Thursday, September 7, 2023

Tasting Notes: Simply the Zest (Fruit Beer)

As we hit the beginning of August I was anxious to put this beer on tap to enjoy during the last weeks of summer. I went as far as to taste test the beer after only seven days. Usually I am the type to let a beer sit for 14-24 days until I know it is done.

Simply the Zest on the Left, Samuel Adams
Porch Rocker on the right.

At 7 days the beer was still quite green. At 14 days it tasted ready to go.

Monday, July 31, 2023

Brew Day: Simply the Zest (Fruit Beer)

So far in 2023 I haven't been brewing or writing a great deal. I did brew two batches for the summer; I need to write about that double brew day. 

Summer being my favorite beer season, I really should have brewed one more batch. Especially for late summer when store shelves start to fill with marzens and festbiers. 

Toward the end of July I happened upon a sale of Muntons malt extract. My supply of base malts has dwindled after being laid off, so the timing worked out well. I have three upcoming brews that needed English base malt. At $9.95 per can I can brew an extract batch for roughly the same price as buying base malt for an all grain batch at a homebrew shop.

While loading up, the Muntons Simply the Zest kit caught my eye. This would be a great way to sneak in one last brew for the summer! The weather this summer has not been conducive to a long, all grain brew day either with June being a washout, and July alternating between oppressive humidity and thunder storms. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Making great homebrew with a beer kit in a can or pouch

When I started brewing in the early 2010's, my first recipe kit came with two cans of un-hopped malt extract, some specialty malt to steep, and hop pellets to add in the boil. In that era many of homebrewers started that way. Traditionally here in the US, and especially internationally most brewers entered the hobby with an even simpler way to make beer at home: canned extract beer kits. My copy of the 3rd Edition of the Complete Joy of Homebrewing includes a chapter recipes for enhancing canned extract kits.

These canned extract kits contain pre-hopped malt extract. The extract only needs to be dissolved in water before yeast is pitched and the wort is fermented. Usually, but not always additional fermentables are required and dissolved along with the contents of the beer kit.  Then the brewer tops off with cool water to the desired batch size.

The main producers of canned extract kits currently are Coopers, Mangrove Jack and Muntons. The most widely available brand in the US is probably the Mr. Beer line of extract kits and equipment, which is produced by Coopers. Small in size and at moderate cost, Mr. Beer has been a low entry point four countless brewers.

Canned beer kits are popular in places like the UK and Canada where a pint at a pub or craft beer is relatively expensive due to taxes on alcohol. In these places a making a beer kit is a cheaper way to enjoy a beer. Beer kits are also popular in areas like parts of Asia or Eastern Europe where there is little or no craft beer available. Places where if you want anything other than a pale lager you need to brew it yourself.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Tasting Notes: Bernie's Dunkel (Munich Dunkel)

I have always run hot and cold with beer names. Originally when brewing was something Jennie and I did together, our brewery had a baseball theme as did all of our beer names. After awhile I ran out of baseball puns and references. Since then I either come up with a great name, or struggle to think of one. 

von Trapp (L) and Bernie's Dunkel (R)

As I drank the first samples, I was reminded of my grandmother's husband Bernie who she married in 2007. Bernie wasn't much of a beer drinker, but he was stationed in Germany while in the army. When he saw our first batch of Double Play Dark he recongized that dark ale as a dunkel. Bernie passed away in 2021. It is fitting this beer honors him.

In the original brew day post, I called the Munich Dunkel I was brewing Shoebert Lager. That name was in honor of a gray seal that visited my hometown of Beverly, Massachusetts. Shoebert swam through a culvert underneath MA Route 62 and ended up in Shoe Pond, hence the name Shoebert. Initially authorities were content to let Shoebert swim and feed in the lower section of Shoe Pond. For several days onlookers gathered at the pond to catch a glimpse of the gray seal.