Category Archives: Habanero

A Year in Brews

Hard to believe, but it’s been over a year since Andrew and I started brewing. Things have gone much better than I had originally imagined, and I’m enjoying myself even more than I would have thought possible.

In celebration, here’s a rundown of the brews we’ve made and how they turned out:

  • Porter (P1) — Our first attempt, 1 1/2 gallons short and a little weird, but drinkable. Ah, sweet success!
  • Stout (S1) — Tasty, and especially excellent after the “passable” port
  • Trappist Ale (T1) — Kit was a Christmas gift. Very nice, with the bubble gum/banana fruitness expected of the variety.
  • Nut Brown (B1) — First real failure… just turned out with a weird flavor, overly foamy.
  • Porter (P2) — Fantastic redux on the porter. One of my favorite batches.
  • Irish Red (R1) — Good red color, nice flavor, a solid entry.
  • West Coast Stout (S2) — Great stout. When I found one more six-pack of it recently in the utility room, I actually cheered.
  • Habanero Amber (H1) — Solid Amber ale + habanero kick. Not kill-your-taste-buds-off hot, but you definitely need another drink by the end of it.
  • Belgian Wit (W1) — Our lightest beer yet. Expected more of a spiciness from the coriander and orange zest, but drinkable.
  • IPA (I1) — Enter the hops! Not quite as light as many IPA’s in color, but good flavor.
  • Stout (S3) — Another good stout. Intended for gift-giving (really, I will give it away soon once it’s rested enough!)
  • Porter (P3) — Ditto the S3. Good porter effort, but not long for my home unfortunately.
  • Porter (PB) –Arg, busted thermometer screwed the batch!
  • Porter (PB’) — Still in the carboys, but it’s the “baby porter” for after my wife can drink again.
  • Stout (SB/S4) — Stout base for a bourbon spiked stout. Still in the primary, but hopes are high!

All in all, far more success on that list than I expected getting into the brewing game. Plenty of other challenges ahead, but then the rewards make it all worthwhile.

Keep brewing out there folks!

Is it getting chile in here?

Today’s a momentous brewing day. Several weeks ago, Andrew and I did our first double-batch! He’d recently moved into his own home, and since we’ve got two houses, it only makes sense that we’d have two beers brewing.

So it’s bottling day for those next two batches. One is a redux on the stout that we’d done earlier, shooting for a bit more malty, less hoppy take. Turns out the original recipe we were using was more of a West Coast stout, which tends to the hoppiness more than we’d prefer.

The second batch was the more exotic and exciting–a habanero amber ale! We’d finally gotten comfortable enough with the last couple batches to try something a little different. Now one of my favorite beers ever is called the Hot Tamale is only available on tap at the Old Market Pub and Brewery, which I don’t live too close to. I’ve had a lot of chile beers that give you a hint of heat, but this beer was hot!

Given my love for all things spicy, we had to try this concoction ourselves. After talking to the guys at Main Street, we found the procedure was pretty simple. You put the peppers in for the last fifteen minutes of the boil. To test it out before-hand (and you should check it, since peppers vary wildly in heat levels!), just boil 1/20 of the pepper amount you’re considering for fifteen minutes, then let that cool all the way down to room temperature. Then test it out. This is going to be a bit hotter than the final product, and in our case was spicy! It’ll be a few weeks before we can give it a real check, but I’m hugely excited.

And to make matters even better, after bottling today, we’re going over to hang out with some friends who do all-grain brewing. Not sure I can imagine a better brewing day!