not. In general, though, I am pretty happy with this one as a first effort. In fact, despite all I read about how good home brews could be, I must admit I was surprised at the results.
Oktoberfest Style Ale. WOW! Now this is what homebrewing is all about. Everything went well with brewing this batch. Nice, vigorous blow-off stage, followed by a long, slow ferment after that. Made my whole basement smell delicious for at least a week. After about 3 weeks in bottles I popped one open (well, maybe even 2 or 3
). I poured some of mine in a glass alongside a glass of Paulaner Oktoberfest and had my wife do a blind taste test. She picked the homebrew hands down. In fact, the flavor of the two is almost identical, although the homebrew tasted fresher. This one pours an excellent head with every bottle. If I could make every batch as good as this one I think I would have to think seriously about starting my own micro-brewery!
Kolsch Lager. The jury is still out on this one. I think it needs a bit while longer in the bottles, but I'm a little unsure about this one. Things did not go as smoothly as with my first two batches. I forgot to add irish moss, so it is a little cloudier than the first two batches. Also blow-off fermentation stage was very short (but very vigorous-- too much beer went out the blow-off tube on this one). I don't have a secondary carboy yet and there was lots of sediment in the bottom. I got a little too much in the bottles. Preliminary taste: strong hops taste and a little yeasty when first poured. Improves a lot though after a few minutes in the glass. I think to be fair I should wait a couple more weeks to really judge it. I'm not sure this one is a good one, though.