Saturday, February 16, 2013

HOMEBREWING: Summer weiss, one year later

In March 2011, I brewed a hefty summer weiss, a high(ish) gravity wheat beer fermented with Belgian yeast inspired by a recipe by Brewer's Apprentice. It was a beer intended for the summer months, something delicious and enjoyable for the warm weather, perfect for a fat slice of orange. And indeed, it was. I had brewed this beer two other times before to good results -- goes GREAT with an orange slice -- and looked forward to another batch.

Unfortunately, the beer was a dud. It never fully fermented out, leaving it overly thick and sweet, like a carbonated beer syrup. The coriander and orange peel I brewed it with were buried in all that sweetness. The result was that it was a beer I rarely opened because I just plain didn't like it.

That's why, some 15 months after I first brewed it, I still had a few bottles left. And amazingly, they were better more than a year after brewing than they were when fresh. Look how pretty it was:

This will not surprise some. One common theme you hear in homebrewing is, "Time heals all wounds."

That's not entirely true, of course. A bad beer is a bad beer. I've had lousy batches that stayed lousy. But the idea is, be PATIENT. Don't rush to judgement, and if you're not sure about your homebrew, don't drink it all right away.

With this beer, it was a much different beer than it was when fresh, so it's not as if it turned out the way I intended. It was far from the refreshing beer it was meant to be, but what it turned out to be was still good. It was an interesting, malty sipper with some compelling complexities from the Belgian yeast used.

Had I dumped this or given it away or rushed through drinking it just to be done with it, I'd never have known that the seeming dud I had would eventually turn out to be really good. And it's not the first time I brewed something that was ugly at first but that got tasty with time.

Homebrewers, be patient. Time doesn't actually heal ALL wounds, but it sure as hell heals a lot of them.

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