My first beer, Boni Fide Sucka, was a strong batch of IPA brewed on Cinqo de Mayo, 2007 with my own gear. Its a clone of Hop Rod Rye by Bear Republic. This was made possible by a purchase of some fine products from the nice folks at Let’s Brew.
The recipe calls for a lot of Rye (obviously) along with some other grains. This took as much liquid malt extract as I’ve ever seen anyone use at BS Brewing. I was also careful to not use the handle while pouring the liquid malt extract from the plastic bucket into the pot, as it can (and has) snapped off (more than once) and fallen into said pot.
However, I was mildly disappointed in myself by forgetting to cut the heat on the pot while I poured the liquid malt extract into the pot. When the heat is on the pot, the malt will burn slightly when it touches the bottom of the pot and flake up. Killing the heat will let the liquid malt extract just blend in nicely without flaking. I used Centennial hops for bittering, Cascade hops for flavor, and pitched a California yeast on the end. After one week I used Cascade hops again for the dry hopping process.
Let’s Brew sold me a great kit to get started. I’ve been brewing batches with BS Brewing for a while now as Chief Bottle Capper and it feels really good to move on up and enjoy the full merits of owning a custom beer. There’s nothing quite like brewing your own batch to really understand how subtle parts of the recipe shape the result.
Bottling went super smooth with the integrated side spicket on the five gallon bucket. I’m really happy with the brewing kit. The special plastic bucket and the bottle washer are a toss up for my favorite brewing tools. I love the bottle tree too — a keen recommendation from a fellow brewer, Thom Schoenborn.
I fully understand the beer must remain in the bottle a minimum of two weeks but I broke down the other night with the notion of experimentation in my head. I wanted to know what kinds of changes were going on with the flavor, so I grabbed a bottle and had a taste. I wasn’t expecting great things but I was pretty happy by the end of the pint so I finished the open bottle. I think I might try one bottle a week for the next two or three weeks to see how the flavor matures and improve my knowledge of the overall process.
The beer is definitely a strong IPA. With just a week in the bottle, the pressure hadn’t built up much under the cap, but enough to let me know something was going on. Some bubbles cascaded up the pint glass too. I’ll really be looking for an improvement in the head on the beer over time too. As Papazian says so well in The New Complete Joy of Home Brewing, no beer tastes quite as good as one you brew yourself.